By Jim Giammarinaro
President & CEO of the MetroWest Chamber of Commerce
FRAMINGHAM – It is more important than ever that politicians work hand in hand with large & small businesses, non-profits, and organizations with leaders from underrepresented populations. The MetroWest Chamber of Commerce has members from all these categories.
The chamber’s primary mission is to support its member organizations to help ensure their success. On October 21st the MetroWest Chamber of Commerce will be holding a Mayoral Forum at the Sheraton Hotel and Conference Center in Framingham from 7-8 p.m. There will be a small in-person audience of chamber Board of Director members. The event will be live streamed through the chamber’s YouTube channel with the assistance of Board of Director member and Chamber IT provider Computer Technology Resources. Access Framingham TV will be filming that evening and will re-broadcast the forum to Framingham residents.
In addition to our candidates, Mayor Spicer and Charlie Sisitsky, Jason Palitsch (Executive Director of the 495 Partnership) will be the moderator. Questions (shown later in this article) will be asked by representatives from the MetroWest Daily News and Susan Petroni Publisher/editor of Framingham Source.
The questions you see below have been provided by chamber members from all categories
of our membership. These questions have been given to our candidates in advance of the
Forum. You will notice a broad range of topics incorporated into the questions.
Where candidates stand on these issues should not only be of interest to chamber members but Framingham residents as well. Our members (some very large) contribute a significant amount of tax revenue to the city which helps to fund services. We want all our organizations to choose not only to remain in Framingham, but to grow here as well. Meeting their needs will help contribute to a good quality of life for Framingham residents. It will also provide job opportunities for residents of the city.
The link to viewing the live streamed version of the event will be on the chamber’s website
(metrowest.org) a couple of days in advance of the forum. We will also provide the link to our
media outlets at that time. If anyone has questions regarding the Forum you can reach out to
the Chamber’s President & CEO Jim Giammarinaro at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Mayoral Forum Questions
1) The devastation of the pandemic has prompted individuals to re-evaluate their
employment with respect to personal health, sense of purpose, quality of life, and the
well-being of their families. Factors such as housing costs, commute time, and general
expenses influence a decision to quit a job and move away, or perhaps not accept a
job. How will your administration ensure the City of Framingham becomes more
affordable and livable, so folks move here and stay here?
2) The pandemic has spotlighted the opportunity and value of remote work for employers
and employees of certain sectors and types of businesses. However, for other sectors
such as hospitality or manufacturing, remote work is not an option. Especially for
advanced manufacturing, the supply of trained and skilled employees was inadequate
before the pandemic. Framingham is home to several well regarded and high
performing post-secondary academic institutions. How will your administration assist
these institutions and manufacturers to develop workforce training and apprenticeship
programs specific to the needs of manufacturing?
3) What steps will you and your team take to assist underserved communities in
Framingham, so they have financial support to secure jobs and affordable housing?
4) Framingham is home to many nonprofit organizations who have continued to provide
many critical services without interruption during the pandemic. Many programs are
struggling to maintain their funding as well as their direct service workers due to
pandemic fatigue. What would you do as Mayor to ensure that these vital services such
as food security, suicide prevention, emergency shelter and substance use programs
remain operational and able to serve Framingham? How would you also recognize the
essential workers that perform these much-needed services every day?
5) Recently, one of the temples in Framingham was vandalized. With an increase in
reported hate crimes across the nation, especially against minority communities
including surging rates of violence and discrimination against Asian-Americans that have
intensified since the pandemic began, what would you do to help residents and business
owners feel safe and heard when they have concerns?
6) Due to the pandemic, the city of Boston is experiencing less activity in the city because
more businesses are having employees work remotely. Do you feel Framingham is
being impacted the same way, and what strategies do you think would help Framingham
keep businesses active in the city?
7) Small businesses are important to the Framingham MetroWest area, and we know they
have been heavily impacted by the pandemic. What are some of your plans to support
small businesses and their growth?
Editor’s Note: SOURCE and the MetroWest Chamber have formed a partnership. The Chamber’s column will run on Tuesdays on the digital news media outlet.