Politics and Economics

Holyoke Mayor Alex Morse announces he will not seek re-election

Holyoke Mayor Alex Morse (D) will not be running for a fifth term in the city’s 2021 election, he announced in a statement issued Tuesday morning.  

Morse said in the statement he originally intended to serve for ten years.

“When I was first elected, I expressed the desire to serve for ten years at most – enough time, I thought, to get some key goals across the finish line, and to secure a legacy we could be proud of,” Morse said in the statement. “I firmly believe that our democracy works best when we create space for more voices and perspectives to influence the public sphere. So, with a municipal election year almost upon us, I feel it’s important to let you know that I will not be seeking re-election.”

Morse was first elected to a two-year term in 2011 at the age of 22, making him the city’s youngest and first openly gay mayor.  He would go on to be re-elected three times, most recently in 2017 after the term of office was extended from two to four years. 

In his tenure as mayor, Morse led the charge for progressive visions and goals for the city. These accomplishments included the establishment of Holyoke as a sanctuary city in 2014 and becoming the first Massachusetts mayor to publicly support cannabis legalization in 2016.

Morse would unsuccessfully challenge House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Richard E. Neal, of Springfield, in the Democratic primary in September of 2020.

Neal won the First Congressional District primary by more than 25,000 votes and beat Morse in his home city of Holyoke by a margin of more than 400 votes.

When he conceded to Neal, Morse said he would consider running again in the future. 

Morse says he will spend his remaining time as mayor focusing on the COVID-19 pandemic and mitigating any problems for the next mayor.

“I intend to use my remaining year in office to build on our progress, to help us navigate this public health crisis, and to leave the city in the strongest possible position for my successor,” he said in the statement. “I am eager to continue this work.”