HOLYOKE, Mass. (WWLP) – We are two weeks before voters head to the polls on November 8th. On Tuesday, the City of Holyoke hosted a debate to provide last minute information on the ballot questions.
The Holyoke Ballot Initiative Forum specifically focused on ballot Question 4, to legalize and tax the sales of recreational marijuana, and Question 2, to allow the state to approve 12 new charter schools every year.
In regards to Question 4, Holyoke Mayor Alex Morse presented information in support, while City Council President Kevin Jourdain spoke out against it.
City Councilor Nelson Roman told 22News, “I think on both sides you’re going to hear from the pro side, how it truly helps individuals with chronic conditions, people who are in need or ill. Again, if someone can go and use alcohol, who is over the age of 21, someone should have that same right. For those who are against (Question 2), higher crime, higher rescindism, those kind of things I think are going to be a clash of ideas.”
In regards to Question 2, supporters said public charter schools will provide children with longer school days and more personal attention. Opponents worry that expanding charter schools will take away much needed resources from traditional public schools.
Organizer Jacqueline Valez said, “They want to lift the cap to add more charter schools, I believe it’s 12, but obviously some people are concerned because they think the number would be higher than that and could continue to take away funds from public schools.”
Residents had the opportunity Tuesday night to listen and ask questions about both sides that were presented. The debate hopes to draw attention to ballot questions that will change the lives of many residents in western Massachusetts.