The 5th Hampden District is comprised entirely of the City of Holyoke.

The City of Holyoke is one of the first planned industrial cities in the world. A 57-foot drop in the Connecticut River proved to be an ideal location for capturing the power of the River when investors dammed the River in mid 1800s. The power from this dam fed reliable and inexpensive power through a network of canals to immense complexes of mill buildings.

The resulting combination of inexpensive power, reliable transportation and a steady influx of workers allowed Holyoke to become the global center of paper production. For more than a century, the City’s economic center was tightly linked with the Connecticut River, as can be observed in the City’s historical manufacturing core. The Connecticut River and Mount Tom/East Mountain range frame Holyoke, which can be found midway between the Vermont and Connecticut state borders.

The City is the third largest community in the Greater Springfield Metropolitan Statistical Area, after Springfield itself and Chicopee. Holyoke is on the west bank of the Connecticut River, with South Hadley and Chicopee across the river to the east and Easthampton, Southampton, and Westfield on the City’s western boundary, and West Springfield on the City’s southern border. With its topographically and naturally defined borders, Holyoke exists as geographically distinct community. Holyoke is a densely populated city of 22.44 square miles (14,367 acres).

Most of its 39,880 residents live east of Mount Tom, in the historical urban, industrial, and commercial portion of the City. In contrast to the urban core, West Holyoke, located on the west side of East Mountain, is a small, mostly rural/ agricultural section of the City. In addition to its considerable Connecticut River frontage and the dam, Holyoke has two other major regional environmental resources: Mount Tom and the Barnes Aquifer. Mount Tom and its southerly extension, East Mountain, create the western half of the striking mountain range that bisects Massachusetts’ Connecticut River Valley; the Holyoke Range is their eastern side counterpart.

Today, Holyoke strongly reflects its industrial and cultural history, with many of the mills and associated housing still standing in and near the downtown. The City still follows, in large part, the original plan proposed by the developers of the City. More recent development has filled in much of the area between the downtown and the mountains, leaving the City with a dense urban Core and a less densely developed mountain range and western half of the City.

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Proud to stand with my colleagues against hate.

Legislature Formally Condemns Neo-Nazi and White Supremacist Groups

Joins the Baker Administration in pledging to promote equality, justice and tolerance

(BOSTON) – Rep Vega of Holyoke joined his colleagues in the Massachusetts Legislature to support a resolution that unequivocally denounces white nationalism and neo-Nazism, and condemns the hatred, bigotry and violence these groups consistently espouse. The resolution will be transmitted to the Mayor of Charlottesville, Governor of Virginia and President of the United States.

In highlighting Massachusetts’ historic role in promoting civil rights and justice, the resolution emphasized that the values of these groups stand in irreconcilable conflict with the founding principles of both the Commonwealth and the nation.

“I’m proud to sign this joint resolution on behalf of the House to clearly and unambiguously condemn neo-Nazi and white supremacist groups at work in Charlottesville,” said Speaker DeLeo. “I’m grateful to Leader Rushing, Chairwoman Benson and the members of the House for pushing for this important action. Massachusetts residents can be reassured that on matters like this, Governor Baker, Senate President Rosenberg and I, and our respective institutions, stand shoulder to shoulder in opposing violent hatred and intolerance.”

“I am proud that the Commonwealth came together to denounce the violence in Charlottesville and condemn the hateful ideologies of white supremacists and neo-Nazis,” said Chairwoman Jennifer Benson (D-Lunenburg). “I was honored to propose this resolution, and I thank Speaker DeLeo, Senate President Rosenberg and Governor Baker for their leadership on this issue.”

“It is so important that the citizens and residents of Massachusetts know that their government condemns the detestable messages of hate that are abroad in this our nation,” said Assistant Majority Leader Byron Rushing (D-Boston). “The tragic events that took place on August 11 and 12, 2017, in Charlottesville, remind us again that what we take for granted and what we work together to attain, is a threat to the narrow ideology of too many. We adopted these words today and heard them read by our leaders. Now, I hope, as many as possible will read them and find ways, where they live and work, to strongly denounce and oppose the totalitarian impulses, violence, xenophobic biases, and bigoted ideologies.”

Following the signing of the resolution, legislators joined Governor Baker and Lt. Governor Polito in a moment of silence for the Charlottesville victims. The legislation, which was filed in the wake of the Charlottesville tragedy, states that “intolerance has led to senseless acts of violence that continue to terrorize members of ethnic and religious communities.” It urges law enforcement agencies and elected officials to condemn white nationalist and neo-Nazi ideology, vigorously pursue justice in response to hate-fueled violence and work to ensure the protection of marginalized and targeted communities.

ADDRESSING NEO-NAZI AND WHITE NATIONALIST HATE ORGANIZATIONS

WHEREAS, white nationalist organizations in our country have consistently promoted values that are overtly racist, anti-Semitic, and anti-immigrant, and these poisonous ideologies continue to promote hatred, bigotry, and violence specifically against individuals solely on the basis of their race, ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation, and immigration status; and

WHEREAS, today, white nationalism and neo-Nazism remain very real threats to the values for which the Commonwealth stands, and their reinvention as the “Alt-Right,” should not mitigate their hateful ideologies; and

WHEREAS, while free speech is a bedrock value for the citizens in our Commonwealth and Country, white nationalist and neo-Nazi groups promote a message that is the antithesis of Massachusetts’ dedication to civil rights for all, and is in irreconcilable conflict with our foundational principles of liberty and justice for all; and

WHEREAS, white nationalism and neo-Nazism are continuing to grow as menaces to societal order as they seek to reignite social animosities, reverse improvements in race relations, divide the nation, and foment hatred, classism, and ethnic eradication; and

WHEREAS, the white nationalist and neo-Nazi message of racial and social intolerance has led to senseless acts of violence that continue to terrorize members of ethnic and religious communities; Now, therefore, be it

RESOLVED, that we strongly denounce and oppose the totalitarian impulses, violence, xenophobic biases, and bigoted ideologies that are promoted by white nationalists and neo-Nazis; and be it further

RESOLVED, that we urge law enforcement agencies and elected officials at every level of government to condemn white nationalist and neo-Nazi ideology, to vigorously pursue justice in response to hate-fueled violence and work to ensure the protection of the marginalized and targeted communities.

RESOLVED, that copies of this resolution be transmitted to the Mayor of Charlottesville, Governor of Virginia and President of the United States.
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