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Treasurer Grossman tests county waters

Believed to be considering run for governor

GREENFIELD — State Treasurer Steve Grossman was also “almost candidate” Steve Grossman as he visited town this week to take part in groundbreaking ceremonies for a new $66 million high school.

After that event, and then touring Greenfield Community College, Grossman was the focus of an informal reception at another GCC — Greenfield Country Club, where state Sen. Stanley Rosenberg, D-Amherst, introduced him as “Steve Grossman, ABA: all but announced” candidate to succeed Gov. Deval Patrick in 2014.

Grossman, who ran unsuccessfully in the 2002 Democratic primary for governor, hasn’t yet made a decision on whether he’ll seek the office but “is leaning strongly toward running,” according to a close associate, shared with about 40 community leaders his associations with western Massachusetts, some of his accomplishments as treasurer and his optimistic vision for the state’s future.

“Everything that has been achieved to this point, and everything that will be achieved from this point on, it’s all about leadership,” Grossman said. “Everybody knows that putting forward bold, innovative, imaginative ideas is needed to literally get out of the worst recession in 75 years and to craft a bright future, so that young people ... go on to form the nucleus of a 21st-century innovation economy work force.”

Grossman, a former businessman who chaired the state Democratic Party and later the Democratic National Committee, never mentioned his political aspirations at the gathering organized by Greenfield Democratic leader John F. Merrigan, who is Franklin County Register of Probate.

But in what might have been described as an “all-but-stump speech,” he said, “I’m optimistic because of what I’ve seen today, and what I’ve seen on every trip to Greenfield and Franklin County ... because you’re working in partnerships ... you’re working as a team.” He cited the collaboration of Franklin County Technical School, Greenfield Community College and the area business community to update training for metal workers needed at local manufacturers, and he cited the state’s build-out of a middle-mile broadband network.

Grossman pointed to his initiative as treasurer to move $317 million of state funds from foreign banks to 62 local banks in the state, including Greenfield Co-Operative Bank, which has made 44 loans with that money.

“Whether Greenfield is technically considered a ‘gateway community’ or not, because of its population, I think we should consider any small city that is in need of help a ‘gateway-like’ community, and find a way to bring some resources to it, whether it’s Greenfield or Orange-Athol ... The vision for this commonwealth should be, ‘Leave no one behind.’”

Grossman promised to “be back here again and again as much as you want me, as often as you need me, and we’ll be partners every step of the way.”

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