HOLYOKE – On November 2, Holyoke residents will vote for seven city council seats, five of which are contested races. The parish seats are in addition to the six individual council seats.
Ward 3 covers the entire Elmwood neighborhood, as well as the northeastern portion of the Homestead Avenue neighborhood and a small portion of Whiting Farms. Candidates were profiled in the order in which they appear on the ballot, which was determined at random.
Artist and educator, Anne Thalheimer is a long-time member of the Holyoke Local Cultural Council, where she is currently treasurer. She led a massive civic and cultural awareness campaign in the city and said she was running for city council to focus on “nuts and bolts” issues.
“A lot of the issues that are really specific to Ward 3 are broader issues for Holyoke as well,” she said. “Make sure the garbage is picked up on time, or why my snow was not cleared this week. “
Thalheimer said road safety is a big concern she would like to address in the neighborhood. She said crosswalks need to be repainted, sidewalks repaired and traffic studies done in hot spots where accidents happen. These issues have not been discussed much in recent years, she said.
Thalheimer is also interested in finding ways to increase the city’s tax revenue. She said she was in favor of a change in ordinance that would have allowed backyard chickens in the city, adding that efforts like this require communication and collaboration between departments. She wants to help this communication, saying that the city does not need an “obstructionist government” as it is now.
When asked how she differentiates herself from her opponent, outgoing councilor David Bartley, Thalheimer said she would take a different approach to the job, adding that she hadn’t seen city council bring the kind of improvements he could make to the neighborhood during Bartley’s tenure. .
“I would like to see a more collaborative and cooperative government,” she said. “I don’t think the government needs to yell at each other. “
City council would be a more welcoming place for residents to come to make public comments and engage in the local government process, Thalheimer said. Currently, she said, some councilors are complaining that residents do not attend city council subcommittee meetings, where much of the work is done.
“It’s up to us, we have to solve this problem,” she said, adding that she would make people feel valued and respected for their participation in the process. “I don’t see enough of that in city council right now. And I want to change that.
Currently in his fifth term on City Council, David Bartley chairs the organization’s Development and Government Relations Committee. A practicing lawyer who previously worked as a field auditor for the State Auditor’s Office, Bartley said his main focus was on voter services.
“It’s about standing up for all the citizens of Holyoke as best I can,” he said. “I represent Ward 3, sure, but I have certainly placed orders and passed legislation to support all Holyokers, and have done so consistently from day one.”
Bartley said he was not one to shy away from issues important to voters and that he would continue to “zealously defend these ideas in city council”. He said public safety and large public schools are high priorities for him. He said he supports At-large City Councilor Michael Sullivan’s candidacy for mayor and hopes that with the right leadership in the mayor’s office, the city can stay on top of these issues.
Bartley targeted former mayor Alex Morse in an interview with The Gazette. He criticized Morse’s record of attendance at school and city council meetings, accusing him of treating the mayor’s office as a “walk-in job” during his run for Congress, councilors unfairly criticized municipal officials and did not “drive” the city government. .
“I believe Mike Sullivan is,” Bartley said. “This is the reason for the race.
Bartley said a city council bond bill would provide funds for sidewalk improvements in the neighborhood, and noted investments in areas like Croisier Field during his tenure. He said Route 5 is smooth in the neighborhood.
“My neck from the city where I defended is in great shape,” he said.
Bartley declined to say what sets him apart from his opponent.
“I’m just more interested in talking about my campaign and humbly asking voters for their support,” he said, adding that he was trying to get “new blood” from the board, the school committee and in the mayor’s office. “I think a new perspective is going to be very helpful.”
Dusty Christensen can be contacted at [email protected]