Debate for Mayor, Election 2009

I watched the mayoral debate between Donna Holaday and James Shanley last night on Channel 9 (see earlier entries for other times, as well as the video and link below).

I came away thinking that we are lucky to have two really good candidates, who I think would both make good mayors.

I know both of the candidates, and they both have very knowledgeable and “geeky” sides, as well as relaxed and funny sides.

In the debate I saw the knowledgeable, thoughtful and “geeky” side of both candidates. What came across was Donna Holaday’s strength on the financial aspect of running our city, especially doing the budget, which is huge. And James Shanley’s strength on the planning and developing side, which is also huge.

In my conversations with James Shanley over the years, I’ve often been struck that he has gone to regional planning seminars-conferences, that none of the other Newburyport City Councilors had gone to. In the debate candidate Shanley referenced one of those conferences, with a comment, and this is not an exact quote, “It was kind of a ‘geeky’ thing to do,” which, it sounded like on tape, brought chuckles from the audience. James did manage in that debate to show the relaxed and humorous side of James Shanley, a side which is very appealing.

Gillian Swart in her post on the debate has her take, and she does point out the importance of Donna Holaday’s financial expertise, especially when it comes to the budget.

Below is the video of the evening debate and a link to PortMedia, so you, reader of the Newburyport Blog, could make up your own mind about who you would like to vote for mayor of Newburyport, MA.

(Editor’s Note: The video is no longer available at

The Newburyport Mayoral Debate, Election 2009, video courtesy of PortMedia.
(Voting day is Tuesday, November 3, 2009.)