Legislative listening sessions return Friday


  • Rep. Natalie Blais STAFF FILE PHOTO

Staff Writer
Published: 12/3/2019 10:42:41 PM

SUNDERLAND — Sen. Jo Comerford, Rep. Natalie Blais and a couple of other are legislators will return with the popular monthly Legislative Listening Sessions on Friday.

Representatives Dan Carey (D-Easthampton) and Mindy Domb (D-Amherst) will join Comerford and Blais at Sunderland Public Library from 3:30 to 6:30 p.m. in a session that will focus on economic development in Western Massachusetts. House Chair of the Joint Committee on Economic Development and Emerging Technologies Ann-Margaret Ferrante of Gloucester will join them this month.

The Legislative Listening Sessions are intended to bring Beacon Hill to the Pioneer Valley

“This is democracy in action,” said Comerford. “The first set of listening sessions demonstrated how powerful it is when we listen to constituents together, so in this next series, we’re doubling down, and we believe this will help us be even more effective as a team on behalf of Western Massachusetts.”

Blais said economic development looks different in Western Massachusetts than it does in the eastern part of the state.

​​​​​​“I’m enormously grateful to Chair Ferrante for joining us in a robust discussion about the diverse clusters that fuel our economy,” Blais said.

The session will include scheduled panels exploring the importance of agriculture, the creative economy, manufacturing, public transportation and small businesses.

“I am very excited to continue our listening sessions,” said Carey. “This collaboration with colleagues and community members is invaluable.”

In addition to the scheduled panels, the session includes 30 minutes from 6 to 6:30 p.m. for public comment specifically related to economic development. Comments will be limited to three minutes per person to ensure maximum participation. Those who wish to provide public comment are asked to sign in when they arrive, and comments will be heard on a first-come basis

Early in 2020, the delegation will host the full Joint Committee on Economic Development and Emerging Technologies at the University of Massachusetts Amherst for an Economic Development Bond Bill hearing. The joint committee considers all matters concerning commercial and industrial establishments; casino gambling and gaming; industrial development; the racing industry; science and technology; economic development; retention of science or technology-intensive industries; adoption of existing industries; innovation systems from research to development; computers; information, networking, the Internet, data storage and access; communication; biotechnology; stem cell research medical technology; medical devices; environmental technologies, classroom applications; and workforce technology training and development.

The session on Friday is open to the public.

Reach Anita Fritz at
413-772-0261, ext. 269, or afritz@recorder.com.

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