Easthampton Mayor LaChapelle tapped to lead state Mayors’ Association

Mayor Nicole LaChapelle speaks at the swearing-in ceremony for municipal officers in Easthampton on Jan. 2.

Mayor Nicole LaChapelle speaks at the swearing-in ceremony for municipal officers in Easthampton on Jan. 2. STAFF PHOTO/CAROL LOLLIS

Nicole LaChapelle

Nicole LaChapelle


Staff Writer

Published: 01-23-2024 3:55 PM

Modified: 01-25-2024 9:56 AM

EASTHAMPTON — With two years left in office as mayor of Easthampton, Nicole LaChapelle will head the Massachusetts Mayors’ Association, leading efforts around climate change, housing and other issues she has engaged in on a city level at a wider scale.

LaChapelle was nominated for president of the organization in December and unanimously elected to the position on Saturday, Jan. 20.

“I’m really excited about it and humbled,” LaChapelle said, adding that she was surprised to receive a nomination.

“It’s exciting being the president of the Mayors’ Association to really pull through on important issues for cities, especially around climate, accessing federal dollars, taking a look at different bills that are being put forward by the governor, [and] housing affordability,” she said.

The president of the association leads advocacy for Massachusetts mayors’ legislative priorities, attends national conferences, speaks on a federal and state level, and sets the agenda for the association’s meetings.

LaChapelle emphasized housing as a top priority for cities across the state, and pointed to the governor’s recent Affordable Homes Act as an important initiative.

“We are at the point where affordable housing has got waiting lists that are double digits long,” she said, adding that not only is it important to make housing affordable and accessible, but it is important to “give people options about where they want to live and what they’re interested in long term.”

“That’s a must-do if we’re keeping Massachusetts competitive, but also retaining folks in Massachusetts,” she said. 

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During LaChapelle’s seven-year tenure as mayor, the city has seen a number of housing developments completed and underway, including a project at One Ferry Street to revive the old factory site and create housing units, with 3 Ferry St. already open and leased; plans to reuse the Center, Pepin and Maple elementary schools as mixed-income housing; and a mixed-use development including housing at the former Tasty Top site.

“The work Easthampton has done around climate and housing and looking at innovative partnerships on a municipal level, I’d like to think that that was a big part of the nomination process as well as the vote on the 20th,” she said.

Another priority, LaChapelle said, is to align association members with the state’s Clean Energy and Climate Plan, ensuring that municipalities make the most of state and federal dollars.

“MMA has always been a force to represent cities and towns across the Commonwealth,” LaChapelle said. “I’m excited to do a lot of great work over the next year with the excellent MMA staff.”

Maddie Fabian can be reached at mfabian@gazettenet  .com.