By John Lynds
Last Thursday morning at Spinelli’s in Day Square, Governor Charlie Baker addressed members of the East Boston Chamber of Commerce and updated the community on some of the initiatives his administration is doing to improve life in Eastie and the Commonwealth through supporting education, infrastructure and small businesses.
Baker said small businesses account for close to half of the state’s employment and his administration will continue to advance local small business partnerships to advance the economy. He also welcomes the opportunity to engage small businesses and get ideas that drive new growth and job creation in Eastie and throughout the state.
“I really appreciate the relationship my administration has had with the city and the folks on this side of the harbor,” said Baker. “In East Boston we’ve done a lot of good stuff together and we want to continue to build on the success. There is no question that East Boston is on a roll and anybody who has spent any time here knows that. All you have to do is drive around and you’ll see all the wonderful things that are going on around here.”
However, Baker wants every city and town in the Commonwealth to be ‘on a roll’ and said it relates to a few things.
“Our fundamental core objective is to provide people with opportunity and the chance to be whatever they want to be and from our point of view that boils down to a few things you have to have,” he said. “You have to great schools and great education, you have to have strong communities, you have to have strong local economies and you have to have a government that works.”
Baker said that his administration recently made the single biggest appropriation for K through 12 education in the state’s history.
“In the end it will be a $300 million increase,” said Baker. “We’ve made direct investments in state vocational and technical schools so they can expand their programs or create new programs that are important to employers. These investments have turned out to be enormously successful, double and triple enrollment and 100 percent of graduates are being hired out of school.”
Baker said these state dollars are going directly to training programs that lead to jobs so people can build a life and opportunity he thinks everyone deserves in the Commonwealth. This, he said, leads directly to stronger communities and better local economies.
Baker added that as a former Selectmen, he believes in the power and strength of local government.
“The state should be acting as a partner and not as a problem for local governments,” said Baker. “By having people on our team that have done these local government jobs, like Jay Ash, the former Chelsea City Manager, I think we bring a different perspective of what it means to build relationships and create economic and other opportunities for cities and towns. We are focused on helping local governments do the things they think should be done rather than focusing on what we think should be done.”