To the editor:

We have a stark choice in the campaign for who will represent Amesbury, Newburyport and Salisbury at the Statehouse in the new legislative session in January.

For those of you still making that choice, please read on, and be sure to watch the candidates forum, which was sponsored by The Daily News on Oct. 8. It shows a clear contrast between the two candidates.

Republican incumbent Jim Kelcourse is very clear about his priorities for the job: constituent services. He has built his reputation on helping individual citizens and businesses, publicizing his cell phone number and working one on one with them.

There are 40,000 constituents in the 1st Essex District, and while helping them individually is one part of the position, it is impossible to meet the needs of such a large and diverse population strictly that way.

Democratic challenger Amber Hewett will also be responsive to individual constituents. She has already shared her cell phone number and met with hundreds of citizens, business owners, community and civic leaders.

However, she understands that a state representative is a legislator – and that is the experience she brings to the job. A legislator proposes and supports bills that will benefit the district, builds relationships among fellow lawmakers as well as with constituents, and works to shape policy.

That is where true long-term progress can be made, especially at a time of crisis, when we face enormous challenges both as individuals and communities.

Please watch the forum. You will see a study in contrast – two different visions of the role of a state representative. One is focused on tackling problems individually, and the other is focused on creating both short- and long-term solutions to the many issues we face both individually and throughout the district.

I am thankful to both candidates for their willingness to serve. The forum can be found here:

 Please watch it  and make an informed choice.

Debbie Hart-Klein



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