AMESBURY — The lieutenant governor credited the business owners like those gathered at Amesbury Chevrolet for their critical assistance during the COVID-19 pandemic at the Amesbury Chamber of Commerce annual meeting Thursday night.

Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito was joined by state Rep. Jim Kelcourse, R-Amesbury, and Mayor Kassandra Gove at the podium before a crowd of about 100 local business owners and city officials Thursday night.

Polito talked about how Gov. Charlie Baker’s administration dealt with the onset of the pandemic and the ongoing economic recovery.

“I think about COVID like a three-act play,” Polito said. “The first was, the scramble. The second was, the reopening and the third is the recovery, rebound, revitalization of our commonwealth.”

Polito added that the administration quickly turned to the business community to help make and supply personal protective equipment in the spring of 2020 and eventually work out a reopening of the economy that summer.

“We were able to do it safely and successfully,” she said. “That was not because of the rules, it was because of you. It was because of the willingness of the business community to step up and do the right thing.”

According to Polito, Massachusetts has a thriving innovation economy with science, technology, engineering, and mathematics workers making up approximately 18% of the workforce.

“It was the discovery and the research and the development of vaccines that started here in this commonwealth that allowed us to tap into the medicine and then the whole reopening of life,” Polito said. “That started here in Massachusetts and the government proved that, when they want to do something fast, they can do it.”

She ended by thanking business owners for being partners with the state.

“(You) have made the sacrifices, you take the risks, you’re the ones that meet the payroll and cared deeply about, not only your own family but your work family,” Polito said. “You are very much a part of the success of this region and the success of this commonwealth.”

Gove also applauded the assembled business owners for their assistance and innovation over the past two years.

“You have pivoted and come together to form new partnerships, business and marketing models, and new ways to engage your customers,” the mayor said. “I hope that you felt that love and appreciation back in return from your customers. Whether it was behind a mask, from a curbside pickup or a door drop or the first day you swung your doors open again. I want to thank you for engaging with the city in new ways.”

Gove said the city will continue to invest in programs and improvements to help increase foot traffic and improve mobility to assist local businesses.

The mayor ended by telling the crowd her administration continues to see people moving into the city.

“They don’t usually just slip in and say, ‘I want to be in Amesbury,’ right?” Gove said. “They have been here before, they have visited our businesses and spent time in our community. Thank you for being our front door and being a great welcoming party.”

Kelcourse paid his respects to the city’s former Community and Economic Development Director Joe Fahey who was in attendance Thursday night.

“Joe, thank you for your vision and your desire to see Amesbury really be what it is today,” Kelcourse said.

He also praised the Baker administration.

“If Charlie Baker and Karyn Polito were the president and vice president of the United States, this country would be a well-oiled machine,” Kelcourse said.

The chamber also elected its officers Thursday evening with Ovedia Artisan Chocolates owner Antoinette Whitney being named chair.

Stone Ridge Properties Realtor Judy Dodier was named vice chair. Greenstone Property Management owner Monique Griffin was reelected treasurer and 14 Cedar Street Studios and The Trades owner Barbara Lorenc will return as clerk.

Staff writer Jim Sullivan covers Amesbury and Salisbury for The Daily News. He can be reached via email at jsullivan@newburyportnews.com or by phone at 978-961-3145. Follow him on Twitter @ndnsully.

Staff writer Jim Sullivan covers Amesbury and Salisbury for The Daily News. He can be reached via email at jsullivan@newburyportnews.com or by phone at 978-961-3145. Follow him on Twitter @ndnsully.

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