Legislative Steering Committee Chair Follow-Up Message
Last week’s Outlook event was truly inspiring. The event showcased very clearly the power of using one voice as we advocate on behalf of the members of the Springfield Regional Chamber. The legislative advocacy structure that the Chamber has built is beyond impressive.
In addition to the Legislative Steering Committee (LSC) that I am honored to Chair, the Chamber has four Legislative Subcommittees that focus on areas we know are important to our member businesses. The LSC and its subcommittees meet monthly and review the constant changes to bills as they move through the legislative process. You, our members, determine the bills we watch, and we encourage you always to lend your voice to our efforts.
No issue is more universally important right now than growing our workforce. The Workplace and Workforce Subcommittee will focus on legislation that fosters a healthier workforce by addressing the barriers to employment with a specific focus on diversity, equity, and inclusion and creating opportunities that break the cycle of poverty. We do this by aligning ourselves with statewide efforts such as the MA Business Coalition for Early Childhood Education, knowing that access to quality, affordable childcare is one of the biggest workforce challenges in our region.
Our Budget & Tax Policy Subcommittee closely monitors state revenue numbers, the budget process, and all matters that relate to taxation. In this session, top priorities will be increased local aid, estate tax reform, and monitoring the rollout of the Fair Share Amendment. Additionally, as stipulated in the ballot question, we will advocate for directing these new revenues somewhat and equitably toward transportation and education.
Our Energy, Infrastructure, & the Environment Subcommittee is the watchdog for the reasonable and deliberate move to sustainable energy. We are members of the Massachusetts Coalition for Sustainable Energy, a statewide group of industry professionals who seek to balance the move to renewable energy with the current capacity of our grid and the needs of businesses. This committee will further encourage investment in infrastructure. It will take a deep dive into East-West Rail and what our region needs to do to be prepared to maximize the benefits of this incredible investment in Massachusetts.
Access to quality, affordable, and equitable healthcare is a top priority for our Chamber. Our Healthcare Subcommittee will support legislation that addresses racial, ethnic, socioeconomic, sexual orientation, and gender identity disparities in our region. We will also advocate for additional access to behavioral health services. We will fully support all efforts that assist our exceptional local healthcare providers by increasing their workforce and reducing administrative burdens. We will advocate for fair payment from Medicare, Medicaid, and Commercial Payers.
Outlook gave us our first chance to connect with Governor Healey, Lieutenant Governor Driscoll, and their impressive cabinet. Their message was clear – western Massachusetts matters, and they will be there for us. In turn, the Chamber stands ready to assist its administration with our shared workforce development priorities, health care, tax reform, and transportation.
I am very fortunate to be involved in the critical work that the Springfield Regional Chamber does to benefit you, our members. I look forward to working closely with Diana, whose knowledge and experience will guide our legislative efforts this year and into the future.
Legislative Steering Committee Chair, Springfield Regional Chamber