Invited to Roundtable Meeting with Gov. Baker

By Changhong Zhang,

Boston, Sept. 21, 2015 — An ethnic media meeting with Governor Charlie Baker was held in the Massachusetts State House this afternoon. The topics of the meeting included community development, diversity in the workforce, energy, and MBTA improvement. More than a dozen of reporters from and other ethnic media outlets attended the meeting.
Gov. Baker at the ethnic media meeting (photos by Changhong Zhang).

In response to the issue of lacking minorities, women, and people of color in the workforce, Gov. Baker pointed his view on engaging certain organizations and playing the role of combined job posting through traditional and social media to reach out and build the network, and expressed his desire of getting the message out.

Concerning community development, Governor Baker listened to the opinions of media representatives and discussed the opioid addiction problem in some Hispanic and Portuguese communities, briefing a $20 million pending fund for the prevention and education of drug addiction, opioid in particular. He also announced a proposal of solving the uneven bus problem by redeploying the traditionally underserved routes and operating small buses in an economically wiser way. He mentioned the public housing renovation awards of $245 million targeting 1,500 units of housing, a $30 million funding for community development, and $45 million initiative to increase the local school capacity and early education in 25 schools from 5 communities for the next 3 years.

“The biggest criterion (to choose those communities) was they demonstrated collaborations between public schools and private early child providers; point No.2 was the involvement on the part of local officials who demonstrated that they had a commitment to this, to make it work, and the third piece was the people who were planning to work with us had good experience and positive track records.” said Gov. Baker.

What Gov. Baker appreciates is the cooperation between the public sector and private investors in developing communities. From the housing renovation program to the local school support, and to increasing the diversity in the workforce, collaboration is all highly claimed.

In response to the concern of the MBTA system for this winter, Gov. Baker optimistically announced that new equipment including snow plows, snow fences, new heaters, and new rails would be installed and more traction motors would be ready for switch for the commuter rail before running a drill starting from October. “We’re far better prepared this winter than last,” said Baker, smiling, “but the proof on that one, we’ll see how we’re doing in February.” But he’s reserved in the prohibiting price of the updating project of the MBTA system, which he revealed as costing up to $3 billion for taking care of 4 miles of the rail, so Baker hopes to figure out a way to reduce the price with an expectation of making the project.
Gov. Baker expressed his appreciation of diverse media outlets at the end of the meeting. He mentioned his desire in building strong relationships with the Chinese American communities in the state and fostering continued development of important economical and cultural exchanges between Massachusetts and China.

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