Bartley, Thalheimer vie for Holyoke City Council’s Ward 3 seat

  • Holyoke City Council candidates in Ward 3: Anne Thalheimer, left, and incumbent David Bartley. SUBMITTED PHOTOS

  • Holyoke City Council candidates in Ward 3: Anne Thalheimer, left, and incumbent David Bartley. SUBMITTED PHOTOS

  • Holyoke City Council candidates in Ward 3: Anne Thalheimer, left, and incumbent David Bartley. SUBMITTED PHOTOS

  • David Bartley SUBMITTED PHOTO

  • Anne Thalheimer SUBMITTED PHOTO

Staff Writer
Published: 10/22/2021 9:32:52 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 3 covers the entirety of Elmwood neighborhood, as well as the northeastern portion of the Homestead Avenue neighborhood and a small section of Whiting Farms. The candidates have been profiled in the order they appear on the ballot, which was randomly determined.

Anne Thalheimer

An artist and educator, Anne Thalheimer is a longtime member of the Holyoke Local Cultural Council, where she currently serves as treasurer. She has done considerable civic outreach and cultural programming in the city and said she is running for City Council to focus on “nuts and bolts” issues.

“A lot of the issues that are really specific to Ward 3 are also broader issues for Holyoke,” she said. “Making sure the trash is picked up on time, or why my snow wasn’t plowed this week.”

Thalheimer said traffic safety is a big concern she would like to address in the ward. She said crosswalks need to be repainted, sidewalks repaired and traffic studies done in hot spots where accidents happen. Those issues haven’t been addressed much in recent years, she said.

Thalheimer also is interested in looking at ways to raise tax revenues in the city. She said she’s in favor of an ordinance change that would have allowed backyard chickens in the city, adding that efforts like that require cross-department communication and collaboration. She wants to help that communication, saying the city doesn’t need “obstructionist government” like it currently has.

Asked how she differentiates herself from her opponent, incumbent Councilor David Bartley, Thalheimer said she would take a different approach to the job, adding that she hasn’t seen the City Council make the kind of improvements it could make in the ward during Bartley’s tenure.

“I would like to see a more collaborative and cooperative government,” she said. “I don’t think government needs to be about yelling at each other.”

City Council would be a more welcoming place to residents coming to give public comment and engage in the process of local government, Thalheimer said. Currently, she said, some councilors complain about residents not attending the City Council’s subcommittee meetings, where much of the work gets done.

“That’s on us, we need to fix that,” she said, adding that she would make people feel valued and respected for taking part in the process. “I don’t see enough of that in City Council right now. And I want to change that.”

David Bartley

Currently in his fifth term on the City Council, David Bartley chairs the body’s Development and Governmental Relations Committee. A practicing attorney who previously worked as a field auditor for the Office of the State Auditor, Bartley said his primary focus is on constituent services.

“It’s about standing up for all citizens of Holyoke as best I can,” he said. “I do represent Ward 3, of course, but I’ve certainly filed orders and had legislation passed to support all Holyokers, and I’ve done that consistently from day one.”

Bartley said that he is not one to shy away from issues that are important to constituents and that he will continue to “zealously advocate for those ideas in the City Council.” He said that public safety and great public schools are important priorities for him. He said he is supporting the candidacy of At-large City Councilor Michael Sullivan for mayor and hopes that with the right leadership in the mayor’s office the city can stay on top of those issues.

Bartley took aim at previous mayor Alex Morse during an interview with the Gazette. He criticized Morse’s attendance record at school and City Council meetings, accusing him of treating the mayor’s office as a “no-show job” during his congressional run, unfairly criticized city councilors, and wasn’t “holding onto the wheel” of city government.

“I believe Mike Sullivan is,” Bartley said. “That’s what the race is all about.”

Bartley said that a bond bill before the City Council would provide funds for sidewalk improvements in the ward, and noted investments in areas like Crosier Field during his time in office. He said that Route 5 is smooth in the ward.

“My neck of the city where I’ve advocated for is in great shape,” he said.

Bartley declined to say what differentiates himself from his opponent.

“I’m just more interested in speaking about my campaign and just humbly asking voters for their support,” he said, adding that he’s trying to get “new blood” on the council, School Committee and into the mayor’s office. “I think a fresh perspective is going to be very helpful.”

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


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