Senators’ Listening Tour

There are two forums scheduled for Western Mass., both on Wed. Feb. 4: in Great Barrington from 10 am – 12 noon, and at Holyoke Community College from 6:30 – 8:30 pm. The HCC forum will be held in the Kittredge Center, People’s Bank Conference Room, Room 301. Parking available in Lots D and E.

The speaking protocols are still being developed, but it is my understanding that from 6:30 – 8 pm, testimony will be provided by invited guests representing regional businesses, non-profits, etc., with public testimony scheduled for 8 – 8:30 pm.

Senators expected to participate are:

Senate President Stan Rosenberg
Minority Leader Bruce Tarr (R-Gloucester)
Eric Lesser (D- Longmeadow)
Ben Downing (D-Pittsfield)
Don Humason (R-Westfield)
Jim Welch (D-West Springfield)

Below is a brief article that provides a bit more detail about the entire program:


By Andy Metzger

STATE HOUSE, BOSTON, JAN. 23, 2015….Massachusetts senators can look forward to field trips starting the first week in February and lasting into March.

The first Senate gatherings designed to gather input from around the state for agenda-setting will be held Feb. 4 in Western Massachusetts. The first event will feature forums in Sen. Benjamin Downing’s district and Sen. Donald Humason’s district, as well as visits to local businesses. Sen. Eric Lesser, a freshman Democrat from Longmeadow, will be heading up the first session.

Eight sessions will be held around Massachusetts, and Senate President Stanley Rosenberg, an Amherst Democrat, has encouraged senators to attend the “Commonwealth conversations” outside their own districts.

Sen. Michael Rodrigues, a Westport Democrat, said that at a meeting before the new legislative session he brought up the idea, modeled on statewide economic development forums held in 2003, and said Rosenberg “liked it so much” he tasked Rodrigues with spearheading the effort.

Minority Leader Bruce Tarr and Rosenberg have agreed to attend each of the sessions, according to Rodrigues, who said the state has been divided into eight regions and senators from each of the regions will arrange the logistics and agendas for the forums.

Rodrigues will lead the South Coast conversation, and he said he plans to take senators to the SSTAR substance abuse treatment center on Stanley Street, in Fall River.

Future forums will be led by Sen. Daniel Wolf for the Cape Cod area on Feb. 9, Sen. Harriette Chandler for the Worcester area Feb. 11, Sen. Kenneth Donnelly for the North Shore area Feb. 23, Sen. John Keenan for the South Shore area Feb. 25, Sen. Jamie Eldridge for the Metrowest area March 2, Sen. William Brownsberger for the Boston area March 4, and Rodrigues will lead the South Coast forum on March 11.

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