Showcasing Cape Ann

Last month, Governor Baker brought his cabinet to Cape Ann, giving our communities the opportunity to showcase local initiatives, highlight areas of concern, and discuss state investments.

Senator Bruce Tarr and I started off the day by joining Secretary of Education James Peyser and Secretary of Labor and Workforce Development Rosalin Acosta at Gloucester High School to have a look at some of our innovative education initiatives on Cape Ann. We toured the biology, robotics, engineering, 3D printing, and advanced manufacturing classrooms. These classes, which have been made possible by state grants and private partnerships, give our students a preview of emerging and important fields and provide an opportunity to identify areas of interest prior to entering college or the workforce. I was especially impressed by the students in the robotics class, who gave an insightful presentation of the projects they are working on and the knowledge they have used from other subjects in class.

At Gloucester City Hall, Governor Baker, Lieutenant Governor Polito, and members of the cabinet gathered to listen to local officials and community members. Gloucester Health Department Director Karin Carroll spoke about health outreach programs to local youth, including combating youth vaping. Michele May and Andrea Bodnar of the Gloucester Marine Genomics Institute gave a presentation about the research they are conducting and their wildly successful education initiative at the Gloucester Biotechnology Academy. It was later announced that GMGI had been awarded a $174,000 capital grant from the Massachusetts Life Sciences Center to build and equip a state-of-the-art cell culture laboratory.

Later in the day, we joined Secretary of Energy and Environmental Affairs Matthew Beaton and other administration officials in Rockport to view improvements at the drinking and wastewater treatment plants funded by state grants. Rockport has been awarded more than $161,000 in Gap Funding Program grants, allowing the town to make investments that will not only save money, but also reduce energy use by 46 percent and reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 197 metric tons every year.

Returning to Gloucester City Hall, we joined a meeting with Secretary of Health and Human Services Marylou Sudders for a meeting on adolescent mental health issues. Gloucester Mayor Sefatia Romeo Theken organized the meeting as all of us on Cape Ann have made a priority of providing mental health services to children and adolescents. Many of us have concerns that the availability of services is currently inadequate.

I am glad that we had this chance to showcase Cape Ann’s innovative thinking, investments in the future, and sense of community to Governor Baker, Lieutenant Governor Polito, and members of the administration.