Easthampton Mayor Nicole LaChapelle to seek reelection


  • Easthampton Mayor Nicole LaChapelle, left, and Easthampton Police Chief Robert Alberti greet the crowds gathered March 17, 2019 for the 68th annual St. Patrick’s Parade in Holyoke. FILE PHOTO

Staff Writer
Published: 6/17/2019 3:05:50 PM

EASTHAMPTON — Mayor Nicole LaChapelle has announced that she is running for reelection.

LaChapelle was elected as the city’s third mayor in 2017, following in the steps of former mayors Michael Tautznik and Karen Cadieux. Easthampton residents voted to change the city’s charter in 1996, establishing a city form of governance and replacing Town Meeting and a Board of Selectmen with a mayor and City Council.

Reached via telephone Monday afternoon, LaChapelle said that in 2017 she ran on issues like transparency and accessibility in local government, as well as economic development. She said she has followed through on those campaign promises and wants to continue that work.

“I’m really committed to long-term, systemic change,” she said.

One of the projects LaChapelle said she is proud of is the city-approved $45 million redevelopment project for 1 Ferry St., the last piece of the Mill District envisioned by the city’s 2008 Master Plan. In November, the city received a $3.5 million grant from the state’s MassWorks Infrastructure program for the redevelopment.

“It’s fun to get the big check and the picture in the paper, but that’s really the beginning of a multiyear project,” she said. “And I’m committed to seeing that through.”

LaChapelle also hopes to see through the completion of the city’s new $109 million consolidated school that voters approved by a wide margin last May. The school, which will house prekindergarten through Grade 8, will be built on the current site of White Brook Middle School and is set to open in the fall of 2021.

“This election,” LaChapelle said, “it will be a fascinating anchor point in a civil conversation that started really three years ago about what is next for Easthampton.”

If elected, LaChapelle would serve another two-year term. However, city voters may get to approve a charter amendment in November that would extend the mayoral term to four years. 

The issues of extending the mayoral term and implementing ranked-choice voting in the city could appear as ballot questions in November if the state Legislature approves them in time.

Candidates for office in Easthampton can pull nomination papers beginning on July 1 and have until Sept. 17 to return them with sufficient signatures.

Dusty Christensen can be reached at dchristensen@gazettenet.com.
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