Garcia is the right choice for Holyoke

Posted: 10/29/2021 17:42:47 PM On Tuesday, Holyoke voters will make important decisions when they go to the polls on election day. ...

Posted: 10/29/2021 17:42:47 PM

On Tuesday, Holyoke voters will make important decisions when they go to the polls on election day. There is a solid and impressive field of candidates stranded in 14 races for city council and school committee seats.

But no elected mandate has more weight or will have more impact on the immediate future of the city than that of mayor.

Since coming out of the September preliminary elections, At-Large City Councilor Michael Sullivan and Blandford City Administrator Joshua Garcia, both native to the city, have met with voters and practiced in various forums. of candidates. In just two weeks, one of them will become the city’s next mayor, replacing interim mayor and city councilor Terence Murphy, who replaced former mayor Alex Morse in March. Morse accepted a position as general manager of Provincetown after spending 10 years in the corner town hall office.

The question of qualifications was a central theme of the electoral campaign. Who is best placed to lead this diverse city that needs solutions to a myriad of complex issues in local government and its schools? In our opinion, the answer is not a slam dunk.

Sullivan, 69, now in his sixth year on city council, brings a wealth of business background, having founded and managed his own businesses. He has intimate knowledge of the city’s budget and how it is built, having served on the finance committee. He has played a key role in making decisions that affect the daily lives of the city’s residents. He is clearly passionate about the city when he cites his strengths and his own experience of growing up and volunteering with various organizations. He cited areas like green energy, youth programs, vocational training and tourism as places with untapped potential. He pleaded for the lifting of the moratorium on gas.

Sullivan also identifies weak spots in the city, drawing attention to Holyoke’s high commercial tax rate, aging and neglected infrastructure, and more than six years of public school system receivership, which he described in a recent campaign forum as an “absolute disaster.” Sullivan presented a vision of ‘rebirth and rebuilding’ and tried to set himself apart from Garcia as the most experienced candidate who can get started immediately. He says Holyoke with its 38,000+ residents and a budget of nearly $ 145 million “just doesn’t compare” with Blandford’s $ 4.6 million budget serving about 1,240 residents. Garcia says he doesn’t see the size of the two municipalities as an issue and that he Quite simply “would increase”.

But the qualifications of the next city mayor should not be based on the size of municipal budgets and the population we serve. It’s all about leadership, civic engagement and potential. It has more to do with being able to identify problems and having the willingness to work with others to solve them.

Garcia, 35, says Holyoke has an “archaic form of government” and when it comes to its most pressing problems, a “management problem”. This may or may not be true, but he is committed to finding the inefficiencies of city hall and helping to reorganize local government in a way that better supports city services and serves city residents. Revisiting the city charter is one place he said he plans to start.

We love the breadth of experience Garcia brings and believe he has the skills and enthusiasm to achieve common goals. Prior to taking on the role of City of Blandford Administrator, Garcia was responsible for municipal services at the Pioneer Valley Planning Commission for five years, working closely with city and town officials to identify inefficiencies. and improve the efficiency of local government. Previously, he worked as a service coordinator for the Holyoke Housing Authority, as a fire marshal and on the Holyoke School Board for one tenure. He has also been involved in various community nonprofit organizations over the years, such as Nueva Esperanza and the Boys and Girls Club of Greater Holyoke.

While we would have liked Garcia to provide more details on his own ideas for change during the election campaign, we nonetheless believe he is the strongest candidate to lead the Paper City over the next four years – and the candidate who shows the most promises to communicate with the majority of the inhabitants of the city.

The son of a single mother who moved to Holyoke from Puerto Rico, Garcia grew up in southern Holyoke and attended public schools in the city, where his children attend today. At a recent editorial board meeting with The Gazette, he described himself as “a Holyoker with Puerto Rican experience,” who seeks to “help uplift and motivate” the city’s predominantly Hispanic population. We believe the time has come for the city to elect its first Hispanic mayor and encourage the city’s residents to vote for Garcia on November 2.

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Newsrust - US Top News: Garcia is the right choice for Holyoke
Garcia is the right choice for Holyoke
Newsrust - US Top News
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