BARNES AIR NATIONAL GUARD BASE, Massachusetts --
The 104th Fighter Wing held the Greater Westfield Chamber of Commerce quarterly breakfast on September 20th.
Westfield’s Chamber of Commerce is a “network of businesses and professionals working together to improve the quality of life for the community and build a strong economy.” The Chamber’s mission statement is to “develop and foster a prosperous business environment by serving, protecting and promoting their members through advocacy, education, information, marketing, and networking programs and activities.”
Speakers at the breakfast included Col. Tom “Sling” Bladen 104th Fighter Wing vice commander, Ron Bryant, President of Baystate Noble Hospital, Brian Sullivan, Mayor of Westfield, John Velis, Massachusetts representative and Donald Humason, Jr, Westfield senator.
The keynote speaker was Katherine Holahan the Vice President of Government affairs at Associated Industries of Massachusetts.
“The Chamber of commerce is really important to everything that we do as an organization, so hearing their voice about what’s going on in the community sort of lets us echo that voice on Beacon Hill, in Boston, which is really important to us.” said Holahan.
Associated Industries of Massachusetts is an organization dedicated to supporting pro-business legislation and helping employers make sense of confusing employment laws. Lobbyists such as Holahan work to bring awareness of employer’s issues to state government. During the breakfast, Holahan discussed healthcare costs, taxes and finance along with issues like education.
Senator Donald Humason spoke briefly and shared appreciation for the 104th Fighter Wing.
“We are so fortunate here in the city of Westfield to have the 104th Fighter Wing at Barnes Airport providing security for the United States of America and protection for the airspace of a quarter of our country and a third of the GDP. ”
Representative John Velis emphasized the importance of staying engaged in the local government.
“As these discussions come up, you have to stay in contact with us. The worst thing that happens is when I take a vote or when I do something- good, bad or indifferent and then I hear from constituents the day after we voted on it.”