Fifth candidate joins Holyoke mayor’s race

  • Holyoke’s Joshua Garcia, currently the town administrator of Blandford, announced his candidacy for mayor of Holyoke on Thursday, April 22, 2021. SUBMITTED PHOTO

Staff Writer
Published: 4/22/2021 3:45:57 PM

HOLYOKE — A fifth candidate for city mayor has officially announced his campaign.

Holyoke’s Joshua Garcia, a graduate of the city’s public schools and the current town administrator in Blandford, announced Thursday that he will add his name to the list of candidates seeking to occupy room 1 in City Hall.

Garcia, 35, has a master’s degree in public administration from Westfield State University and has served as Blandford’s town administrator since 2018. Prior to that, he worked as a municipal services manager with the Pioneer Valley Planning Commission and as a property manager with the Holyoke Housing Authority. He previously served as a member of the Holyoke School Committee.

Garcia said his vision for Holyoke is to foster a sustainable, practical and inclusive environment in local government and city neighborhoods. In particular, he said that as mayor he would focus on improving the city’s “interoperability” — the way in which city departments function together.

“If our house is not in order, it’s hard to effectively support these departments that are doing the work around public safety, education, economic development,” he said. Those issues, he added, would be a priority for him.

Garcia said he is concerned with how finances are managed in the city. He said that there is a $2 million deficit on the city’s books and that free-cash balances are in the negative, adding that he would use his municipal management experience to make systemic changes to protect public funds and assets, and to ensure Holyoke avoids appropriation deficits from overspending.

A resident of the city’s Oakdale neighborhood, Garcia is married to Stefany Garcia — the family access engagement coordinator in the city’s public schools. He has two children, twins Ethan and Allison.

Garcia said he grew up in a single-mother household in one of South Holyoke’s apartment buildings, and that his family was able to leverage the social services available to them to succeed and live healthy lives. He worked at the Boys and Girls Club throughout high school and college, and has since worked with local nonprofits.

“I’ve been involved in different community initiatives, specifically focused on improving the quality of life in our neighborhoods,” Garcia said. “And serving in this role (as town manager), understanding the inner workings of government, I think it’s prepared me for this opportunity.”

Garcia joins School Committee member Devin Sheehan, at-large city councilors Michael Sullivan and Rebecca Lisi , and William “Billy” Glidden, previously an aide to former mayor Alex Morse, as those who have officially announced a mayoral run. The city will hold a preliminary election on Sept. 21 and a general election on Nov. 2.

Dusty Christensen can be reached at
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