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Morse announces run for second term as mayor

Date: 3/15/2013

By G. Michael Dobbs

HOLYOKE — Mayor Alex Morse made it official this week that he would run for a second term.

Morse made the announcement on his Facebook page by posting. "Excited to officially announce that I will be running for reelection to a second term! Also, proud to announce that my 2013 Campaign Co-Chairs are Holyokers Julia Flannery and Daniel McCavick, and chair of my Finance Committee is Sue Ellen Panitch. I've also hired Joe Caiazzo and Karen Cosmas of KnoxCannon Strategies as consultants, and Holyoker Billy Glidden as campaign coordinator. I will announce plans for a public kick-off event in the coming weeks. I'm looking forward to continuing the progress we started last year. Thank you for your support!"

In a press release from the campaign, Flannery is described as a community activist and McCavick is identified as a Holyoke Police Sergeant. Panitch is a "active Holyoke community volunteer." Caiazzo and Cosmas of KnoxCannon worked on the Elizabeth Warren for senate campaign, among others.

Speaking to Reminder Publications, Morse said the biggest challenge he has faced in his first term is "the pace at which government works."

He added, "You have to spend a lot of time convincing the City Council to support an agenda . Things that look simple are more complicated."

The results, though, putting an initiative in place is "very, very rewarding," Morse said.

Like his neighboring mayors, Morse said that diminishing assistance from the state has created "challenging budgets," but he has responded by opening up dialogues to discuss situations.

What has helped Holyoke, he explained, are millions of dollars in grant funding aimed at specific projects. Morse noted a $2 million grant that will build a passenger platform for the Amtrak service coming to the city and the $1.4 million grant that will transform Veterans' Park.

Morse's administration also used $500,000 in HOME funding to assist the private $20 million redevelopment of the former Holyoke Catholic High School property.

Morse said, "Government can't do everything on our own. We must make strategic investments."

The $9 million Life Science grants to Holyoke Community College, the Massachusetts Green High Performance Computing Center and to the city's two high schools announced on Feb. 28 represent more than just a boost in the high tech profile of the city, Morse explained. The news of the grants will be used as a marketing tool to attract new businesses and residences to the city.

Morse said there are monthly meetings to develop ideas on how to best leverage the city's growing technology reputation.

"We're not doing things in a vacuum or a silo," he said.

Morse believes the city is "on a path leading to success."

As of this writing, Morse has one opponent, James Santiago, an U.S. Air Force veteran and businessman.