To the editor:
I’m writing in response to a perplexing letter to the editor from Neil Olansky regarding the Amesbury mayoral debate between Mayor Kassandra Gove and Rep. Jim Kelcourse.
I applaud Mr. Olansky for noting he listened politely and respectfully to both candidates’ responses, however, did he watch the same debate that I and many others did?
I am a Mayor Gove supporter but went to the debate open to hearing from Jim Kelcourse. After all, whoever wins in November will be my mayor, too, and I want to know Amesbury has strong leadership.
As our representative, I expected so much more than I got. His lack of preparation was disheartening. As much as he professes to love our Amesbury, all he talked about was Newburyport.
It was as if he went into the debate cold and without knowing what’s going on in Amesbury. He was totally unaware of our master plan that is under development. He praised Newburyport for dedicating three years to complete their master plan, but then at the community forum the week after the debate, said he would condense the two years Amesbury is taking to complete the master plan because that’s too long. It doesn’t seem like he actually knows what should be done.
The final debate question was a real eye-opener for me. Rep. Kelcourse responded to a question about how Amesbury can be more welcoming to all people by noting that our local food pantry and charitable organizations help people. Wait, that’s not right … equating diversity and equity with poverty? That is a huge misstep.
Mayor Gove had thoughtful, factual responses to all of the questions. She has been doing the job extremely well for two years, and during a pandemic. She maintains a welcoming open-door policy, hosts Facebook Live sessions where you can ask her anything, and consistently answers questions transparently, even if she knows you disagree with her.
Mayor Gove cares about Amesbury and has a strong vision for it. The platitudes, lack of plans, and empty words were not from Mayor Gove. Makes me think Mr. Olansky may have his candidates confused.
Watch for yourself and then you decide who has the substance, the plans, the vision, the desire. I’m sure it will be clear.
Mayor Gove is the one to continue leading Amesbury forward.