|Governor Patrick Visits Main Street In North Adams|
|By Tammy Daniels, iBerkshires Staff|
08:51PM / Friday, April 13, 2012
NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — The governor expressed confidence in the state's economic recovery but said it had to be statewide.
Gov. Deval Patrick and his dog, Tobey, walked Main Street on Friday afternoon. The governor soon picked up an entourage that followed him down the street.
"We have to make sure the recovery reaches everyone and in every corner of the commonwealth," said Gov. Deval Patrick during a stop in the city on Friday afternoon. "If you're the one out of work, then our work isn't done."
Patrick was in the city visiting class being taught at Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts by former state Rep. Daniel Bosley.
Mayor Richard Alcombright invited him on an impromptu walk along Main Street from the Mohawk Theater to BrewHaha on Marshall Street.
Accompanied by his Labrador, Tobey, the governor stopped to talk to a number of shopkeepers and citizens, including the mayor's mother, Bernice "Red" Alcombright, who was sitting with friends Lorraine Maloney and Shirley Wolfe on a bench on Main Street waiting for him.
"You're pretty much supervising everything downtown?" asked the governor. "We're the bench people," responded Alcombright to laughter.
The governor's presence drew a small crowd at each stop, as people asked to have their pictures taken with him or wanted to shake his hand — or give him gifts of puzzles and prints. Those along the street seemed happy with the work he's done so far.
"I wish I could vote for you again," said one man. (Patrick has indicated he will not run for a third term in 2014.)
"We had a chance to take a little walk and see some of the things that are happening in the center of town," said Patrick, who has a home in Richmond. "I went back to visit places I visited before and there's more of them, and that's a testament to the mayor and other civic leaders ... Gailanne [Cariddi] is a fantastic rep."
The mayor said the city was thankful for the governor's commitment to getting Route 2 opened as quickly as possible after Hurricane Irene, at a cost of $41 million, and for the Hadley Overpass reconstruction.
"His commitment to local aid and to school aid has just been examplary," said Alcombright.
The governor addressed a couple questions, including on the community college plan put forth by the House Ways and Means Committee on Wednesday. Patrick said he didn't understand why it was being reported as significantly different than the plan in his budget, and that there had been no intention to concentrate control in Boston.
The governor shook hands as he made his way down the street. See more photos on our Facebook page.
"It is very aligned with what we proposed ... it's about how we use these 15 jewels, really, as an opportunity to build a stronger workforce development platform," he said.
Patrick said the state's economy is growing faster than most and it added 23,000 24,000 jobs in the last few months. Even though the unemployment rate is lower than the national average, there are 240,000 people still looking for work — yet 125,000 jobs requiring "middle skills" are going begging.
Those out of work aren't going back to their old jobs and community colleges should play a role in preparing not only for today's jobs but for future industries being developed.
"This is how we get the colleges to work together and the Ways and Means budget gives us a pretty big step in the right direction," said the governor.