WEST SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – Business leaders from Agawam and West Springfield gathered Wednesday morning to hear from local legislators and mayors.
Wednesday morning, the West of the River Chamber brought together big and small businesses in the region along with political leaders. Together, they discussed the business climate here in western Massachusetts.
One of the state’s biggest employers, the Eastern States Exposition, was at the legislative breakfast this morning. They are hoping to remind state legislators how important tourism is in the state’s budget.
“The Eastern States brings in, 1.5 million people at the fair and probably 1.2 for non-fair events. Funding for tourism is very important, and as of late, there’s been some serious 9C cuts from the governor’s office, which have really subtracted from our ability in the region to publicize western Mass, Pioneer Valley and greater Springfield,” said Eastern States Exposition President Gene Cassidy.”
The West of the River Chamber held a legislative breakfast at the Springfield Country Club. The breakfast offers a chance for those in local business to get the inside scoop on issues that affect them, from the minimum wage to health insurance and economic development spending.
State Senator Don Humason (R-Westfield) told 22News that supporting local tourism is important for western Massachusetts. “People travel from all over the Northeast to come to Massachusetts, particularly western Massachusetts for the Big E, and of course all summer long into the fall for Six Flags and there are a million other small other tourist destinations here. What we do in Boston, hopefully, is try to look out for those industries, look out for those businesses and hopefully tourism in general because it is one of the number one businesses, actually top three in the entire Commonwealth,” Humason said.
Also participating in Wednesday’s forum were Sen. Jim Welch (D-West Springfield), Rep. Nick Boldyga (R-Southwick), and Rep. Mike Finn (D-West Springfield), as well as Agawam Mayor Richard Cohen and West Springfield Mayor Will Reichelt. The event was emceed by Springfield political consultant Tony Cignoli.