In the small New England town of Amesbury, Mass., brick sidewalks connect tree-lined streets, flower boxes bloom against storefront windows in the spring, and a canopy of color marks the crisp onset of fall. Winters here are fit for a snow globe, and summers glitter with fireflies. There are steepled churches and restored textile mill buildings. A gazebo remains ready for gatherings in Town Park.
On any given day, the approximately 17,000 citizens of Amesbury can be found going about their business, exchanging friendly hellos at the grocery store, lending a helping hand whenever one is needed. There is a bustling downtown, complete with historic buildings and shops, and in the mayor’s office, there is a Jacksonville University alumna who loves this town and its people, and who credits JU with helping her ascend to the office she currently holds.