HOLYOKE, Mass. (WWLP) – Legislators who are part of the Gateway City Caucus continued their tour on Monday across the state traveling to cities in the Pioneer Valley.
22News met up with them in Holyoke to learn about the challenges Gateway Cities face, especially during the pandemic. Cities and town across the state continue to deal with many challenges brought on by the pandemic, and Monday, members of the Gateway Cities Legislative Caucus stopped in Holyoke.
These lawmakers gain insight into the specific economic development issues in gateway cities across the state, Holyoke being one of them. Gateway cities are often neglected areas that have a unique set of social and economic challenges, such as low income or a lack of affordable housing. Many of the issues Holyoke faces were addressed on Monday.
“There’s a lot of challenges in the city so to have the gateway caucus come here and we can talk about Holyoke and put them on the map to really let them know western Massachusetts has a voice so they can see first hand and I think it’s great that they put Holyoke on the map,” said Massachusetts State Senator John Velis.
“We have a depressed real estate market here so when we want to bring in the developers, the cost that they have to pay costs are the same everywhere and it takes them longer to get the payback on their investments and so we have tools that we want to strengthen together as a caucus,” said State Representative Pat Duffy.
Senator Eric Lesser who is the co-chair of the caucus also spoke about the challenges our state faces including his fight for the east-west rail project. Aside from Holyoke, the caucus also visited Springfield and Chicopee.