Alex B. Morse, the Brown University graduate elected to lead the city of Holyoke, is no stranger to the Western Massachusetts city with a history of economic struggles.
Morse, who is 22, grew up in Holyoke and is a graduate of the city’s public school system, according to his mayoral campaign website.
He graduated in May from the Ivy League school in Providence, having spent three years working with US Representative David N. Cicilline, when Cicilline was mayor of the Rhode Island capital city.
In a tweet today, Cicilline applauded Morse for his victory.
“Alex Morse, my mentee, elected tonight as Mayor of Holyoke, Ma.’’ Cicilline wrote. “Congrats, Alex! A visionary, committed, new young leader for his city!’’
Morse is an opponent of casino gambling while his opponent, incumbent Mayor Elaine Pluta, was looking to the arrival of gambling in Massachusetts as a new economic engine for Holyoke, a city of about 40,000. Pluta is 67 years old
In a headline, the Springfield Republican newspaper described Morse’s election as a generational change in the city – “Old Holyoke makes way for New Holyoke.’’ Morse received 5,121 votes to Pluta’s 4,513 votes, according to unofficial city tallies.
Morse was a member of the Massachusetts Governor’s LGBT Commission for three years, according to his website.
“This is an incredible moment, not just for the campaign, but for the city of Holyoke,’’ Morse told supporters in his victory speech last night. A video of his speech was posted on the masslive.com website. “This campaign has been an incredible journey, and this is just the beginning.’’
Morse told cheering supporters he wants to make all of the city’s neighborhoods safe for residents, to create “good, healthy jobs” and to restore civic pride.
“We need to make sure that no matter when, no matter where we live, no matter what language we speak, no matter what we look like – we are always proud to call Holyoke home,’’ he said.