Hundreds gather for Outlook 2014

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – Improving western Massachusetts business and the economy was the focus at the Mass Mutual Center in Springfield Monday.

Hundreds of people gathered to network and hear something they can use to improve business.

They call it Outlook 2014.

Hundreds of people gathered for the annual event at the Mass Mutual Center to talk about the local economy.

“Quite frankly, with the turmoil in Washington, there’s just so much uncertainty down there. We don’t know how Obamacare or the Affordable Care act effects us. Locally, we don’t know about minimum wage, unpaid sick leave. There’s so much unknown that frankly I think a lot of our members are afraid to move forward,” said Jeff Ciuffreda, Greater Springfield Chambers of Commerce President.

Business representatives joined local, state and federal leaders under one roof to talk about what’s ahead in 2014.

“Certainly this cold weather has put a chill on the housing market and people just aren’t going out to look for homes in this kind of weather, but I think we’ll see a bounce in the Spring,” said Bill Wagner with Chicopee Savings Bank.

FOX News Chief White House Correspondent Ed Henry was the keynote speaker and State Auditor Suzanne Bump talked about the importance of government oversight.

“All of us in government life have an obligation to be good stewards of public resources and services and that is something that sometimes I think we lose sight of,” Bump said.

Attendees said they wanted to hear about policies to improve the economy and were surprised by what they got.

“I find it very interesting that he was calling for peacemaking for us to work together in a respectful way to actually resolve a problem and issues. It was nice to hear that because right now we just hear the conflicts,” said Ann Southworth, President of Cathedral High School.

This event is the area’s largest of its kind and considered to be a “premier” legislative event.

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