In 2003 my husband, Damian Cote, and I bought our home at 25 Reservation Rd., and began setting our roots in Holyoke. Together, we restored a gutted, old house into a completely renovated two-family home with flourishing fruit trees and berry bushes. We did much of the work ourselves and take great pride in the transformation of that run-down house into the beautiful refuge we call our home. Ten years later, Damian and I welcomed our son, Lucien, into our lives and we have never been happier.
I grew up on Long Island, NY and moved to the Pioneer Valley in 2002 to work for the citizens’ lobby group Clean Water Action. As a community organizer and policy advocate, I worked hard to protect the environment and public health. I taught citizens how to talk with their elected officials about issues facing their communities and how to navigate the political process.
Since moving to Holyoke, I’ve been an active member of the community. I’ve participated in community organizations including the Holyoke YMCA, the Holyoke Youth Task Force, and Nueva Esperanza. I also founded C.R.U.S.H (Citizens for the Revitalization and Urban Success of Holyoke) whose mission was to create positive change in Holyoke by facilitating connections between people, resources, and ideas.
I have served the Holyoke community as a City Councilor at-Large since 2008 and as Chairwoman of the Ordinance Committee for the past 4 years. In my 2005 run for office, I was the first of the recent wave of young, new faces taking an interest and getting involved in Holyoke politics. I brought to that initial run a vision of a revitalized downtown and was instrumental in turning the public discourse toward themes of downtown economic development, historic preservation, and neighborhood revitalization. This vision has gained traction since I joined the Council, with the passage of key ordinances such as the city’s Smart Growth Overlay Zone; the Center City Urban Renewal Plan; revisions to the City’s Demolition Delay Ordinance; and providing more robust tax incentives with 25-year Tax Increment Financing for businesses locating downtown.
As Chair of the Ordinance Committee, I’ve made the political process more efficient and productive. The Council has made significant progress on a number of complicated and controversial policy matters that must pass through the Ordinance Committee. Still, many residents have noted that I moderate the public hearing process in a very professional manner where public speakers- on all sides of the issue- feel comfortable and respected when making their voices heard.
I am also a Ph.D. Candidate in Political Science at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. My research interests include political campaigns and urban politics. I am currently writing my dissertation and teaching classes in American Politics and Public Policy at UMass while I earn my degree.
I am happy serving the Holyoke community as a City Councilor at-Large and believe that I bring an informed and principled perspective to the decisions made by the City Council.