Eric Lesser Hosts Senate Tour in Springfield, Chicopee

Springfield, MA- Kicking off the first in a series of statewide tours, Senators Eric Lesser (D- Longmeadow), Benjamin Downing (D-Pittsfield), James Welch (D-West Springfield), and Donald Humason (R-Westfield) visited local businesses, colleges, and human service agencies across Western Massachusetts, learning first-hand about issues ranging from economic development to substance abuse and open government.

The group was joined on the tour by Senate President Stanley Rosenberg (D-Amherst), Senate Minority Leader Bruce Tarr (R-Gloucester), and Senators Michael Rodrigues (D-Westport), John Keenan (D-Quincy), and William Brownsberger (D-Belmont). Together, the delegation comprised more than one-fifth of the state Senate body.

“This tour comes at an opportune time for Western Mass,” said Senator Eric Lesser. “The Springfield area is undergoing many significant changes, and residents need and deserve a state Senate that is open, transparent, and above all, committed to listening. Today’s discussions mark a strong first step in making sure the State Senate is responsive to the needs of Western Massachusetts.”

The tour started with a stop at the Berkshire South Regional Community Center in Great Barrington for a town hall-style public forum, highlighting key programs and community leaders in Berkshire County. From there, the Senators visited the Western Massachusetts Correctional Alcohol Center in Springfield and received a briefing from Hampden County Sheriff Michael J. Ashe on efforts to combat substance abuse, among other issues. The Senators then traveled to Chicopee for a tour of Hoppe Technologies, a high-tech manufacturing company. The day culminated with a town hall meeting at Holyoke Community College, where residents of Hampshire, Franklin and Hampden Counties shared ideas and asked the Senators questions.

“I would like to thank all of the Senators who attended today’s events and the members of the public who took time out of their day to participate,” said Senate President Stanley Rosenberg.

“This was a fantastic exercise in direct democracy and listening to the concerns of our constituents. These conversations help us craft our agenda and engage the public in the good work that we hope to accomplish this legislative session.”

The Commonwealth Conversations Tour is a series of visits by the State Senate to communities in every region of the state. The goal is for the Senate to better understand the unique needs of each region of the Commonwealth, and to ensure those concerns are reflected in the Senate’s upcoming legislative term.

Each member of the Senate has committed to attending at least two of these sessions outside of their own region, in addition to hosting events in their own community. The tour dates run from February 4 through March 11. All members of the public are encouraged to participate. More information is available at https://malegislature.gov/cc as well as on Twitter at @Ma_Senate.

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