Around New England

Indian Mascot An Issue In Amesbury Mayor’s Race

October 30, 2021

The two candidates for mayor of Amesbury disagree on whether the city’s public high school should keep its current Indian mascot.

James Kelcourse, a current Republican state representative and challenger, supports keeping it, while Kassandra Gove, the current mayor and chairman of the city’s school committee, says the mascot should go, according to The Daily News of Newburyport.

A survey by school officials showed that a majority of people who responded (52.7 percent) want to keep the Indian mascot. About 42 percent of the 2,062 respondents said they want to replace the mascot. Small majorities of teachers and students also supported keeping the Indian mascot, according to The Daily News of Newburyport.

Even so, an 18-member committee reviewing the Indian mascot voted 9-2 on October 4 to recommend ditching it, according to minutes of the meeting. The city’s superintendent of public schools is scheduled to make a recommendation to the school committee on Monday, November 8.

That’s six days after the city election, which is set for Tuesday, November 2.

Kelcourse was the only Republican to vote for the ROE Act bill in 2020, which lowered the age of parental consent for an abortion in Massachusetts from 17 to 15, explicitly included projected fatal conditions in a fetus as a justification for aborting after 24 weeks, and removed the state’s former requirement that babies born alive after an attempted abortion receive life-saving medical care.

Kelcourse has an American Conservative Union lifetime rating of 49 (out of a possible 100), the lowest among Republicans in the state House of Representatives. In 2020, his American Conservative Union rating was 41.

The city election is nonpartisan, meaning the candidates’ political parties (if any) don’t appear on the ballot. Gove ran as an independent in 2019, declining to accept the endorsement of the Amesbury Democratic City Committee.

A super political action committee affiliated with Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker, a Republican, had donated about $7,400 to Kelcourse’s campaign as of mid-week, according to the Massachusetts Office of Campaign and Political Finance.

The Massachusetts Majority Independent Expenditure Political Action Committee donated $4,445.44 between mid-June 2021 when Kelcourse announced his candidacy and Sunday, October 24, state records show – and then another $2,955.13 between Monday, October 25 and Tuesday, October 26. The total is $7,400.57.

Amesbury is a city of about 17,500 people about 40 miles north of the Boston. It borders on New Hampshire.

If Kelcourse wins the race for mayor, he would likely resign from the Massachusetts House of Representatives, triggering a special election in the Democratic-leaning First Essex district, which includes the cities of Newburyport and Amesbury and the town of Salisbury.

Here’s what Amesbury High School’s Indian mascot looks like:


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