José Luis Maldonado Velez
Jenny Rivera (1)
Jannelle Mojica (2)
Anne Thalheimer (3)
Kocayne Givner (4)
Guy O'Donnell (5)
Juan Anderson-Burgos (6)
Meg McGrath-Smith (7)
Gloria Caballero-Roca (4)
CITY COUNCIL - AT LARGE
My name is Patricia C. Devine. I go by the name of Patti. I grew up in the Churchill Section of Holyoke at 650 High Street; went to Sacred Heart Grammar School and then when on to graduate from Holyoke Catholic High School in 1969. Previously, I was elected as the Ward 6 Councilor for 10 years, 8 of those years unopposed. (1990 – 2000) I decided to take a little rest after those 10 years. In 2005 I felt it was time to take the plunge again and ran for City Councilor at Large. Happily, I was elected and served for 6 years. Currently there are 3 City Councilors who are leaving the service on the council with a collective amount of 90 years of experience. Councilors McGiverin, Tallman and McGee have served our city well and their experience will be missed. This is one of the reasons that I am running for City Council at Large. I do have 16 years of experience as a City Councilor and would like to share that experience with the people of Holyoke. I believe that my experience as a Union Assistant Business Manager for 12 years also enhances my ability to help others. I am very PRO UNION. For 15 years I also held managerial positions at the Massachusetts State Lottery. I retired in 2016. I was very pleased that Mayor Morse appointed me to the Fire Commission. A post I held for several years. More about Patti Devine
Meet Axel Fontanez, a passionate and dedicated individual who is running as a first-time candidate for city council at-large. Axel strongly advocates for public safety, recognizing that a safe environment is essential for the well-being and prosperity of the community. Additionally, he has a deep concern for addressing homelessness, understanding the importance of providing assistance and support to those in need. Axel is also a firm believer in business and economic development, recognizing the potential for growth and opportunity that it can bring to Holyoke. He is committed to attracting new businesses and fostering an environment that encourages entrepreneurs to thrive. What sets Axel apart is his faith-based approach to governing - his principles and values guide his decisions and actions, ensuring that he serves the community with integrity and compassion. More about Axel Fontanez
José Luis Maldonado Velez
I'm a lifelong resident of Holyoke, born at Providence Hospital and raised in the Flats, where my deep connection to my Puerto Rican heritage was nurtured. During my teenage years, I became actively involved in our community through organizations like the Holyoke Youth Commission. These experiences illuminated the profound importance of civic engagement and the impact of local politics. Today, as an adult, I proudly serve as the Program Manager at a Victim & Survivors Services program at Enlace de Familias. In addition, I contribute my time and expertise to several committees, including Holyoke Pride, Fiestas Patronales de Holyoke, and I'm honored to serve on the board for Holyoke Art. Throughout my life, I've witnessed firsthand the disparities in city services based on which ward you reside in, as well as the preconceived notions that residents of each ward may hold about one another. My unwavering commitment has always been to unite people on the fundamental basis that we are all human beings, deserving of fairness, respect, and opportunity. Recognizing that meaningful change takes time and collaboration with like-minded individuals, I have decided to run for a second term as Holyoke City Council At Large. It is my belief that we can work together to address these longstanding issues and propel Holyoke into a brighter and more equitable future for all its residents. More about Councilor José Luis Maldonado Velez
I am excited to be running for re-election for my second term on the City Council At Large to further contribute to making my hometown a better place. Currently, I'm the Executive Director of a nonprofit here in Holyoke that helps underrepresented individuals start and grow their business. In my first term on the City Council I was appointed as the Chair of the Development and Government Relations Committee, which oversees most special permits and the sale or acquisition of City property. This leadership role has taught me a lot and allowed me to ensure that our government works efficiently to support economic development projects and the sale of city owned properties to private development that will create opportunities to expand our tax base, create jobs and provide opportunities for housing and new businesses. I have years of experience working with business, government, and local organizations to identify complex problems which, oftentimes, just need to be approached with common sense. As a City Councilor I believe it's important to be out in our community putting in the work, not just taking votes in City Hall. Whether it's planning community events, helping our small businesses thrive, or participating in citywide clean ups, I'm always aiming to be responsive, present, and help Holyoke be its best. I'd greatly appreciate your vote again on November 7. More about Councilor Tessa Murphy-Romboletti
I grew up in Holyoke: I’m the product of its public schools, its remarkable and enduring sense of community, its pre-1990s belief in itself. Since graduating from Holyoke High and the University of Chicago Law School I’ve been a science fiction editor at Pocket Books/Simon & Schuster; a Wall Street lawyer working on regulation of international financial institutions; and a WGA card-carrying screenwriter. Holyoke is still a real community, not just a zip code: something rare and precious in today’s world. It’s why I came home. Once here, I wanted to help it thrive, and Mayor Pluta invited me to join the Planning Board. I’m currently the Chair, having been reappointed by both Mayor Morse and Mayor Garcia. The Board handles a wide variety of issues, and I’ve been able to work on matters from permitting new affordable housing to working with HG&E to develop ordinances supporting renewable energy infrastructure. My campaign is focused on good-government reform issues, because progress depends on the City Council functioning as an effective, transparent, and fair lawmaking body. Too often over the past years and decades the Council has been where good ideas go to die, slain by a minority mired in the past. Holyoke has its challenges, but it also has tremendous potential. We can remake this city as a beacon for the coming years, keeping what we treasure from our history while correcting the past’s injustices and failures. I’m running to clear the weeds, so we’re ready to do the real work. More about Mimi Panitch
Israel Rivera is dedicated to serving the residents of Holyoke and working towards a safer and more inclusive community. With his educational background, community involvement, and commitment to public safety, he is well-equipped to continue making a positive impact as an at-large city councilor.Currently, Israel is seeking re-election as an at-large city councilor in Holyoke. He currently chairs the Public Safety Committee and is an avid advocate for public safety. Over the past 20 months, Israel has filed a string of orders around the creation of an Office of Returning Citizens, focusing on individuals re-entering society. The goal of this department is to see real-time results in mitigating homelessness, substance abuse, and mental health issues as well as addressing the various barriers many face upon returning to society.Throughout his years of working and organizing within the city, Israel has worked closely with local non-profits such as the Holyoke Safe neighborhood Initiative, Holyoke Youth Girls Softball League, the Boys & Girls Club of Greater Holyoke, Holyoke YMCA, OneHolyoke Community Development Corporation, etc… where he has served in a mentorship role coaching baseball, basketball, softball, community dinners, and community clean-ups. Israel, also known as Izzy, a recent 40 under 40 alum and a recipient of the Latino Excellence on the Hill award given out by the Black and Latino Caucus. He has a strong commitment to his community.Lastly, Izzy is a husband, a father to Mikayla, Isla, and Isie (ages 19, 3, 1). He was raised in Holyoke, attended Holyoke public schools, and graduated from Holyoke High School in 2003, Holyoke Community College 2016, University of Massachusetts 2018, currently enrolled at Westfield States University’s Masters in Public Administration program (of which he expects to graduate summer of 2024). More about Councilor Israel Rivera
CITY COUNCIL -WARDS
I am excited to announce my decision to rerun for election in order to continue addressing critical issues that our community faces. Among these issues, I am particularly focused on implementing rent control policies, addressing the problem of slum lords, tackling homelessness, ensuring public safety, promoting job creation, and maintaining a diverse City Council. Creating more job opportunities is vital for the growth of our city. I am committed to attracting new businesses, supporting local entrepreneurship, and investing in vocational training programs to equip our residents with the necessary skills. Together, we can create a thriving economy that benefits everyone. I strongly believe in the power of diversity and representation. I will continue to ensure a diverse City Council by promoting inclusion, equal participation, and respect for all voices. Encouraging candidates from various backgrounds to run for seats on the Council will help us make decisions that truly reflect our community's diversity. I am eager to engage with constituents, listen to their concerns, and effectively communicate my plans. With your support, we can make a real difference in addressing these pressing issues and building a stronger, more vibrant community. Thank you for your trust, and I look forward to earning your vote in the upcoming election. More about Councilor Jenny Rivera
I am a resident of the city of Holyoke and employed in the medical field. I have been married for 30 years and I am the mother of two
young men who are exemplary members of the city.
As a resident of my beloved community, I have been participating in different activities in order to collaborate and intervene with everyday situations and needs. The elderly, the children of limited
resources and the homeless have motivated me to be a tool of their lives in the face of their needs.For example, I have partaken in events for food donations and adopting families at Christmas time to bring joy and gifts to people in our community both adults, youth and children. Moreover, on several occasions I have participated in the donation of backpacks with school supplies for the return to school because every child deserves to have what it takes to succeed academically. In addition, I have cooperated with donations to churches that provide social and economic assistance to members of our community. Finally, I have participated in defense of housing and payment of affordable rent for low-income people.
My community means a lot to me. For this reason, I am running to represent the people of my city. With your support, united, we will work to transform our city of Holyoke. More about Jannelle Mojica
My goal is to make local government more responsive, responsible and respectful, and by doing so increase resident engagement, ensure we have broader representation on City Council, and bring a new and innovative voice to the process. I want municipal government to become something residents want to participate in, rather than something inaccessible, contentious, and difficult to follow. I’m running because I can be the catalyst for this change.
In 2017 I created a Ward 3 Neighborhood Association group. In addition, I am a long-term member of the Holyoke Local Cultural Council and serve as the co-Chair. I am a proud union member (1199 SEIU) and have been involved with a number of initiatives in Holyoke, including Wayfinder’s (formerly HAP Housing) Resident Leadership Program, voter outreach and education, and protecting free speech in the city. I’m an artist and educator who brings compassion and innovative thinking to my work; it’s an approach I believe our municipal government needs more of, not less. We don’t have to have City Council meetings that are four hours long and difficult to follow; we need a local government that directly and efficiently responds to the needs of the people it serves.
As a first-generation college grad and American citizen I have a unique appreciation for the struggles experienced by immigrants, people of color, and low-income households. I have lived in Holyoke on and off since the mid 90s. With struggle, a bit of luck and a first-time homeowner program, I bought my home in 2005. I was a repeat offender when it came to requests for traffic studies, needs for crosswalks, speed traps, and parking enforcement. Now, having been in office, I understand why Holyoke has had a hard time taking care of basics. As difficult as many initiatives are to implement, I haven't stopped pushing for more public trash receptacles, clean parks, and a Traffic department at HPD to hold speeding commuters accountable. I will also continue to support the actions of our Board of Health and Flex Squad to hold owners of run down and empty buildings accountable.
I’m running to continue representing Ward 4. My understanding of how city government works is an asset to Holyokers. I am well equipped to continue fighting the good fight and look forward to getting into more good trouble for my Ward 4 community! More about Councilor Kocayne Givner
I’m in this race to stand up for working families like my own. It is unfair that families can work hard and still struggle to make ends meet. I have two sons in the Holyoke Public Schools, one at Sullivan and one at McMahon, where I have volunteered for the last 5 years. I’ve seen how amazing the teachers and staff are and how they aren’t provided with the tools they need to ensure that every student gets the education they deserve. At the city level, I’ve watched as our leaders fail to prioritize protecting the environment for our children's’ future. We should be leading the way in fighting climate change and preparing for its consequences.
I’ve also seen the power of a community coming together to help one another. I grew up in a Habitat For Humanity house. My dad got better wages and safer working conditions when he joined a union. It was only after joining the union that we were finally able to afford braces. Coming together as a community can make a real difference in the lives of everyday working Holyoke families, and we must fight for a brighter future for all of our kids. That’s the leadership I will bring to City Hall.
One of the skills I am most proud of is my focus on communication. Even a casual observer of our City Council notices that this is a struggle way too often. It’s an issue between councilors, between the Council and other city staff and board members that we need to work with, and even between the Council and members of the public. When I would watch meetings before I got elected, I was often embarrassed by what I saw. It was a complaint I would often hear from others I spoke to when I ran my first time. I have never expected to agree with everyone all of the time, but I believe the best way for our city government to be most effective is by hearing people out, working to understand where someone is coming from, and finding ways to work together whenever possible. I think this approach has also helped me when trying to find solutions for the concerns that the people I represent bring to me. The best part of the past six years serving on the City Council has been the opportunity to serve people directly, whether it is by filing an order on their behalf, connecting them with city departments, or just being that someone they can vent to. I am running again because our city government has more room to grow and more ways to be effective. More about Councilor Juan Anderson-Burgos
Meg Magrath-Smith is a mother of two, wife, educator, and citizen in full. She is the chair of Holyoke’s Community Preservation Act (CPA) Committee and has also served on Mayor Garcia’s Transition Team, the Green Holyoke Mayoral Advisory Committee, and the City Waste Advisory Committee. In these roles, she has proven her effective and skillful engagement in advancing the interests of the community. Now she is running to represent Ward 7 on Holyoke's City Council. More about Meg Magrath-Smith
Ward 4 School Committee
Dr. Gloria Caballero-Roca has been an academic, educator, researcher, and activist for more than two decades. Cuban-born, raised, and educated in Havana, her global experience throughout her career took her to explore topics on translation, Latin American, Latinx, and Caribbean Studies, Women's and Gender, and Gender and Diversity studies. With two Ph.D.'s, and two MA degrees, her mission in education has been to form sophisticated critical thinkers who can recognize our interdependency and connectedness among ourselves and with Mother Earth. Her publications and international talks focus on the intersectionality of diaspora, anti-imperialism, social justice, and transnational experience.
Dr. Caballero Roca was a 2021 Mayoral Candidate for the City of Holyoke. In 2022 ran for Auditor of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and she is currently running to be the representative of the Ward 4 School Committee. More about Gloria Caballero-Roca
At Large School Committee
I firmly believe that education is the foundation to a community. It is with this in mind I have advocated for Holyoke Public Schools and the children of Holyoke as a member of the school committee for the past 10 years. We must have a strong, stable and quality foundation in order for our community to truly thrive. I am proud to co-chair the School Building Committee with Mayor Garcia, FINALLY, Holyoke is in the process of building a new, state of the art middle school for our students and community to benefit from. Holyoke is one of few communities in the commonwealth to offer Dual-Language education. The developmental benefits of learning in two languages, coupled with the additional benefit of helping ease the transition for our English language learners, this program shows what can be done when you focus on developing educational practices that benefit your specific community. I look forward to continuing to support Holyoke and its students over the next 4 years. More about Erin Brunelle