Legislative listening session focuses on development 

  • Rep. Jo Comerford. PAUL FRANZ

  • Rep. Natalie Blais

Staff Writer
Published: 12/3/2019 11:35:38 PM

SUNDERLAND — State Sen. Jo Comerford, state Rep. Natalie Blais, D-Franklin, and a couple of other legislators from the area will return with the popular monthly legislative listening sessions on Friday. 

Reps. 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. State Rep. Ann-Margaret Ferrante, D-Gloucester and House chair of the Joint Committee on Economic Development and Emerging Technologies, will join them this month.

The legislative listening sessions are intended to bring Beacon Hill to the Pioneer Valley.

“This is democracy in action,” Comerford said. “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,” Carey said. “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.

The session Friday is open to the public. 

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

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