To the editor:

Recently, I attended the State of the Region North Shore Chamber meeting to hear directly from the local mayors about environmental efforts in each of their communities.

Absent was representation from Amesbury, a fact very noticeable to me as an Amesbury resident and former town official.

Each mayor led or discussed, in detail, their efforts, projects and successes in the areas of sustainability, climate action and environmental restoration. Even with the pandemic, these leaders had the wisdom to see how these efforts are interwoven into the very health and viability of their communities.

Someone leaned over to me and asked, “Weren’t you leading those efforts in Amesbury?”

Since it is my business to know what work is being done around me in the environmental world, I was not surprised by the announcements from the representatives like Mayor Holaday of Newburyport and their $1 million-state funded municipal vulnerability project for the upgrade to their wastewater facility.

I was impressed that each led with these project discussions and spent a good deal of their speaking time relating with their environmental commitments. Each of these communities were building on efforts with resources that they were maintaining and even expanding at a time when money and resources were hard to come by.

Flashbacks came to mind of the day in 2020 when Mayor Kassandra Gove eliminated Amesbury’s Energy & Environmental Affairs Department.

When I walked out of the mayor’s office that day, I said to her, “The community is not going to be happy about this.” Her response to me still echoes in my head, “I don’t care.”

Here’s what I know: Jim Kelcourse cares. I have been working with him long before I had worked for the City of Amesbury, and I have seen this firsthand.

From my meetings with him when he was a city councilor on projects like the Lower Millyard, to his efforts as a representative on complex issues like the heavily contaminated Microfab Superfund site, Jim always makes time to listen, understand the issues and help.

With Jim, I know that we will get a climate and environmental advocate in Amesbury. With Jim, we can make up for lost time.

As an environmental professional with over 30 years of experience and a resident with more than 10 years of involvement with Amesbury from art to redevelopment, I am voting for Jim Kelcourse.

Thomas Barrasso

Amesbury

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