“It’s not just a political issue, it’s a business issue.”
That was the overarching theme throughout the remarks made by Speaker of the House Robert DeLeo at the Cambridge Chamber of Commerce’s Government Relations Breakfast. And, it served as a reminder for the nearly 150 attendees representing Cambridge government, educational institutions, the nonprofit sector, and businesses large and small that we need to work together to achieve progress.
The Chamber was honored to be joined by the Speaker of the House for a discussion on the key issues facing the Commonwealth, and Beacon Hill’s efforts to address them. We were very proud, but not surprised, to hear the Speaker offer praise for our City; saying that “Massachusetts is heir to an innovation legacy, much of it centered in and around Cambridge.”
Like Cambridge, Massachusetts has undergone big changes in recent years. The Speaker noted our strong statewide economy since coming out of the recession a decade ago and new industries that have blossomed, like gaming, cannabis and clean energy, the latter—a national model. The broader subject of climate resiliency was also on the Speaker’s mind. He talked about the House’s recently announced $1 billion GreenWorks program, which promises both economic and environmental benefits. Municipalities can apply for GreenWorks grants to fund infrastructure projects focused on combating climate change, enhancing climate resilience, and building the green economy.
The Speaker shared his commitment to promoting better outcomes for all our citizens. He noted that, while graduates of Cambridge’s outstanding colleges and universities are frequently able to find high-quality and high-paying careers without having to leave the City, that’s not the case for others. Making these opportunities accessible to all requires putting children on the path to success early in life. To that end, the Speaker announced that he is seeking an integrated approach to child wellness by expanding the role of the Child Advocate to serve as a liaison between the State’s educational offices and the offices of Health and Human Services. Collaboration helped shape our world-class innovation economy so we applaud the Speaker’s efforts in bringing that approach to child wellness.
Transportation—a challenge we know all too well in Cambridge—was another area of focus. He implored businesses to get creative and generate ideas for improvement that are comprehensive in scope and representation, and offered them a seat at the table, along with advocates and legislators. To that end, the Chamber is planning a transportation forum later this year, giving us an opportunity to convene stakeholders seeking a solution. We are eager to see where this discussion can take us.
These are just some of the topics the Speaker addressed. Those in the room know he also spoke about reigning in health costs, affordable housing and supporting restaurants. For those who missed the event, we invite you to join us for our next Government Relations event on April 24, when I will be talking one-on-one with Congresswoman Katherine Clark. We hope to see you there!
Have feedback on the Chamber’s Government Relations Speaker Series or other programs? We want to hear from you! Please share comments or questions with the Chamber at firstname.lastname@example.org.