He credits this focus on a new future as the energizing force for his campaign. Facing an incumbent, Alex experienced predictable doubts related to his age and experience. Going door to door to listen to residents’ concerns and promote his optimistic vision, he was able to draw people into his passion, show them his knowledge of the issues, and demonstrate the obvious and contagious pride that he has in Holyoke itself.
In fact, he wears an “I Love Holyoke” button everywhere he goes. An early adopter of Alex’s campaign provided him with the button, which is almost as old as he is, early in the campaign, and he began wearing it at events. “We made this campaign about civic pride…. [E]veryone started asking for them [the buttons], and we ordered a thousand, and they went within a week.” He believes that his love for Holyoke will sustain him as he moves from campaigning to governing. This is not a typical college graduate who wanted to flee home as soon as the opportunity arose. This public school graduate wanted to give back and be part of a new, glorious future.
What’s interesting about this is that it sounds like he was influenced by all those years of Gay Pride, whether he realizes it or not. Which would be interesting if Gay Pride helped a “straight” city find itself again through its a very good version of “straight pride.”