Mayor Alex Morse honored by West Springfield Democratic City Committee Text Size
Mayor named “2018 Democrat of Distinction”
HOLYOKE – Mayor Alex Morse was honored yesterday by the West Springfield Democratic Committee at its Eighteenth Annual Brunch on Sunday, October 21, 2018. The event was held at the Storrowton Village Carriage House. Mayor Morse was recognized alongside Dan Kelly, the Chair of the Committee, and Dori Hayes, a West Springfield community organizer.
Mayor Alex Morse was honored with the 2018 “Democrat of Distinction” award in recognition of his strong progressive leadership over the last seven years.
Alex was born in Holyoke on January 29, 1989. The youngest of three brothers, he grew up in a working class family that valued hard work, perseverance, and tolerance. His dad worked at a local meat packaging plant, where he had worked his way up to the position of transportation manager. His mom ran a daycare out of their home.
His passion for public service led him to pursue a major in urban studies from Brown University. While a student, he would spend his summer vacations in Holyoke, running the youth jobs program at CareerPoint, helping underprivileged youth find career opportunities and learn skills for future success.
Alex has long believed that change starts right at home. He often tells students that they don’t need to travel far to make a difference; they can start organizing for change right in their own backyards. In this regard, Alex walked the walk, announcing his candidacy for mayor of Holyoke while still a senior at Brown. He has served as Holyoke’s mayor since 2012, getting reelected in 2013, 2015, and 2017.
Since taking office, Alex has worked to usher in the city’s economic rebirth, helping seize Holyoke’s unique assets – renewable energy, existing infrastructure – to rebrand the city for a new century. Since Mayor Morse took office, millions of dollars of public and private dollars have investment in the city’s downtown. Once vacant mill buildings are now home to dining options, arts industries, the Holyoke Community College Culinary Arts Program, and more. The buildings that once made Holyoke one of the world’s largest paper manufacturers are enabling Holyoke to become a hub of innovation and creativity. Alex understands that change is not something that happens mainly at City Hall; it happens when citizens imagine a better future and work to build it together. “Holyoke’s greatest asset,” Alex often says, “is its people.” This wisdom is reflected in how Alex has governed – whether pursuing a housing strategy that allows the city to grow while avoiding gentrification, or giving citizens the tools they need to launch their own businesses, or improving public safety through community policing.
In the wake of the 2016 presidential election, Alex became a leading voice in defending progressive values. In his 2018 inaugural address, he decried the rise of nativism throughout the country, and insisted on the city’s responsibility to uphold the best of America’s political traditions: tolerance, fairness, equality. Alex defied President Trump’s order to rescind federal funding to sanctuary cities, calling it “toothless” and “a move to pit people against each other.” He also opened the city’s arms to hundreds of people from Puerto Rico who were displaced by Hurricane Maria. A politics of fear and division has no place in the Morse administration.
Alex was also the first and only mayor in the state to endorse the marijuana legalization effort, citing the economic opportunity and the disproportionate impact of drug laws on minority communities. Today, since Massachusetts voted to legalize marijuana, Holyoke is poised to be on the frontlines of this burgeoning industry.
Known for his innovative governing style, his big-picture thinking, and his steadfast commitment to progressive values, Alex regularly travels the country to share his experiences with students and other leaders. He believes in democracy, and he believes in the capacity of politics to make communities stronger, more prosperous, and more just. This has been the story of his life – a story deeply rooted in the family, the city, and the country that raised him
Posted on October 22, 2018 by cityadmin