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State Senators, Lawrence Community Organizations Gather For Economic Development Roundtable

Mar 27, 2017 11:56AM ● By Theresa Gilman

State Semator Barbara L'Italien

(Editor's Note: the following information was provided by the Office of State Senator Barbara L’Italien).

Lawrence, MA -- State Senator Barbara L’Italien hosted an economic roundtable discussion Tuesday at Lawrence General Hospital, bringing together various organizations from the greater Lawrence with state legislators to reflect on the economic progress of Lawrence as a gateway city, and vision future improvements. The event was part of the Massachusetts Senate Commonwealth Conversations tour.

Derek Mitchell, President of the Lawrence Partnership and Theresa Park, Lawrence City Planning Director, each presented, before the packed room broke out into discussion. Mitchell gave an overview of Lawrence’s economic history – from immigrant mill town to its current manufacturing renaissance – and current economic landscape. He also spoke on the work the Lawrence Partnership (a coalition of local Lawrence businesses, community organizations, and elected officials) is doing to increase upward mobility, encourage small business growth, and create lasting employment opportunities.

Park presented on the housing development, commercial investment, and other work the City of Lawrence is doing to revitalize its economy.

Discussion topics ranged from the business growth sectors in Lawrence providing higher-paying jobs – manufacturing, construction, healthcare, education, culinary arts – to how to support economic growth in a city reliant on government funding for many programs during a period of federal budget cuts. 

“So many of the positive things happening in Lawrence get overlooked in favor of the city’s challenges. We’re very proud of Lawrence – its vibrant culture, hardworking community, and continued economic development,” said Senator L’Italien. “Lawrence is the perfect example of a gateway city on the rise. It felt great to share that with my fellow legislators. I’m excited about the ideas shared yesterday at our successful, productive gathering, and look forward to Lawrence’s constant economic improvement. Positive change happens when people can get around a table like this.” 

Commonwealth Conversations, started in 2015 by Senator Michael Rodrigues (D-Westport), is a section-by-section tour of the state to hear from thousands of constituents about their concerns and ideas at the beginning of the legislative session. 

hosted a days’ worth of events as part of the Senate’s biennial Commonwealth Conversations listening tour.

On Tuesday, the biennial tour had its northeast stop: Four State Senators representing areas of the Merrimack Valley and North Shore Senators held a events in each of their senate districts. Barbara L’Italien (D-Andover), Kathleen O’Connor Ives (D-Newburyport), Eileen Donogue (D-Lowell), and Bruce Tarr (R-Gloucester) hosted, and Senate President Stan Rosenberg (D-Amherst) and Senators Michael Rodrigues, Jamie Eldridge (D-Acton), Mike Barrett (D-Lexington), John Keenan (D-Quincy), Jason Lewis (D-Winchester), Sal DiDomenico (D-Everett), and Marc Pacheco (D-Taunton) joined the days’ events.

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