By Jim Giammarinaro
President & CEO of the MetroWest Chamber of Commerce
FRAMINGHAM – The MetroWest Chamber of Commerce is hosting a mayoral forum for the City of Framingham Thursday, October 21 from 7 to 8 p.m.
We hope you will join us on YouTube. You can access the live streaming by copying the following link into your browser: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Uqi4AoVDJvM.
We are very appreciative for our sponsor, the Sheraton Framingham Hotel & Conference Center for hosting the forum.
We are also thankful for our key participants: Mayor Spicer, Candidate Charlie Sisitsky, Jason Palitsch (our Moderator and Executive Director of the 495 Partnership), Dan O’Brien of the MetroWest Daily News and Susan Petroni of the Framingham Source (both asking questions supplied by Chamber members), and our broadcast partners Complete Technology Resources (live streaming) and Access Framingham TV (for rebroadcast).
The candidates will be answering the following questions and be allowed up to 2 minutes for their responses. The may also have up to 30 seconds for rebuttal if they so choose.
If you have any questions regarding the Forum you can contact the Chamber’s President & CEO Jim Giammarinaro at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Mayoral Forum Questions
- 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?
- 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?
- 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?
- 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?
- 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? “
- 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?
- Small businesses are important to the Framingham Metro West 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?
- How will you as Mayor improve Disability Access in the City of Framingham, making sure that there is some change for improving wheelchair access in many buildings as well as having Interpreters available for all Mayor sessions and crisis events?
- Time permitting an optional 9th question from our BOD – Businesses make many considerations in deciding where to locate, including labor, transportation, infrastructure, availability of housing for employees, predictable and permitting environment, and taxes and fees. Framingham’s split tax rate may be seen as an obstacle to attracting and keep businesses. What are your thoughts on the local property taxes businesses pay? As a follow up, do you have other ideas on using property tax incentives to attract good businesses to the area?
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.