The following is a press release
Gov. Charlie Baker and Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito will be among the featured speakers during the Massachusetts Municipal Association’s 42nd Annual Meeting & Trade Show on Jan. 21 and 22, 2021.
Both state leaders are former local officials who have had particularly high profiles during the ongoing COVID-19 state of emergency. Polito has held nearly 30 regularly scheduled briefings with municipal CEOs since the pandemic began in March, and Baker has had a number of conference calls with local leaders.
Gov. Baker has been a frequent speaker at MMA Annual Meetings since he first took office in 2015, often offering a preview of his state budget plan, which this year is due on Jan. 27. He will be the featured speaker at the MMA Annual Business Meeting on Jan. 22 at 1 p.m.
Lt. Gov. Polito will give opening remarks on Jan. 21, when she plans to announce a new state initiative to assist cities and towns.
Baker’s “get stuff done,” bipartisan approach to state government has made him one of the country’s most popular governors. Before he became governor, he was CEO of Harvard Pilgrim Health Care for 10 years, where he turned a company on the brink of bankruptcy into the nation’s highest-ranked health care provider for member satisfaction and clinical effectiveness for six straight years.
He served as undersecretary and then secretary of Health and Human Services under Gov. Bill Weld in the early 1990s and later served as secretary of Administration and Finance under Weld and his successor, Gov. Paul Cellucci. He served as a selectman in Swampscott from 2004 through 2007.
Polito is a former Shrewsbury selectman and state representative who has addressed local officials at every MMA Annual Meeting since she took office in 2015. She serves as the administration’s liaison to municipalities and typically presides over meetings of the Local Government Advisory Commission to discuss the intersections of state and local government. She has famously visited all 351 cities and towns as lieutenant governor and has developed close relationships with the MMA and with mayors, town administrators and managers, and other municipal officials.
Polito chairs the Community Compact Cabinet, which has signed agreements with every city and town to partner with state government on more than 800 smarter ways to deliver services. She has worked closely with local officials to encourage housing production through the Housing Choice Initiative, improve public ways through the Complete Streets program, and invest in projects to address climate change through the Municipal Vulnerability Preparedness program.
A lifelong resident of Shrewsbury, she has served as a Town Meeting member (1993-2000), a member of the Zoning Board of Appeals (1994-1995), and a selectman (1995-1998). She was the commissioner of the Massachusetts Lottery from 1999 to 2000, and in 2001 was elected state representative for the 11th Worcester District (Shrewsbury and Westborough), serving five terms.
In addition to Baker and Polito, featured Annual Meeting speakers are bestselling author and Robin Hood Foundation CEO Wes Moore, Framingham Mayor Yvonne Spicer (interviewed by the Rev. Liz Walker), and diversity and bias expert and author Risha Grant.