Former Amesbury Mayor Ken Gray Announces He’s Exploring A Run For State Senate In New District That Includes Wilmington

EDITOR’S NOTE: Due to re-districting, Wilmington no longer be represented by State Senator Bruce Tarr (R-Gloucester) after the 2022 elections.

Below is a press release from the campaign committee of potential State Senate candidate Ken Gray:

NORTH ANDOVER, MA — Former Amesbury Mayor Ken Gray recently announced that he is exploring the possibility of entering the race for the newly redistricted state senate seat representing the 2nd Essex & Middlesex District. The new district includes all of Amesbury, Andover, Merrimac, Tewksbury, Wilmington, and parts of North Andover and Haverhill.

Prior to his six-year tenure as Amesbury Mayor and Chair of its District School Committee from 2014-2020, Gray amassed an impressive list of experience and success in his private sector career. With an engineering degree from Northeastern University, and after many years as a senior VP in two publicly traded technology corporations, Gray turned from corporate executive to entrepreneur when he started his own business and invented a robot that automated the testing of semiconductor chips for industry giants such as Intel, IBM, Texas Instruments, and Wilmington’s own Analog Devices. Gray holds a U.S. patent for his invention, and his machines remain in operation at some of the largest technology companies in the world.

Under Gray’s watch as Mayor, Amesbury residents and business owners enjoyed dramatic reductions to their property tax rate, from $20.97, 4th highest of the Commonwealth’s 351 cities and towns, to $17.18, 105th highest. With focus on creative economic development initiatives that targeted commercial/industrial growth, Gray’s administration attracted approximately $200 million in new development that was either completed or in the permitting pipeline by the time he left office in 2020, including Maples Crossing, a $70 million Sports Entertainment complex. His innovative approach to managing a municipality allowed Gray to successfully correct Amesbury’s habitually soaring property taxes while concurrently adding significant services and programs to the City and its schools, including a new $60 million elementary school.

Gray said that his unique combination of private business experience and public sector service leaves him in an exceptional position to be an effective state senator.

“We need a breath of fresh air in the State House,” Gray said. “We have had enough career politicians representing us on Beacon Hill, and I think it’s time to elect someone who has personally experienced the consequences of decisions made in Boston — decisions that directly and often negatively affect citizens, job creators, and municipalities. I will strive to be the voice of our communities on Beacon Hill. I understand what it takes to run a company, start a business, and lead a community to success across all aspects of municipal government. Throughout my career I have solved problems and gotten things done, and that’s something we need more of in the legislature.”

Aside from the fact that Gray — a current resident of North Andover — was also previously a homeowner in Andover and Amesbury, his roots in the district run far deeper than his history of residency alone. Gray and his wife Donna have four children and six grandchildren, including two daughters and four grandchildren who live in in North Andover and attend public schools there. Gray said that his interest in exploring a bid for state senate is largely grounded in his motivation to create a better world for the future of his children and his grandchildren.

“I’m stunned when I turn on the news and see the unprecedented level of vitriol and divisiveness in the political rhetoric that our leaders are using every day,” Gray said. “This is not the environment I want my grandchildren to grow up absorbing. We all have to do our part to work together in order to solve our most pressing problems. As Mayor, I worked together with state administrative officials and state legislators — often across party lines — on issues which benefited our constituents. If we continue to sling nasty attacks at our political opponents, we’ll never truly solve any meaningful problems facing the Commonwealth or the nation, and we’ll be teaching our children and grandchildren to lead their lives with hatred instead of leading with humanity first. We must return to a place where sanity and civility rules the day, and if I can play a small role in restoring that approach to public discourse, I’d consider it time well spent.”

Gray said he has a lot of reflecting to do before he reaches a final decision on whether he will jump into this race, but he has taken some initial steps in the meantime to make sure he can be fully prepared and committed in the event that he decides to run.

“I want to give it my all,” Gray said. “I have a lot of reflection and conversations with family left to do before I make a final decision, but I’ve taken some important first steps in the meantime in order to position myself to be well-prepared and fully committed if I do decide to throw my hat in the ring.”

Gray formed a campaign committee for a state senate candidacy with the Office of Campaign and Political Finance on February 10. Last week, he pulled nomination papers for the position of state senator representing the 2nd Essex & Middlesex District.

Ken Gray

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