NORTH ADAMS -- State Treasurer Steve Grossman predicted a future of "extraordinary possibilities" for the county at a function in the city Wednesday night, promising to stand by workers and small businesses and "not desist" until everyone's lot is improved.
In the midst of talking at Wednesday's Berkshire Brigades North County Democratic Unity Dinner at Freight Yard Pub on Wednesday, Grossman aspired to the highest of goals -- making the commonwealth among the best places in the world to live.
"We have the most important natural resource you can possibly have -- it's called human capital," he said.
To bolster this, Grossman recommended investment in infrastructure and public education, vibrant unions and the storage of Massachusetts capital in Massachusetts community banks.
He said one of his great efforts since being elected in 2010 has been to redirect the commonwealth's capital back within its bounds so it can then be given out as loans to small businesses. Over sixty percent of state capital was invested abroad at the time of his successful bid for office.
Mayor Richard J. Alcombright introduced Grossman as a "man who understands business and knows the role of government" -- to facilitate the private sector, he said.
"My first impression [upon meeting Grossman, in 2010], was that this man was not here to convince me of anything," Alcombright said. "He simply wanted to listen and learn about us."
The mayor also gave a nod to the planned Silvio O. Conte Middle School renovation project.
"Steve, in his role as Chair of the Mass School Building Authority was instrumental in securing $23 million for the city for the Conte school renovation," he said. "Which will happen. That is the largest single sum ever received by the city of North Adams in its history."
Grossman's words spoke to a desired move toward a new political economy peculiar to and centered in the state itself, as opposed to abroad.
He said one of the Berkshires biggest industries, historically, in precision manufacturing, is coming back, and stands to continue to do well. Here he pointed to Lee's U.S. Armor LLC and Pittsfield's Starbase Technologies, to such businesses that are enjoying growth.
The air on Wednesday was also charged with the coming state election in May. Grossman endorsed candidate U.S. Rep. Edward Markey over U.S. Rep. Stephen Lynch, as did the room. Silence followed Lynch's mention while Markey's name brought cheers.
The night marked the second annual dinner held by Berkshire Brigades, a group formed roughly a decade ago to "give Berkshire County a bigger footprint in politics in the commonwealth of Massachusetts."
Sherwood Guernsey, one of the founders, reflected on its successes in an interview after Wednesday's event. He said the group grew slowly in its early years but now has a head of steam.
"Each year the activism in Berkshire County grows and we feel really good that we've done our part in it," Guernsey said. "People enjoy knowing there's a community with them on these issues. There's strength in unity and numbers."
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