Herewith the latest from Cos, with which he dramatically increases our previously almost nonexistent western Mass. coverage! -David
Northampton is going to have several contested elections this fall, including apparently a 4-way race for Mayor, but Progressive Democrats of Northampton (a PDM chapter) are all abuzz about Pat Duffy, one of their own, running for Holyoke City Council at-large.
Pat Duffy has been an organizer with the SEIU and a UAW local based in Holyoke. In 2002, she ran for the open state rep seat for the 2nd Hampshire district – Easthampton, Hadley, and South Hadley. In a 4-way primary, she had a surprisingly good showing, only 113 votes short of victory. In 2004, she moved to Holyoke and bought a house, and still seems intent on organizing the poor and immigrant communities there.
Holyoke is a very different place from the nearby 2nd Hampshire, and, perhaps, better suited to a candidate like Duffy. Cross the county line into South Hadley, and you find country roads, rural homes, and Mount Holyoke College – which people often mistakenly think is in Holyoke if they haven’t been there. Holyoke itself is a lot more like Springfield to the south, grittier and more urban, with strip malls and industry. It has a sizeable immigrant population, and like in Boston, they’ve been starting to organize and vote in greater numbers in recent years.
We invited Pat Duffy to the August meeting of Pioneer Valley DFA in Amherst a few weeks ago, and had an elightening and worthwhile hour with her. She was much more interested in taking questions and having a back and forth discussion than in giving a long speech. If you are in Amherst and missed the DFA meeting, you can see her speak on September 14th at a joint meeting with the UMass College Democrats, to which the UMass Dems have invited DFA and the Amherst Democratic Town Committee. John Bonifaz will also be there.
I sense a lot of excitement about Pat Duffy’s campaign among progressives in the valley. Among the people involved in her campaign are Governors Councilor Peter Vickery, his campaign manager Leo Maley, and fellow blogger noho-missives. Once we get past state senate special election mania, this will definitely be one of the municipal elections for Massachusetts progressives to watch this fall.