By Aaron Keebaugh
Hundreds of business owners and elected officials filled the dining room at Casa Lucia, where the Revere Chamber of Commerce hosted a luncheon on Oct. 18.
House Speaker Robert DeLeo, the guest speaker for the luncheon, talked briefly about a number of recent legislative actions and reforms, including topics such as EBT welfare reform. Speaker DeLeo generally stated that the changes made to the state welfare system will continue to make sure that the people truly in need of assistance will be able to draw funds. But those who take advantage of the system will no longer be able to, he said.
The speaker also reported that, due to the new Health Care Cost Containment Bill, cities and towns are saving $175 million in health care costs.
“We are creating jobs. We are cutting costs,” DeLeo said. He continued: “It’s no secret that we’ve found our way through the worst economic recession since the Great Depression. We’re on the right direction. Massachusetts has outclassed other states and its nearest competitors.”
As evidence, he cited Massachusetts’s bond rating, which, at AA+ is the highest in the state’s history, DeLeo said. Furthermore, Massachusetts is one of four states with $1 billion in its stabilization fund, the speaker said.
In addition, the FY 2013 budget allots $9 million for Revere, DeLeo said. He also noted that the legislature put up an additional $10 million for streetscape and traffic improvements—upgrades to Copeland Circle, Routes 145 and 16, and increased access to Route 1.
DeLeo also issued praise for the new Wonderland garage, which he said is “one of the first steps to restoring Wonderland Park to its former beauty.”
The Rizzo administration and state delegation continue to stress Revere Beach as an important center for the city’s economic future. DeLeo opined that such development will bring in new families, more tourism, and, above all, new jobs.
“We’ll need that Wonderland garage if we’re going to have a soccer stadium,” DeLeo said.
The speaker also trumpeted the importance of education, particularly community colleges, in future economic development.
“Students of today are the innovators of tomorrow,” he said. He commended the efforts of Bunker Hill Community College and North Shore Community College for programs that build relationships with other colleges. “We can do more,” DeLeo said, adding that college presidents can push to create relationships with local businesses, as exemplified by North Shore’s training program with the GE plant in Lynn. “After two years,” he said, “community college students will come out and have a job and a degree.”
“We have a lot to be proud of in the city,” DeLeo said in closing. “If you’re going to invest anywhere in Massachusetts, except for Winthrop [he joked], this is the place to be,” he said.
Chamber of Commerce First Vice President Bob Upton presented DeLeo with a Norman Gautreau painting of Revere Beach following the remarks.
Mayor Dan Rizzo announced the upcoming Economic Summit, which is designed to attract national investors to the city.
“Revere is open for business and rife for development,” said the mayor.