The Massachusetts State Senate released its “Commonwealth Conversations 2017 Report,” available online at https://MALegislature.gov/CC. Commonwealth Conversations, not to be confused with Senator Jason Lewis’ local Community Conversations series of issue discussions, was a statewide listening tour, giving the Senate the opportunity to meet with local residents, businesses, and interest groups in every corner of the state to hear their concerns on the issues of every resident.
Thousands of residents attended public town hall forums across the state, and advocated for issues ranging from combatting climate change, healthcare, housing, and ensuring a more equitable transportation system. The report aggregates testimony from the town halls into legislative priorities, and also reflects information gathered from meetings and stops throughout each day of the tour.
Senator Jason Lewis was very pleased to welcome members of the Senate to Malden for a discussion about local economic development, followed by a walking tour of downtown Malden. The Senators were joined by municipal officials from our region, including Malden Mayor Gary Christenson, who shared with the Senate delegation Malden’s redevelopment successes, as well as challenges faced and insight on how state government can improve its partnerships with communities in the area of local economic development.
“Through the Commonwealth Conversations tour, my colleagues and I were able to further our effort to make our government more responsive and accessible to residents across the Commonwealth,” said Senator Jason Lewis. “I was able to deepen my understanding of challenges faced by families and businesses across the state, and I was thrilled to bring my colleagues to our corner of Massachusetts to hear directly from my constituents.”
In 2015, the Massachusetts Senate embarked on the initial Commonwealth Conversations Tour of eight day-long tour stops around the Commonwealth to hear directly from residents about their concerns and issues important to them. Rather than sitting in conference rooms stuffed with special interests, we went to where people really talk about these matters — school auditoriums and town halls, substance abuse centers, and small businesses. The 2015-2016 legislative session concluded with a number of measures passed by the Senate as a result of the feedback from residents during the tour.