Holyoke City Councilor David Bartley eyes state House seat 

  • Holyoke Ward 3 City Councilor David Bartley attends the first meeting of the new year in the council chambers following an inaugural ceremony held upstairs in the Holyoke City Hall auditorium on Monday, Jan. 6, 2020. GAZETTE STAFF PHOTO/KEVIN GUTTING

Staff Writer
Published: 2/21/2020 11:16:58 AM
Modified: 2/21/2020 11:16:46 AM

HOLYOKE — A third candidate is considering entering the race to be Holyoke’s next state representative.

David Bartley, a five-term Ward 3 City Councilor, has pulled nomination papers for the 5th Hampden District seat in the state House of Representatives. The seat is currently occupied by state Rep. Aaron Vega, D-Holyoke, who announced last month that he is not seeking re-election.

“I’m in the process of gathering signatures, but primarily I’m in the process — as my work schedule allows — of calling people and having people reach out to me and getting their take on it,” Bartley said in a phone interview Friday.

A lawyer and commercial real estate broker who has held his City Council seat since 2012, Bartley announced recently that this will be his last term on the council. He currently serves as chairman of the council’s Development and Government Relations Committee.

Although he said that he has not yet officially entered the race, Bartley said that when he pulls nomination papers “that’s generally an indication that I’m going to go forward.” 

If Bartley enters the race, he will be the third Democrat to do so, joining Patrick Beaudry, the manager of public affairs for the Pioneer Valley Planning Commission, and Pat Duffy, Vega’s longtime legislative aide.

“When I run, it’s just simply about Holyoke,” Bartley said. “Certainly the schools are going to be first and foremost, but also economic development.”

Bartley said that although the state Legislature recently passed the Student Opportunity Act, which commits Massachusetts to spending around $1.5 billion more on K-12 education over the next seven years, he would press hard to make sure Holyoke gets its needed share of funding from the state.

“For example, the cost of bussing is really a burden upon the municipality," he said, adding that the city does not receive enough funding for special education either. “The commonwealth has got to step up and fund it.”

Bartley said another issue for him will be to ensure that the state is not placing too many programs like group homes or shelters in the city without stepping up to help the city. The state, he said, is "not going to come in and remove all of our real estate from the tax roles, which seems to be what they’re doing.”

Bartley has previously run for statewide office. In a special election in 2013, he ran for state Senate in the 2nd Hampden and Hampshire District. He lost to former state senator Donald Humason, R-Westfield, who is now the mayor of Westfield. The deadline for candidates for statewide office to submit nomination papers for certification of signatures is May 5. The state primary election is Sept. 1. 

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

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