Second candidate announces bid for Northampton council’s Ward 4 seat


Staff Writer
Published: 6/30/2021 8:33:49 PM

NORTHAMPTON — Garrick Perry, a South Street resident and manager of the downtown music venue Bishop’s Lounge, has announced his candidacy for City Council in Ward 4.

Perry’s announcement sets up a contest for the seat. Jesse Hassinger, co-owner of the Belly of the Beast restaurant, declared his candidacy for the Ward 4 seat in April.

Perry, 42, performs under the name “Force” as the vocalist for the hip-hop/reggae band The Alchemystics. Perry, a married father of two children who attend Northampton schools, said he moved to Ward 4 after graduating from Amherst College 20 years ago.

“As a Black man, raising biracial children in Northampton, I understand the complexity of the issues that we face as a community,” Perry said in an interview. “I would bring my lived experiences to enrich the conversation on the council, while also being an advocate and a voice for all residents and businesses in the Ward 4 community.”

He said he would work to ensure that the city’s arts and downtown business communities are able to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic.

“I know how important the arts are to our local economy because I've contributed to it,” he said. “We need to once again be a thriving mecca of culture and entertainment, and I know I can play a big role.”

Perry expressed support for the new Department of Community Care, established in the fiscal 2022 budget that goes into effect July 1. The department is meant to send unarmed responders to certain calls that are now typically handled by police, including mental health crises, suspicious person calls, minor traffic accidents and misdemeanors.

“As a member of the local business community, I have had numerous interactions with the Northampton Police Department and they have been invaluable to myself and the other establishments on Strong Avenue,” said Perry, whose sister is a Baltimore police officer. “But there is clearly a need for change, and this change must start at a community level.”

Ward 4 Councilor John Thorpe is not seeking reelection to a second term. Thorpe, a probation officer in Northampton District Court, is the first Black resident to serve on the Northampton City Council in modern times, if not ever, according to local political observers interviewed by the Gazette in 2019.

The general election is scheduled for Tuesday, Nov. 2. Candidates must submit their nomination papers to the Board of Registrars by July 31 at 5 p.m.

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