Morse, Stanek Face Off in Holyoke, Mass. Mayoral Debate

The candidates for mayor in Holyoke, Massachusetts faced off in a debate last night. Incumbent Mayor Alex Morse and challenger Jeff Stanek traded jabs ahead of next week’s election.

The debate focused mostly on economic development in the city with an over 30 percent poverty rate. The candidates also attacked each others’ records. Most notably, Jeff Stanek drew attention to several flip-flopped decisions in Morse’s first term, including on casino development, and a proposed Wal-Mart. 

“Leaders sit back and they do their homework ahead of time and make a decision and stand by it,” Stanek says. “It’s not good for businesses, businesses do not like someone that one day is going to embrace you, and the next day might turn their back on you.”

For his part, Morse says he knows his first term hasn’t been perfect.

“But that’s what’s exciting to me, is that with the lessons I’ve learned over the past two years, we’re more poised for a successful second term than ever before,” Morse says. “We’ve developed a fantastic team in city hall, we’ve developed a fantastic economic development team in city hall. At the end of the day we’ve made the right decisions for the people of the city of Holyoke.”

Morse was first elected in 2011 when he was 22-years old. Stanek grew up in Holyoke, but only recently moved back.