HOLYOKE, Mass. (WWLP) – Local elected officials have released a statement in support of Holyoke Mayor and 1st Congressional District candidate Alex Morse following sexual misconduct allegations brought against him last week.
In a joint statement, Springfield City Council President Justin Hurst, Easthampton City Councilor Owen Zaret, Pittsfield City Councilor Patrick Kavey, and Holyoke City Councilor Libby Hernandez explained why they “have always supported” Morse.
“Political stunts have no place in our politics, and that’s why we have always supported Alex Morse — he is the one who can usher in a new era of leadership in our district because he is focused on the people, not special interests. We need a Congressman who will fight for the interests of working families over those of corporate donors. Alex Morse is that leader.”Justin Hurst, Owen Zaret, Patrick Kavey, Libby Hernandez
Morse is running against Richard Neal, the U.S. Representative for Massachusetts 1st congressional district.
The statement, released Friday afternoon, comes following a report by The Intercept, alleging that the state Democratic Party “had been coordinating with the College Democrats of Massachusetts” to launch the allegations that Morse behaved inappropriately during his time at the University of Massachusetts Amherst.
In a statement sent to 22News, Gus Bickford, Chair of the Massachusetts Democratic Party, denies the party’s involvement in contested primaries. He also says an independent review will be initiated in what led up to the release of the letter by the College Democrats of Massachusetts.
As we have indicated, the Party was made aware of concerns of several members of organizations connected to the Party. We referred the individuals expressing these concerns to an attorney who volunteers as legal counsel to the Party. We absolutely do not get involved in contested primaries, and this race is no different. We are committed to initiating an independent review of the actions and decisions that led to the release of the letter by the College Democrats of Massachusetts. I am confident that this review will show that Party staff acted appropriately.Gus Bickford, Massachusetts Democratic Party Chair
UMass Amherst announced their investigation into the matter on Sunday after the College Democrats of Massachusetts accused Morse of inappropriate sexual relations with college students during his time as a lecturer at UMass Amherst. Those allegations were first reported by the Massachusetts Daily Collegian which is the student-operated newspaper at UMass Amherst.
“It says something about the political culture of our country that this happened in the first place, but I want to reiterate my rejection of these tactics. It’s the reason why I’m running for Congress, and it’s the reason why the people of our district need new leadership. Now that this issue, and the forces behind it, have been brought to light, I’m going to focus on the issues that actually matter to the people of the First Congressional District as we work to defeat Corporate America’s Favorite Democrat.”Alex Morse
Congressman Richard Neal and his campaign have denied any involvement with the accusations.
22News has reached out to the Massachusetts Democratic Party for a statement. We’ll bring you an update when we hear back.