Mayor Alex B. Morse is the 44th mayor of the city of Holyoke, Massachusetts.
He was born in Holyoke on January 29, 1989, to Tracey and Kim Morse, two lifelong Holyokers who met while they both lived in Whiting Farms. Alex grew up with his two older brothers, Matt and Doug. Their mother ran a daycare center out of their home, and their father worked at a local meat processing plant, where he had worked his way up to the position of transportation manager. Together, they formed a loving, nurturing, working class family, in which Alex learned the values of hard work, perseverance, and commitment to something larger than one’s self.
Alex Morse attended Morgan Elementary School, Peck Middle School, and Holyoke High School. While at Holyoke High School, Alex developed his strengths as a leader, and devoted his energy to public service. He served as president of the citywide youth commission; founded the high school’s first-ever Gay Straight Alliance; helped with the formation of the annual Pride Prom for gay, bisexual, and transgendered students in the region, and was the student representative on the school committee. He went on to graduate from Brown University, becoming the first in his family to graduate from college.
At Brown, Alex studied Urban Studies, and interned for David Cicilline, then the mayor of Providence and now a U.S. congressman. Over summer vacation, Alex ran the youth jobs program at CareerPoint in Holyoke, helping underprivileged youth find employment opportunities and learn skills for future success. He remained deeply involved in the life of his hometown, returning home nearly every weekend, and found ways of applying his experiences in Holyoke to his studies at Brown, and eventually declared his candidacy for mayor of Holyoke.
Since taking office, Mayor Morse’s administration has sought ways for the city government to partner with ordinary citizens who are working for change. Mayor Morse summed up his governing philosophy in his second inaugural address, when he said, “The people who call Holyoke home can feel the sense of possibility in the air. You aren’t waiting for City Hall to act. You’re taking Holyoke’s future into your own hands…Where the city government can further empower our citizens, and bolster this homegrown renewal, it will; where the city government now impedes that renewal, it will get out of the way. We will let Holyoke make Holyoke again.”
On Mayor Morse’s watch, the City has pursued an economic strategy that takes advantage of Holyoke’s unique assets — our renewable energy, our old mill buildings — and rebrands the city for the new century. The mill buildings that once made Holyoke the world’s largest paper manufacturer are enabling Holyoke to become a hub of innovation and creativity. Property rates have gone up, the unemployment rate has gone down, and the City’s emphasis on community policing has led to a drop in the crime rate.
As a result of his administration’s efforts, the national publication Popular Mechanics recently named Holyoke the 6th best “Startup City” in the nation, recognizing our efforts to create a climate for turning innovators into entrepreneurs.
Mayor Morse believes we are strongest when we recognize and celebrate each other’s common humanity, and work together to achieve a shared vision. He believes, through smart governing and the hard work of Holyoke’s people, that Holyoke will be an example to a new generation of American cities.