Lieutenant Gov. Karyn Polito visits Westfield for first fundraiser of year

Ali Salehi (left – Columbia Manufacturing) and Nabil Hannoush (right – Shortstop Bar and Grill) speak about business with Lt. Governor Karen Polito (Photo by Lynn Boscher)

WESTFIELD, Mass. (The Westfield News) – Lieutenant Gov. Karyn Polito stopped in Westfield this morning to attend the Baker-Polito administration’s first fundraiser of the New Year.

The fundraiser breakfast was hosted by Nabil Hannoush at his family’s restaurant, the Shortstop Bar and Grille at 99 Springfield Road Westfield. Several local entrepreneurs, politicians and restauranteurs made an appearance at the breakfast, which had suggested donations ranging from $250 to $1,000 a person. Polito’s stop in Westfield was one of two she would be making during her day in western Massachusetts, with the other being in Ludlow for the swearing in of new Hampden County Sheriff Nick Cocchi.

“Part of my reason for being here is to say thank you to all of the businesses across the Commonwealth,” Polito said to the dozen or so attendees. “We are your partner and we are here to support you as you expand business across the Commonwealth.”

She outlined the successes through the first two years of office for her and Gov. Charlie Baker at the event, as her and Baker seek re-election in 2018. This included their work with the state’s legislative body, who Polito said the administration created a partnership with in spite of party differences.

Polito said that the administration wants to prioritize spending to focus on:

  • Children’s education
  • Opiate crisis including appropriate and comprehensive treatment options
  • Issues facing homeless residents of Massachusetts
  • Increasing business and educational ties

“We want to work on connecting and strengthening the bond between education and what businesses we have in the Commonwealth,” Polito said. “We need to fill 100,000 jobs and that won’t happen without the right skills, so we are teaming up with vocational and technological schools throughout the Commonwealth.”

Hannoush said that the idea to host the event came in part because of the backing that the Baker-Polito administration gives to the western portion of the state, particularly businesses.

“I believe in the Baker-Polito administration and wanted to support them because they support Westfield and western Massachusetts–they don’t forget about us,” he said.

Others in attendance for the event included Andy Yee, owner of Hu Ke Lau, Student Prince and other local restaurants; Ali Salehi, president of Columbia Manufacturing in Westfield and Col. Chris Riga, of the US Army’s 7th Special Forces Group and multiple military medal honoree.

A total amount raised from the breakfast was not immediately available.