AMESBURY — The executive director of the Chamber of Commerce took out nomination papers to run for mayor, looking ahead to the municipal election Nov. 5.
Kassandra Gove of 9 Gardner St. pulled papers to run for mayor Friday. Mayor Ken Gray of 9 Riverview Heights took out papers and returned them with 50 required signatures of registered Amesbury voters to run for his fourth two-year term.
Although she hasn't run for office before, Gove received 46 write-in votes in 2017 to 2,466 cast for Gray. Gove was not running an active campaign but said "you never know" when asked at the time about future political plans.
On Tuesday, Gove said she is running because she has "been working hard every day, dedicated to this community, and making it a special place to live, work and play."
"I just feel like I can do more," she said. "I feel like I need to do more."
Gove, who was named head of the Amesbury Chamber in 2015, said she believes residents can "achieve great things" by working together.
"There is a lot of great potential here," Gove said. "I love everything about Amesbury. I graduated from our schools, I work with our businesses and own a home here. The people here have made me who I am today and I would be honored to serve in the capacity as mayor and am excited to get started."
Gove also pointed to the planned Atlantic Sports Center on South Hunt Road as a sign the city is ready to move forward.
"Amesbury has long been the hidden gem of the North Shore and I think that is about to change," Gove said. "This is a time when we will need a leader with a background in tourism and marketing, public relations, community building. That is who I am and that is what I bring to the table."
Gray said he is "immensely proud and honored" to have been elected for three terms as mayor.
"During this time, as a community, we have achieved tremendous success by working together," he said. "We have made significant progress against all of our goals, from tax control to economic development, to better schools to improved quality of life, all the while balancing the needs of all of our citizens."
Gray said he believes that competitive ideas are good for the city's system of government and he looks forward to "robust discussions" about the city's progress.
"I have been fortunate in my life to have had some incredible jobs that have allowed me to travel the world," Gray said. "But the best place I have ever lived is here in Amesbury and the best job I have ever had is as mayor. I hope the people of Amesbury will give me the opportunity to continue to serve."
Two other candidates also have taken out nomination papers to run for mayor. They are James Thivierge of 8 School St., #1, and Theodore Semesnyei of 265 Lions Mouth Road.
Thivierge ran for mayor in 2013, while Semesnyei ran against then-incumbent Mayor Thatcher Kezer in 2011, but neither has returned signatures for the current race.
Each of the city’s nine city councilors has taken out nomination papers to run for re-election. So far, only District 3 Councilor Matt Einson and District 4 Councilor Nick Wheeler have returned their papers with the required signatures.
Challengers for the District 2 council seat, Anthony Rinaldi and Tim Osgood, have returned their papers with 25 signatures to run. At-large councilor candidate and current Planning Board member Scott Mandeville has returned his papers and the required 50 signatures.
Four School Committee seats are up for grabs in November and four of five newcomers have pulled papers. Katherine Curry, Melvin Webster, Maryann Welch and Jana DeBeer have returned the papers, while Dave Haraske of 8 Moody St. has not.
Nomination papers are available at the city clerk’s office at City Hall, 62 Friend St., until July 26 at 5 p.m.
Each applicant must be a registered city voter. The deadline to return nomination papers is July 30 at 5 p.m.
City Clerk Christine Dixon said a preliminary election would be held Sept. 17 if more than two candidates are on the ballot for one seat.
Staff writer Jim Sullivan covers Amesbury and Salisbury for The Daily News. He can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 978-961-3145. Follow him on Twitter @ndnsully.