July 12, 2021
HOLYOKE — Campaign donors in Holyoke have declared that the mayoral candidate they support is Rebecca Lisi.
And it’s not even close.
Lisi, a city councilor at large, has raised $31,985 in her campaign for mayor — with 85 percent supplied by Holyoke donors.
That’s a show of local support unmatched by other candidates, including some who are Holyoke natives.
“I am incredibly grateful for the supportive relationships that I’ve developed with the people of Holyoke over the years,” said Lisi. “They have witnessed how hard I fight to improve everyone’s quality of life in our city. That will continue when I’m mayor. I appreciate all of their help.”
Lisi, 42, a native of Long Island, New York, has lived in Holyoke since 2004. She is a 14-year member of the Holyoke City Council.
The Massachusetts Office of Campaign and Political Finance (OCPF) posted candidates’ financial disclosure forms for the first six months of 2021. In terms of cash, 85 percent, or $27,176 of Lisi’s total, came from Holyoke donors.
The money Lisi raised from Jan. 1 to June 30, 2021 included $8,206 carried over from 2020.
Of the 291 individual donations for the period consisting of the past 18 months, 162 of the donations to Lisi, or 56 percent, were from Holyoke.
Thirty-seven of Lisi’s 217 donations for the first six months of this year were from out of state. Those 37 donations account for nearly 18 percent, or $5,645, of Lisi’s campaign intake for the first six months of 2021.
Holyoke donors’ devotion to Lisi comes at a curious time for mayoral candidate Mike Sullivan.
A city councilor at large, Sullivan has called for a prohibition on candidates accepting campaign donations from out-of-region individuals and companies.
Never mind that Sullivan himself has been accepting money from out-of-state donors not only in this campaign, but going back to his first run for City Council in 2015, Lisi said.
State records show that from Jan. 1 to June 30 of this year, Sullivan raised $55,277, including $13,754 from his 2020 fund-raising.
Of the total of 134 individual donations Sullivan received in 2020 and up to June 30 of this year, nearly 43 percent of that total of donations came outside Holyoke — which clashes with his call for local funding of campaigns.
In terms of cash, Holyoke donations accounted for only 42 percent, or $23,040, of Sullivan’s $55,277.
That means 58 percent, or $32,237, is money Sullivan has taken from outside-Holyoke donors while preaching the opposite.
The point is clear: Sullivan continues to accept thousands of dollars in campaign cash from donors outside Holyoke — while calling on other candidates to reject “money from outside our region, and if they have taken these contributions to either return them or donate them to local charities.”
Sullivan said accepting money from non-Holyoke entities risks relegating city leaders to being pawns of such interests.
What era does Sullivan live in?
Holyoke voters are too smart to fall for Sullivan’s gimmick of “Do as I say, not as I do.”
Lisi said the reality of 2021 is that Holyoke is not embracing isolationism and, in fact, understands that advancing its position involves the welcoming of partners, whatever their address, who share The Paper City’s goals and values.
No one in their right mind favors the prospect of Holyoke “going it alone.” Not when technology has made the world more accessible than ever and more in competition with other cities and towns for jobs and tax revenue.
The stay-local-exhorting Sullivan must be aghast at the campaign finance report of William “Billy” Glidden, a Holyoke native running for mayor. Glidden has accepted campaign money from donors from 26 states, Washington D.C., Kyoto, Japan and Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam.
From Feb. 5 to June 30, 2021, Glidden raised $31,929. Of the 262 individual donations Glidden received, 141, or 54 percent, came from outside Massachusetts.
Only $5,585 of what Glidden has raised, or 17 percent of his total, came from Holyoke donors.
Mayoral candidate Devin Sheehan, also a Holyoke native, raised $22,813 from Jan. 11 to June 29, 2021. That total includes $8,268 from previous fund-raising efforts.
Just 56, or 36 percent, of Sheehan’s 154 individual donations came from Holyoke in 2021.
About 56 percent of Sheehan’s cash, or $12,853, came from Holyoke donors.
All of which means that not only has Lisi out-raised the prohibition-preaching Sullivan in Holyoke donations, she also has outpaced Holyoke natives Glidden and Sheehan here in Holyoke.
Lisi has been chairwoman of the Ordinance Committee, the City Council’s busiest committee, for most of her time on the board.
The four pillars of Lisi’s campaign for mayor are education, economic development, being welcoming to newcomers and civic engagement.
Voters will narrow the field of candidates for mayor to the top two vote-getters in the preliminary election Sept. 21. Those two will compete for mayor on Election Day Nov. 2.
Vote for Lisi!