| Danielle Eaton
HOLYOKE – After state Rep. Aaron Vega announced he would not seek reelection earlier in the year, three candidates stepped forward.
David Bartley, Patrick Beaudry, and Patricia Duffy’s names were all on the Democratic ticket on Sept.1 during the Massachusetts State Primary. On the day of the election Duffy, who currently serves as Vega’s legislative aide, emerged the winner, receiving 40.34 percent of the vote. Bartley received 31.55 percent of the vote while Beaudry received 27.92 percent of the vote.
Duffy will go before the voters once more in the Nov. 3 election, however, there is no opponent. She said while it’s possible for someone to “launch a write-in campaign” and defeat her in the November election, it is unlikely. Following the November election, Duffy will be officially sworn-in in January.
Reminder Publishing spoke to Duffy in the days following the primary election. The fact she had won was “still sinking in,” she said.
“A lot of it is gratitude that we put this message out there that’s about bringing the community together, listening to everyone, what my protecting public education,” she said. “I feel like people heard that message and believed that, and it resonated with them.”
She said after her swearing in, she would be following in Vega’s footsteps and assisting in an investigation into the Holyoke Soldiers Home.
“First things first, I’ll be following up and I’m playing some role into the investigation into the Soliders Home,” she said. The investigation into the Holyoke Soldiers Home is the result of 76 veteran COVID-19 deaths, and is seeking answers as to what led to such an outbreak of the virus, and how to prevent such an outbreak from taking place again the future.
Duffy said in her current role as Vega’s aide, she’s assisting in the staffing of the committee, and called the outbreak at the Home a “horrendous breach of trust.” While Vega’s, and ultimately Duffy’s, role on the committee still unknown, she said after being sworn in she would be “following up on any legislative and policy changes” needed at the Home.
When asked about what she was doing to prepare for the role of representative for the 5th Hampden District, Duffy said she wasn’t doing anything too different from outside of her current role. “In many ways my role doesn’t change,” she said.
Duffy said throughout the time working as Vega’s legislative aid,e she had “always treated me as a partner.” She said over the years she had worked with Vega to write legislation, crafted policies and communicated with constituents. However, she said there may be a “slight shift in emphasis” going foward.
“Before we’d look at the calendar and split up meetings,” she said. Duffy said while she may end up accompanying Vega to more meetings, not much will change.
“I’m anticipating a smooth transition,” Duffy said.
When asked about her choice of legislative aide, she said “having someone who is bilingual is a top priority.” However, Duffy said she was in the process of considering and expanding the applicant pool.
And while she expressed gratitude towards constituents for voting her into office, she also expressed gratitude towards her opponents on a passionate, but respectful race. “The politics in Holyoke can get pretty passionate,” she laughed. Duffy said each of them were “passionate” and had varying opinions, but had been respectful toward each other.
She said even after the election results had come in, each candidate had continued “to treat each other with respect.” She added that she’d “had great conversations with them Tuesday night” and said the election had been a great example of respectful civic engagement.
“It doesn’t have to be disagreeable, we can disagree on issues but treat each other with respect,” she said.
Beaudry extended his congratulations to Duffy via a statement on Facebook and said, “Congrats to Pat Duffy on winning a hard fought, but overwhelmingly positive, campaign on the issues to be Holyoke’s next state representative.”
He said while he would not be serving as the district representative, the “failure of this community is simply not an option.” Beaudry said he would “continue to find ways to stay involved and make a positive difference in the lives of my fellow Holyokers.”