Boston – With local State Senator Mike Barrett (D-Lexington) as a member, the Massachusetts Senate Task Force on Strengthening Local Retail today unanimously approved its final report. The Task Force was charged with assessing the economic health of the Massachusetts retail sector, and identifying challenges and opportunities facing retail communities.
Welcoming the report, Barrett said, “People in my district are really into nurturing the business centers of their communities. When it comes to making policy, I wanted a seat at the table on their behalf.”
Chaired by Senator Michael Rodrigues (D- Westport) and Senator Vinny deMacedo (R- Plymouth), the Task Force held a series of regional public meetings, hearing directly from retail employers and employees. It has now issued a set of findings, reflecting the testimony of retailers, information presented by industry experts, and an examination of current policies and mandates.
“Supporting the retail sector is very important and I am happy that we have this report to inform our future policymaking” said Senate President Harriette L. Chandler (D-Worcester).
“The Task Force’s report is the result of a thoughtful, collaborative process to better understand the challenges facing Massachusetts retailers,” said Senator Michael Rodrigues. “Now that the Task Force’s work has concluded, I look forward to working with my colleagues to explore ways the state can support retail business growth, and ensure retailers remain a core part of our Commonwealth’s foundation.”
“I want to thank the local retailers who provided the task force with valuable insights into their challenges and aspirations,” said Senator Vinny deMacedo. “This report reflects the collaborative effort and diverse viewpoints of the task force’s membership in a way that we believe will provide meaningful information to guide the Legislature in its efforts to support and grow our local businesses and economies.”
Members of the Task Force also included Senator Julian Cyr (D- Truro), Senator Jason Lewis (D- Winchester), Senator Kathleen O’Connor-Ives (D- Newburyport), and Senator Don Humason (R- Westfield).
The retailers appointed to the Task Force included Judith Herrell, owner of Herrell’s Ice Cream in Northampton; Peter Kavanaugh of La-Z-Boy Furniture Galleries in Dartmouth; Barry S. Rotman, Board Chair of Rotmans Furniture in Worcester; Malcolm Sherman, a retail consultant with expertise in turning around struggling businesses; Christopher Carlozzi, Massachusetts State Director of the National Federation of Independent Business; John Cahill of Maestranzi Bros.; and Christopher Connolly, President of the Massachusetts State Automobile Dealers Association.
The remaining appointees included Jim Carvalho, Political Director of the United Food and Commercial Workers Local 1445; Harris Gruman, Executive Director of the SEIU Massachusetts State Council; and Jon Hurst, President of the Retailers Association of Massachusetts.