Juan Anderson-Burgos faces challenge from Preston Macy for Holyoke City Council’s Ward 6 seat

  • Candidates for City Council in Holyoke’s Ward 6: Juan Anderson-Burgos, left, and Preston Macy. SUBMITTED PHOTOS

  • Candidates for City Council in Holyoke’s Ward 6: Juan Anderson-Burgos, left, and Preston Macy. SUBMITTED PHOTOS

  • JUAN ANDERSON-BURGOS

  • PRESTON MACY

Staff Writer
Published: 10/26/2021 9:15:46 AM

HOLYOKE — On Nov. 2, Holyoke residents will vote to fill seven ward-based seats on the City Council, five of which are contested races. The ward seats are in addition to six at-large seats on the council.

Ward 6 contains the Oakdale and Jarvis Avenue neighborhoods. Two candidates — incumbent Juan Anderson-Burgos and Preston Macy — are profiled here in the order they appear on the ballot, which was randomly determined.

Juan Anderson-Burgos

A city councilor since 2018, Juan Anderson-Burgos is currently a legislative aide to state Rep. Patricia Duffy, D-Holyoke. He previously worked for Citizens Bank, where he said he helped people take care of their finances.

Anderson-Burgos said his passion is for helping people, which is why he initially ran for office. As a recovered alcoholic, he was able to turn his life around — an act that led him to the City Council. He said the experience has helped open his eyes to systemic issues in the city and beyond, and that he has since been committed to reaching out to those who need help.

“I want to be the person leading the fight to help,” he said. “I’m always fighting for them.”

When he arrived on the City Council, Anderson-Burgos said he began to see how it wasn’t doing enough to support department heads, who felt intimidated by the way they were treated by the council. He said he wants to make sure departments are working effectively and efficiently, and that the city is appropriately spending money to help with that.

Public safety is an issue Anderson-Burgos said he is focused on. And he said he wants to spend more energy focused on the city’s schools, helping to address the need for new schools with the needs of taxpayers.

“We have to balance everything out so that everyone is happy,” he said.

Anderson-Burgos said that his accessibility sets him apart from his opponent. He said that when residents call him, he will show up on their doorstep to help with problems. He also noted that he speaks English and Spanish fluently, and that his bilingualism is an asset when it comes to effective constituent service.

“I am an open book,” he said. “I’m not conservative and I’m not liberal. I’m Holyoke … All I care about is: ‘How can I help you?’”

Preston Macy

A 35-year owner of his own laser engraving business that has been in Holyoke since 1996, Preston Macy described himself as a “more conservative kind of person” who wants to see improvements to the basic functions of city government.

“I think government should work for the people and not the other way around,” he said. “I also think the city of Holyoke does many things very well, and it does a few things that could probably use some changes.”

Among the important issues Macy said he hears about from voters are traffic, street improvements and trash services. He said he would look into whether those municipal services are performing the way they should.

Macy said a big issue for him is lifting a moratorium on gas hookups currently imposed by Holyoke Gas & Electric amid a lack of pipeline capacity. Macy said that although the City Council can’t simply pass legislation to expand a pipeline to fix that capacity issue, councilors can act as elected officials to show that there is political will and strength behind doing so.

“What it requires now is a new sense of political support so that the people can begin to coalesce around that as a project,” he said. “It won’t happen if we don’t have the political will.”

Macy said that the biggest difference between himself and his opponent would be his focus on local issues.

“I will be more focused on Holyoke issues,” he said. “I’ll be less focused on national or international issues.”

As an example, when focusing on carbon emissions in the city, he said elected officials could, for example, work to reorganize traffic lights to reduce times when cars are idling. Though he isn’t sure if that’s possible at the moment, he said that is an example of his local focus when it comes to the issues.

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


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