At the Council’s most recent meeting on January 12, Ken gave an update on Chamber operations and initiatives, including Ken’s and Peter’s ongoing participation on Gloucester and Rockport reopening advisory committees, respectively. Ken reported that the Chamber continues to provide weekly COVID-19 business and community updates in Soundings, most recently on passage of the Economic Aid Act and the renewal of PPP loans. Ken also shared that we are closely monitoring the state’s vaccine distribution planning and implementation.
The Council discussed the recent enactment of Gloucester’s home rule petition to extend seasonal alcoholic beverage licenses, a bill supported by the Chamber as recommended by the Council. The new law will allow Gloucester restaurants and retailers with seasonal licenses to continue to sell alcoholic beverages through the winter months. In other business, Council member Michele French reported on the town of Essex’s entertainment license policy; Ken updated the group on the North Shore Blue Economy task force, which is again moving forward; and Council member Ruth Pino shared the news that CATA has signed a contract with MassDOT for the “Last Mile” project, an important Cape Ann workforce initiative supported by the Chamber.
Much of the January meeting focused on setting 2021 priorities for the Council, to be finalized at the February meeting. Policy areas that were discussed for priority attention included Housing; Security; and Diversity, Equity & Inclusion. The Council also began planning for the Spring Cape Ann Caucus and set a tentative date of March 26 for this semi-annual meeting with Cape Ann’s state and local government officials.
The Government Affairs Council leads the Chamber’s focus on economic development and public policy, one of our key platforms. This Council meets on the second Tuesday of each month from 7:30 to 9 AM, and participation is open to any Chamber member with an interest in being engaged with our state and local government and helping foster a vibrant Cape Ann economy. Currently, those who are part of our monthly meetings include representatives from Cape Ann’s industrial, tourism, government, real estate, legal, non-profit and services sectors.
To learn more or join in these meetings, please contact Ken or me.
Our next meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, February 9, featuring Maria DiStefano of the Massachusetts Office of Business Development as guest speaker.
Chair, Government Affairs Council
Scott Energy Company