As Mayor, 24-year-old Alex B. Morse calls himself the Chief Marketing Officer for the city of Holyoke. Kicking off the eleventh annual Diversity Conference last Thursday evening, he explained, “We needed people with a fresh perspective for the city and someone who was going to mix things up, and that is essentially why I ran for the position.”
The youngest, and first openly gay, mayor of Holyoke, Massachusetts, Morse announced he was running for office as a senior at Brown University. Rather than move to DC, Boston, or New York, Morse said he wanted to, “come home to the city that had given [him] so many opportunities.”
“My family was pretty poor,” said Morse a Holyoke native. Both of his parents grew up in Holyoke and met at Whiting Farms, one of the city’s low-income housing projects. Morse’s mother married his father, at 17, when she became pregnant with the first of Morse’s two older brothers.
A proud product of the Holyoke public school system, Morse recalls high school as being a, “really great time,” but in his sophomore year his confidence started to wane. “There was something about me that I didn’t feel was correct,” he said. In February of that year, when Morse was 16, he came out to his best friend Alexandra. “Once I did that I wanted to stop telling my friends because I didn’t want my parents to find out from a friend or a parent of a friend,” he said. Continue reading