Name: Donna McClure
Address: 24 Paige Farm Road, Amesbury
Family: David McClure, 2 Sons, 5 grandchildren
Work Experience: New construction specialist, Developer Real Estate, previously Director of Sales, Verizon Wireless Northeast
Political experience: 8 years Amesbury municipal councilor, 4 years chair Finance Committee, chairman Quality of Life, Master Plan
Seat you are running for: Councilor at-large
Years in town: 23 years
Why are you running?
As a candidate for re-election, I am a strong supporter of Mayor Ken Gray and his approach of fiscal prudence and attention to detail. Together we have brought in hundreds of millions of dollars in new commercial and industrial growth, including a new hotel, completion of Hatters Point and Amesbury Heights, and soon an amazing hockey complex. Next year we expect Partners to break ground at the Golden Triangle, the first movement toward commercializing that area in 40 years. We are rebuilding streets and sidewalks and earned a well-deserved designation as a Green Community with solar array farms that save the city $250,000 annually in energy costs. I support our schools, voting for budgets that allowed smaller class sizes and a return of canceled programs. I support bringing back our Emergency Dispatch Center, because you cannot put a price on a life. Likewise, I have resisted unwise tax increases like the CPA.
What are your top 3 priorities?
Continue to grow the commercial /industrial base to lessen the tax burden on our residents. Improve Amesbury schools, including the building of a new AES. Ensure the return of the local emergency dispatch services.
Are Amesbury property taxes a problem, or is this a false issue?
In my day job as a real estate agent, one of the biggest hurdles to selling houses has been overcoming prospective buyers’ concerns over the town’s high tax rate. At long last, that is changing. Our tax rate, once fourth highest in the state, has dropped to 32nd, and we expect to drop further in the coming fiscal year. This shift in the trend has unlocked our property values, allowing homeowners more flexibility than ever before. But when comparing similarly valued houses, Amesbury is still far more expensive than neighboring towns. We are making progress.
Where do you stand on the proposed ban on non medical marijuana establishments in the city?
Recreational marijuana is the law of the land. The ballot question passed by a majority of the Commonwealth’s voters (albeit with many caveats). Amesbury is one of more than 100 municipalities in the state that is considering how best to implement recreational marijuana. Fortunately, we have four years’ experience with a local growing operation. I will honor the vote of the residents come Nov. 7, and will continue to work with residents and public safety officials to ensure their questions and concerns are addressed.
Where do you see the city in 10 years?
Amesbury will among the most desired communities on the North Shore. Thoughtful development has preserved our open space, our solar fields have generated savings and our commercial growth at the Golden Triangle and “terrasphere” is complete. This additional tax revenue has insured our schools are in the top 25 in the state. The hockey complex will serve residents and visitors from far and wide, with events every weekend at the facility. Landry has been renovated and the new synthetic turf and lighting allows all sports to share the fields year round. Nonresidents will wish they lived here.