Senator Lesser, Rep. Wagner Bring State House Hearing to Springfield

Economic Development committee held a hearing on several bills sponsored by local officials at STCC

SPRINGFIELD — Senator Eric P. Lesser and Representative Joseph F. Wagner brought the State House to Springfield, in a sense, when they held a public hearing of the Joint Committee on Economic Development and Emerging Technologies, which they chair, at Springfield Technical Community College (STCC) on Tuesday.

The committee heard testimony on bills that could impact the state’s economy, including several introduced by Western Massachusetts Reps. Brian Ashe, Bud Williams and Carlos Gonzalez, and Sen. James Welch.

In a rare occurrence, both the Senate and House chairmen of this high-stakes economic committee represent parts of Western Massachusetts, a region of the state that is often neglected by Beacon Hill for funding and investment.

“We thought it was important to have this hearing in Western Mass so that those proposing laws directly affecting our communities could actually see the impact they would have,” said Sen. Lesser.

“As we examine matters pending before the committee, we’ve made it a priority to ensure Western Massachusetts residents have the opportunity to weigh in as we move through the committee process,” said Rep. Wagner.

Rick Sullivan, President and CEO of the Western Massachusetts Economic Development Council gave an overview of the economic development happening in the region.

Sullivan, the former mayor of Westfield, discussed MGM Springfield, the casino and resort complex that is expected to open in fall 2018, as well as ongoing construction on the Interstate 91 viaduct and the CRRC railcar plant in East Springfield.

Michael Suzor, Assistant to the President of STCC, also testified on the programming STCC is pioneering in emerging technologies, specifically in high-tech precision manufacturing.

Rep. Williams testified on his bill to establish a Western Mass sustainable development commission.

Rep. Gonzalez testified on his bill to develop a microlending program to small businesses in inner cities.

The hearing was held in Scibelli Hall on STCC’s historic campus.

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