Chicopee is among the first planned industrial communities in the United States. A group of wealthy merchants established the Chicopee Mills, which were so profitable that the investors built an elaborate complex of mills, housing and canals. These factory complexes evolved into the City of Holyoke. While many of the historic mills and industries are now gone, many 19th century churches, as well as the home of Edward Bellamy, the famous visionary who wrote the influential novel Looking Backward, have been maintained

Today, Chicopee is a thriving commercial, residential and industrial center. It is located at the “Crossroads of New England,” the intersection of Interstate 91 and the the Massachusetts Turnpike.

It is home to the Westover Industrial Airparks, developed through a partnership with the Department of Defense following the deactivation of Westover Air Force Base. The Westover Metropolitan Airport, adjacent to the industrial parks, offers private passenger and cargo service, including full customs clearance. Westover is also home to an active Air Force Reserve Base. It is estimated that the Air Reserve Base, now one of the home bases for the Galaxy C-5A cargo planes, contributed $179 million in FY05 to the region’s economy. The base is home to the 439th Airlift Wing unit, which carries out airlifts in support of humanitarian and military missions. Chicopee is also headquarters for Spalding Sports Worldwide and home to one of the largest printing plants of Wall Street Journal (Dow Jones & Co.) publisher.

Senator Lesser Represents Ward 1, Ward 5, Ward 6, Ward 8B, and Ward 9B.