Holyoke’s Patricia Duffy to run for 5th Hampden District seat

  • Patricia “Pat” Duffy, the longtime legislative aide to state Rep. Aaron Vega, D-Holyoke, announced Wednesday that she is running for the 5th Hampden District seat after Vega announced a day earlier that he would not seek reelection to a fifth term in the House.  SUBMITTED PHOTO

Staff Writer
Published: 1/29/2020 2:49:43 PM

HOLYOKE — Patricia “Pat” Duffy, the longtime legislative aide to state Rep. Aaron Vega, D-Holyoke, has formally announced that she is running to succeed Vega in the 5th Hampden District.

Vega announced Tuesday that, after four terms serving in the House seat that represents Holyoke, he will not seek re-election in November. Duffy, 56, filed paperwork to form a candidate’s committee on the same day, and on Wednesday morning she officially announced her candidacy.

“In today’s political climate, much of the most impactful government work, the work that affects our daily lives and shapes our communities, is done on the state and local level,” Duffy, of Holyoke, said in a statement. “I have the tools, the background, and the relationships to fight for the people of Holyoke, and to ensure that our voices are heard in the State House.”

A legislative aide for Vega since 2014, Duffy has been a board member of the Holyoke Redevelopment Authority for a decade. She also served on the board of the Holyoke-based community organization Nueva Esperanza from 2006 to 2015. Duffy, who previously lived in South Hadley, narrowly lost an election in 2002 against former state representative John Scibak in the Democratic primary for the 2nd Hampshire District, which represents Easthampton, South Hadley, Hadley and part of Granby.

“Of the hundreds of constituents my office has helped over the past seven years, Pat has been at the forefront of all those issues and resolutions,” Vega said in a statement. “She knows the job and knows how to help people. I’m proud to support her as a candidate for state representative.”

In a telephone interview Wednesday, Duffy said that her background in research, policy and community organizing, together with her experience on Beacon Hill, make her a strong candidate for the office. 

“I’m sort of a policy nerd as well as having that background as a community organizer,” she said. “It’s the dream combination for me.”

Duffy said that she has built relationships with other lawmakers and their staff, seen how the legislative process works and knows the issues facing Holyoke well. She said she soon plans to be out in the community knocking on doors, as she has for other campaigns in the city. 

Duffy’s campaign has scheduled a kickoff event on Feb. 25 at the Summit View from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.

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