Editorial: Important days for voters in Holyoke, Northampton

  • Voters at Jackson Street school in Northampton in 2016. Gazette file photo

Published: 9/19/2021 8:20:34 PM

Two of the region’s largest cities will undergo significant leadership changes in January when new mayors are inaugurated in Northampton and Holyoke, replacing longtime mayors who have each led their communities for a decade.

The process to determine who those new mayors will be takes the first step in Holyoke on Tuesday, when voters head to the polls for a preliminary election to winnow the field from seven candidates to two.

Voters in Northampton, meanwhile, will take the same step a week later, on Tuesday, Sept. 28, when they vote in the city’s preliminary election to narrow the field of mayor candidates from four to two, and the field of candidates for two at-large City Council positions from five to four.

In Holyoke, the candidates for the four-year position will be listed on the ballot in this order: William J. Glidden, Rebecca Lisi, Joshua A. Garcia, Michael J. Sullivan, Christopher E. Kosinksi, Gloria A. Caballero Roca and Devin Sheehan.

The candidates are aiming to replace former Mayor Alex Morse, who held the position for nine years before leaving at the end of March to become town manager of Provincetown.

In Northampton, four candidates are in the running — though five will be listed on the ballot — to replace the outgoing Mayor David Narkewicz, who announced in January that he would not seek reelection when his decade-long run as mayor ends in December. The candidates for the four-year term will be listed in this order: Gina-Louise Sciarra, Rosechana Gordon, Roy Martin, Shanna Fishel and Marc Warner. Gordon dropped out of the race in late August, after the deadline to change the September ballot had passed.

Voters in both Holyoke and Northampton will choose one candidate for mayor at the preliminary elections; the top two vote-getters will advance to the general election Nov. 2.

Northampton voters will also decide which candidates advance in the race for two at-large seats. There are five candidates on the ballot, in this order: Michael Quinlan, David Murphy, Marissa Elkins, Jamila Gore and Michelle Serra. The top four vote-getters for the two-year terms will advance in November.

The right to vote carries with it the responsibility to be informed about candidates and issues. There are several sources for information about the mayoral candidates in the elections.

In Saturday’s paper, the Gazette published a summary of Holyoke’s preliminary election and outlined the platforms of each of the candidates. The paper also covered the lone debate leading up to the preliminary election, and that debate is posted to YouTube by Holyoke Media. For more detailed information on each candidate, we urge voters to spend some time on their websites.

The Gazette also will publish a summary next weekend in advance it Northampton’s preliminary election, and voters will have a few more chances to hear from the candidates in virtual and in-person campaign stops throughout the city.

The organization Climate Action Now is hosting virtual forums for candidates in each race this week. The at-large councilors forum is Tuesday, Sept. 21, and the mayoral forum is on Thursday, Sept. 23, both at 7 p.m.

Neighborhood groups in Wards 3 and 7 are co-hosting an in-person candidate event for the at-large candidates on Sunday, Sept. 26, from 3:30-5:30 p.m. at Leeds Elementary School. The groups held a similar event for the mayoral candidates on Sunday.

Additionally, check out the campaign websites for more detailed information about each candidate.

Representative democracy relies on voters to make good choices when they enter the voting booth. Voters in Holyoke and Northampton have that chance and that charge this month. Their participation will serve them and the cities of Holyoke and Northampton well for the next four years.

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