Baker-Polito Administration Announces First MassWorks 2015 Award in Worcester

MassWorks funding will support the redevelopment of CitySquare and Quinsigamond Avenue

November 2015

The Baker-Polito administration announced $3 million in MassWorks funding for Worcester, the first 2015 MassWorks Infrastructure Program Award announced. The City was awarded two grants to support the redevelopment of CitySquare: $2 million will help fund Quinsigamond Avenue’s reconstruction to improve interstate accessibly and, $1 million will directly support the ongoing CitySquare redevelopment project. Funding for CitySquare builds on previous MassWorks contributions and leverages $70 million in private investments, along with University of Massachusetts Memorial Health Care’s consolidation, to help revitalize CitySquare’s Front+Center section

“Partnering with cities and towns to make community-guided investments in economic development is key to Massachusetts’ continued growth,” said Governor Charlie Baker. “Identifying promising opportunities in cities and towns across Massachusetts, and ensuring that investments are guided by the host community, will help produce cost-effective and sustainable growth, while providing communities with a foundation for future development.”

“Worcester’s innovative City Square project provides a model for how public-private partnerships that invest in infrastructure can effectively drive economic development in Massachusetts,” said Lieutenant Governor Karyn Polito. “I look forward to continued partnerships with Worcester’s businesses and community leaders as we work to realize economic and community growth.”;

During the weeks of October 26th and November 2nd, the Baker-Polito administration will hold a series of announcements across the Commonwealth to highlight the 2015 MassWorks Infrastructure Program grant awards. MassWorks targeted investments in infrastructure, such as roadways, streetscapes, and water systems, are part of the Administration’s commitment to advance and prepare communities for new housing and economic development opportunities.

"Targeting additional capital investment to economic development programs was a priority for the Baker-Polito Administration's first capital budget,” said Secretary for Administration and Finance, Kristen Lepore. “The 40% increase in MassWorks funding will allow the program to make critical investments across the Commonwealth, including many important local projects orchestrated by the Community Compact Program."

“The effective partnerships and investments supported by MassWorks help municipalities create jobs, meet local housing needs, and drive smart economic development projects forward,” said Housing and Economic Development Secretary Jay Ash. “MassWorks remains a vital part of our efforts to prepare communities to succeed in a globally competitive economy.”;

“Infrastructure funding helps unlock community potential and build on unique local assets,” said Assistant Secretary for Communities and Programs Juan Vega. “MassWorks, along with the administration’s Urban Agenda and Community Compacts, offer municipalities the opportunity for locally-directed development, without the constraints of a one-size-fits-all grant.”;

The MassWorks Infrastructure Program provides a one stop shop for municipalities and other eligible public entities seeking public infrastructure funding to support housing production, economic development, and job creation through strategic investments in public infrastructure. The 2015 grant round generated 101 applications for more than $245 million, and will distribute $85.6 million in funding for infrastructure projects with a focus on multi-family housing. The 2015 awards support the creation of more than 1200 units across the state. The Baker-Polito Administration’s 2016 capital budget increases funding for the MassWorks Infrastructure Program by $20 million.

Each year, the program allocates 10 percent of the awarded funds to assist municipalities with populations of 7,000 or less in completing roadway safety and transportation improvement projects. The MassWorks Program has invested over $357 million across the Commonwealth since the first competitive grant round was held in September 2011.

More information is available at the MassWorks website.

Governor Dean Backs Governor Baker’s Hydro Energy Bill 

Hydropower Legislation was Filed to Increase Access to Clean, Cost-Effective Renewable Energy

November 2015

Governor Charlie Baker and Energy and Environmental Affairs Secretary Matt Beaton met with former Vermont Governor Howard Dean to discuss the Baker-Polito Administration’;s hydropower energy legislation that was filed earlier this year. During a media availability immediately following the meeting, Governor Dean backed the bill, calling it “;groundbreaking”; and an “;extraordinary opportunity" to support non-carbon emitting power. 

Governor Baker and Governor Dean
Room 360, Massachusetts State House
October 28, 2015


GOVERNOR BAKER: He expressed tremendous optimism about Hydro as a big part and a significant part of both a Massachusetts and New England region energy strategy, based on his experience in Vermont.  He gave me some very good advice about how that could work and I said you know what, I really would rather have this as a broader conversation.

GOVERNOR DEAN: I am very excited about the Governor's bill here, for a couple of reasons. First of all, what he is proposing in the bill, this notion of opening up the bidding process and essentially putting the shoe on the other foot, instead of doing all of our negotiating with a single entity in Canada, having a RFP go out is groundbreaking. I don't know of another place that has done this. I think it would be an extraordinary opportunity and it would also lower the cost of transmission. So that’s the first thing that I thought was very interesting about this bill. Secondly, I think that if you care about solar and wind, which I do, I care deeply about renewable energy, we have very high renewable energy standard in Vermont. You have to have base-load power and if the base-load power is carbon emitting, that's a problem. This is base-load power that is not carbon emitting and it's the perfect compliment. At some point, you can’t have wind or solar unless you have a base-load that is going to be reliable when wind or solar is not producing. This is a constant problem in New England. Massachusetts has made huge strides in the creation of solar and wind. That can't continue unless you have a strong base load and a strong base load and a reliable base load ought to be non-carbon emitting. Thirdly, this was enormously helpful to us when Vermont Yankee went off-line. I understand that Pilgrim is going off-line. That’s a 600-megawatt deficit in electricity. What do you want to replace that with? It's already non-carbon emitting. And do you want to replace that with carbon emitting sources? And the answer I think is probably no for most citizens of Massachusetts.

GOVERNOR BAKER: Best case, we put it out to bid, it's competitive, a whole bunch of people respond, we get some really great proposals, we pick one and we go forward as a region to implement it. And it creates a huge opportunity for us to significantly reduce our carbon footprint and at the same time provide the residents of Massachusetts and New England with an affordable source of twenty-four seven energy.

Baker-Polito Administration Awards $2.6 Million in

Violence Against Women Act Funding

Governor Charlie Baker, Lieutenant Governor Karyn Polito and Secretary of Public Safety Daniel Bennett announced 41 grants totaling nearly $2.6 million that have been awarded to community-based organizations, police departments, and state agencies through the Violence Against Women Act, Services Training Officers Prosecutors (VAWA STOP) program.

The awards follow the Baker-Polito Administration’s decision earlier this year to re-launch the Governor’s Council on Sexual Assault and Domestic Violence.

“The Violence Against Women Act allows for innovative and collaborative approaches to address the crimes of domestic violence, sexual assault, dating violence, and stalking,” said Governor Baker. “We are proud to provide these awards to entities that have demonstrated expertise and results in their respective program areas across the Commonwealth.”

“Community-based agencies, police departments, and state agencies know what works best for programs in their communities,” said Lieutenant Governor and Council Chair Karyn Polito. “These grants will support organizations that offer support to survivors, hold offenders accountable, and prevent domestic and sexual violence throughout the Commonwealth.”

“These grants offer strong support for our community-based agencies, police departments and state agencies to provide financial assistance to develop and strengthen law enforcement, prosecution strategies, and victim services in domestic violence and sexual assault cases,” said Secretary Bennett. 

This program is offered by the Executive Office of Public Safety and Security, Office of Grants and Research (OGR).

Massachusetts New Governor's Corner Charlie Baker

Governor Baker Expands Supplier Opportunities for Veteran, LGBT, Disability, Diverse and Small Businesses

Massachusetts becomes 1st state to recognize LGBT-owned businesses; increases opportunities for veteran, disability, minority, women-owned businesses and MA-based small businesses

November 2015

Reinforcing his administration’s commitment to fostering competitiveness and prosperity for small and diverse business owners, Governor Charlie Baker today announced several improvements to the state’s decades-old supplier diversity program, including best practice innovations and updates from the public and private sectors, the first expansion of benchmarks for minority and women-owned businesses in four years, and the first-time certification of veteran, disability and LGBT-owned businesses.

“We are committed to ensuring diversity as the state engages business suppliers and contractors and are excited about this opportunity to include LGBT, disability and veteran business owners in the state’s network and procurement chain,” said Governor Baker. “The Lieutenant Governor and I are proud to uphold our promise to expand opportunities for diverse and small businesses as our administration works to extend economic prosperity to more communities throughout the Commonwealth.”;

The changes to the Commonwealth’s Supplier Diversity Program (SDP) include improvements to the state’s small and diverse business certification and reporting processes and cross-certification partnerships with the City of Boston and nationally-recognized private certification organizations.

“At the heart of these efforts is the goal to grow the number of diverse and small companies participating and conducting business with the state as well as increasing the total dollar amount annually won by diverse and small businesses from across the Commonwealth,” said Jabes Rojas, Deputy Chief for Access & Opportunity. “Today’s innovations and expansions are significant and only a first step for the Baker-Polito Administration as we plan for the future of supplier diversity.”

“Today, we recognize the tremendous impact small businesses have on the economic vitality of our Commonwealth,” said Senator Linda Dorcena Forry. “Thank you to Governor Baker and his Administration for continuing our State’s commitment to diversity by engaging and ensuring access to opportunities for all. Expansion of our supplier diversity means growing a more sustainable, diverse and competitive economy.”

"Our economy cannot move forward when opportunities for success are not shared equally across the board," said Mayor Martin J. Walsh. "I thank Governor Baker and his administration for expanding opportunities for diverse and small businesses, and I look forward to continuing our efforts on the city level to ensure that economic growth reaches every corner in the City of Boston."

Benchmark increases and additions to the state certification procurement process include the following, with new certification categories to undergo a two to three year capacity building period prior to unveiling benchmarks:

A first-in-the-nation LGBT-owned business certification partnership between the state and National Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce’s (NGLCC) fully-accredited, industry-standard certification process recognized and accepted across many Fortune 1000 companies.

“We thank Governor Baker and his administration for their commitment to the LGBT community in Massachusetts,” said NGLCC Co-Founder & President Justin Nelson. “LGBT-inclusive supplier diversity means that there will be greater LGBT business visibility across Massachusetts. Economic visibility, just like social visibility, is essential in building a diverse and inclusive society. Governor Baker’s administration recognizes what over 1/3 of the Fortune 500 has already – including opportunities for all businesses, including those owned by LGBT people is good for business. We now call upon leaders in other states to follow the precedent set by Massachusetts to create equal business opportunities for LGBT citizens nationwide.”

First-time certification of businesses owned by those with disabilities (Disability-Owned Business Enterprises or “DOBE”), in partnership with the U.S. Business Leadership Network’s (USBLN) nationally-recognized certification program, which will also conduct certifications of service-disabled, veteran-owned business enterprises (SDVOBE).

“We are excited and grateful to be a part of this historic event,” said Jill Houghton, Executive Director, USBLN. “We look forward to working with the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, and for this to be the model for the rest of the country. There are an estimated 57 million Americans with disabilities and around 15 percent of working persons with disabilities are self-employed. Our disability-owned business enterprises and service-disabled veteran-owned business certification processes will help many businesses into the supplier diversity pipeline.”;

“This is an important day for persons with disabilities throughout our Commonwealth,” said David D’Arcangelo, Director of the Massachusetts Office on Disability. “Our acceptance of the USBLN certification for disability owned businesses sends a clear message that state government is welcoming people of all abilities and incentivizing opportunities that promote self-determination. Today marks an important first step towards creating and supporting increased opportunities for persons with disabilities.”;

Expanding the certified service-disabled, veteran-owned business enterprises (SDVOBE) category of the Supplier Diversity Program to include all certified veteran-owned business enterprises (VBE), continuing to use the federal VetBiz certification process (and new partnership with the USBLN for the certification of SDVOBEs), at a combined, existing benchmark of 3%.

“Expanding supplier diversity efforts to include all veterans affirms Governor Baker’s commitment to the men and women who have served our country and who should be provided access to business opportunities with the Commonwealth,” said Secretary of Veterans’ Services, Francisco A. Ureña.

Increasing the benchmark for registered Massachusetts-based small businesses in the Small Business Purchasing Program (SBPP) from 2.5% to 3.3%.

Increasing the existing certified minority-owned business enterprises (MBE) benchmark from 6% to 7%, and introducing a partnership with the Greater New England Minority Supplier Development Council (GNEMSDC), whereby the Commonwealth will begin accepting MBE applications approved by GNEMSDC starting on January 1, 2016.

“On behalf of our Board of Directors, our members and the countless minority business owners throughout Massachusetts, the Greater New England Minority Supplier Development Council wishes to express our gratitude to Governor Baker and his dedicated and talented administration for their commitment to creating opportunities for this important segment of the Massachusetts business community,” said Peter Hurst, President and CEO of the Greater New England Minority Supplier Development Council. “More successful MBEs can clearly reduce the wealth and income gap for their owners and their employees. The Council, along with our MBDA Center here in Boston, are excited about working with the Commonwealth to eliminate barriers to economic development for MBEs. Together, we will be a positive force in the continued growth and development of the minority business community in Massachusetts.”;

Increasing the certified women-owned business enterprises (WBE) benchmark from 12% to 13%, and introducing a partnership with the Center for Women and Enterprise (CWE) to also begin accepting WBE applications approved by CWE on January 1, 2016.

“It is a privilege for the Center of Women & Enterprise to partner with the Commonwealth on these important and innovative initiatives and expansions,” said Susan Rittscher, President and CEO of the Center for Women and Enterprise. “The plans to increase benchmarks and to collaborate with regional certification agencies such as the Center for Women & Enterprise (a WBENC affiliate) demonstrate the Governor's steadfast commitment to diverse businesses in the Commonwealth.”;

Acceptance and promotion of cross-certification with the City of Boston of MBE and WBE applicants on January 1, 2016.

The City of Boston is also one of five municipal partners and co-hosts for the Baker-Polito Administration’s recently announced and underway, Supplier Diversity Regional Series. These events led by the Governor’s Office of Access and Opportunity (OAO), Massachusetts Office of Business Development (MOBD), the Operational Services Division (OSD) and OSD’S Supplier Diversity Office are designed to increase engagement and marketplace opportunities for small and diverse business enterprises with procurement officials in state and local government, educational institutions, medical facilities and the private sector.

The Baker-Polito Administration’s policy changes and inclusiveness of new supplier diversity categories and partnerships, have also been made effective in a Governor’s Executive Order signed today, reaffirming and expanding the Supplier Diversity Program (SDP)

Baker-Polito Administration to Host Supplier Diversity Series

5 regional opportunities for small and diverse businesses to expand networks and state procurement

November 2015

The Baker-Polito Administration announced today that Governor Charlie Baker’s Office of Access and Opportunity (OAO) in coordination with the Massachusetts Office of Business Development (MOBD) and Operational Services Division (OSD), will host five Supplier Diversity Regional Series across the Commonwealth to engage small and diverse business enterprises with private buyers, educational institutions, medical facilities and state agency and municipal procurement officials.

“Increasing the Commonwealth’s supplier diversity starts with opportunities like these to strengthen our partnership and engagement with small and diverse businesses in their communities throughout Massachusetts,” said Governor Baker. “We encourage anyone interested in the Supplier Diversity Series to join our administration in the coming weeks to learn more about the state and local business opportunities available for small and diverse enterprises.”

These series will be hosted bi-annually in the Spring and Fall across the Commonwealth.  The series offer networking opportunities for buyers to meet small and diverse business owners, as well as capacity-building workshops designed to aid in awareness and competitiveness to win procurement opportunities.

“Our goal in convening major private and municipal buyers, including the cities of Boston, Springfield, Worcester, Lawrence and New Bedford, and small and diverse businesses is to become a leader in supplier diversity,” said Jabes Rojas, Deputy Chief of Staff for the Office of Access and Opportunity. “We look forward to the opportunities and discussions this bi-annual series will offer."

In February, Governor Baker signed Executive Order No. 559, elevating the Office of Access and Opportunity to the Governor’s Office under the direction of a Deputy Chief of Staff to further the administration’s priority of increasing diversity and inclusion within state government employment and procurement. The Executive Order also established a cross-administration Steering Committee for Access and Opportunity to coordinate best practices.

The first Supplier Diversity Series will be held tomorrow, October 27th, in Lawrence, with additional events to follow in Worcester, Roxbury, New Bedford and Springfield. Additional details are available below and attendees are encouraged to register at the accompanying links. Over 700 exhibitors and attendees have registered to date.

 Worcester Supplier Diversity Series
College of Holy Cross
November 3, 2015
Details and Registration 

Roxbury Supplier Diversity Series
Reggie Lewis Center
November 5, 2015
Details and Registration 

New Bedford Supplier Diversity Series
Fort Taber Community Center
November 13, 2015
Details and Registration 

Springfield Supplier Diversity Series
UMASS Center at Springfield
November 18, 2015
Details and Registration

The mission of the Office of Access and Opportunity is to foster non-discrimination and equal opportunity irrespective of race, color, age, gender, ethnicity, sexual orientation, gender identity or express, religion, creed, ancestry, national origin, disability, veteran’s status or socio-economic background. The Office of Access and Opportunity was first created by Executive Order 519 in January 2010 and was further modified by Executive Order 527 in February of 2011.


Governor, Mayor Request Actions on Bill to Enact Measures to Combat the Opioid Epidemic 

November 2015

Governor Charlie Baker and Mayor Martin J. Walsh sent a joint letter to members of the Massachusetts State Legislature asking for swift action on the Baker-Polito Administration’s recently filed legislation, “An Act Relative to Substance Use Treatment, Education and Prevention." 

“The epidemic of opioid addiction sweeping through our cities and towns shows no mercy and we consider the initiatives in this bill to be significant tools in combating this unprecedented crisis.  We need bold action to bend the trend in opioid deaths,” wrote Baker and Walsh.

Both administrations have made progress to combat opioid addiction, including numerous reforms implemented by the Governor’s Opioid Working Group to allocate more than $114 million in spending for substance use prevention, education and treatment, increased bulk purchasing of Narcan in municipalities. This year, Mayor Walsh announced the Mayor’s Office of Recovery Services, the first-ever municipal-based office to focus on this issue, and he was named Chair of a new national Task Force on Substance Abuse, Prevention and Recovery Services by the U.S. Conference of Mayors. The Task Force will focus on the impact of substance abuse and addiction on cities and work on effective recovery services strategies and approaches.

“We stand with you and appreciate your dedication to fighting this epidemic.  The effort demands aggressive and carefully considered actions,” the letter continues. “While the Baker-Polito Administration and the City of Boston have dedicated significant efforts and resources to fight the opioid epidemic, the critical reforms in this legislation are needed to prevent and treat addiction.”

Filed by Governor Baker on October 15, the bill would provide medical personnel with the power to intervene with patients suffering from addiction, control the spread of addictive prescription opioids and increase education about substance use disorder for providers and in the community. 

Click here to download the letter sent by Governor Baker and Mayor Walsh to members of the Massachusetts State Legislature

Full Text of Letter:

October 27, 2015

To Members of the Massachusetts State Legislature:

The evidence of the deadly opioid epidemic in Massachusetts is stark.  Nearly four people lose their lives each day in Massachusetts to addiction and opioid abuse. We write today to thank you for the Legislature’s efforts to date in fighting this public health crisis and to ask that you swiftly act on “An Act Relative to Substance Use Treatment, Education and Prevention.”  The epidemic of opioid addiction sweeping through our cities and towns shows no mercy and we consider the initiatives in this bill to be significant tools in combating this unprecedented crisis.  We need bold action to bend the trend in opioid deaths.

Over these past months, both of our administrations have worked closely with medical and addiction professionals on the front lines of this public health crisis to identify strategic reforms to existing practices in dealing with the risks of opioid use and misuse.  Some of these reforms will require changes to existing law that can be made only by the Legislature.  This bill includes measures to provide medical personnel with the power to intervene with patients in imminent harm as a result of addiction, to control the extraordinary spread of addictive prescription opioids, and to increase understanding and awareness of substance use disorder in our communities and by families.

In 2014, there were 4.4 million prescriptions and 240 million schedule II and III pills dispersed in the Commonwealth – far more than many other states. Those who become addicted to these powerful drugs are 40 times more likely to use heroin.  These factors have led the Baker-Polito Administration to propose bold new guidelines to responsibly limit prescriptions of these addictive drugs, which will also reduce the number of unused pills that remain in our communities.

Given the highly addictive nature of opioids, we strongly encourage you to support limiting first-time opioid prescriptions to a 72 hour supply.  The legislation provides an important safeguard against potential overuse or misuse of these drugs while allowing doctors to exercise their discretion to exceed this limit in cases of emergency and where patients are suffering from chronic pain. Prescriptions issued for patients receiving palliative care, hospice care, and cancer care would also be exempt from the 72-hour limitation.

We believe another critical component in the fight against opioids requires increasing access to emergency treatment options through our medical system.  With your support, we can give medical professionals the ability to save lives and intervene with people who are at the highest risk by establishing a new “front door” for clinical assessment that grants medical professionals the authority to hold a patient for 72 hours of emergency treatment, as a last alternative, if not doing so would create a likelihood of serious harm. This provision would parallel current law permitting a 72-hour period of emergency assessment for persons who present an imminent risk of harm due to mental illness. The bill includes strong provisions for due process and judicial oversight.  This bill will also amend the civil commitment statute, Chapter 123, section 35, and end the practice of sending women to MCI Framingham for treatment.      

We stand with you and appreciate your dedication to fighting this epidemic.  The effort demands aggressive and carefully considered actions.  While the Baker-Polito Administration and the City of Boston have dedicated significant efforts and resources to fight the opioid epidemic, the critical reforms in this legislation are needed to prevent and treat addiction. We also recognize that taking up this legislation is one step of many more that must follow to comprehensively address this public health crisis. Individuals from the recovery community, medical professionals, law enforcement officials and policymakers must continue to work together to ensure thoughtful implementation of any policy changes and to build a more robust and adequate continuum of care for those in need across the Commonwealth. 

As this year’s legislative session moves forward, we look forward to working with the Legislature on these provisions and related efforts to demonstrate our commitment to work together on critical reforms in substance abuse prevention and treatment.  Massachusetts is home to some of the most accomplished medical professionals in the nation, and with your support we have the opportunity to build new treatment pathways and pursue public awareness and education that can begin to break the cycle of deadly addiction.

We have no doubt that every member of the Legislature has heard the same stories of deadly addiction that we have.  These stories are a clear reminder that this epidemic knows no boundaries.  We look forward to working with you on this critical venture and thank you for your commitment to this important issue.


Governor Charlie Baker and Mayor Martin J. Walsh