Grossman ties higher-ed investment to job growth

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Councilwoman Anne Ferguson meets with Steve Grossman prior to Saturday’s forum.

Democratic gubernatorial candidate and State Treasurer Steve Grossman visited Amesbury yesterday,  greeting more than two dozen residents on a cold and snowy Saturday.

Grossman started his presentation by acknowledging the strong arts presence in Amesbury. Noting the importance of a commitment to the arts, he promised to increase funding to the state arts council, thereby increasing funds that go to individual city arts councils. He amplified his commitment by saying he hopes to see the current education focus on STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) topics to include the arts, thereby changing the acronym to STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, Math).

Grossman continued his talk on the education front by saying that his ultimate goal is to have well-trained college graduates remain in-state once they receive their diplomas.

To accomplish this, Grossman hopes to copy the education model of Oklahoma, where state-wide Pre-K programs are available to all children. He also will seek major financial investments in the state’s Vo-Tech schools, community colleges and state college system. Private enterprises will contribute also, as Grossman wants to work with businesses of all sizes to set up 5000 internships throughout the state.

Grossman hopes to tap that investment by convincing manufacturing businesses to stay in the state, creating more than 50,000 jobs.

Qualified to lead

Of all the candidates, Grossman is probably the most qualified to fill the role of chief executive, as State Senator Kathleen O’Connor Ives pointed out in her introductory remarks. She acknowledged his role in her career, when a chance cold call to Grossman led to a position in the Al Gore presidential campaign.

Along with his stewardship of the state lottery, O’Connor Ives mentioned Grossman’s oversight of the Water Pollution Abatement Trust, a state program to finance clean water initiatives, as examples of his proven leadership.

Prior to becoming state treasurer, Grossman ran his family’s fourth generation business, where he created jobs, initiated earned sick time, and worked closely with unions to avoid arbitration. He testified in 2006 in favor of earned sick time, a battle he will continue to fight should he win the corner office. He also reformed hiring practice within the treasury, published the state’s finances on-line, and put nearly all state contracts to bid, ensuring greater transparency with citizens.

Local tie-ins

Grossman used his visit to acknowledge the contributions of Amesbury resident Scott Jordon, who has worked and  collaborated with Grossman in the state treasurers’ office for several years. He also recognized former mayor Thatcher Kezer for his stewardship of state moneys to improve the city of Amesbury.

Also appearing at the event was State Senator Barry Finegold, who hopes to replace Grossman as State Treasurer. Finegold, who represents Andover, Dracut, Lawrence, and Tewksbury, spoke of his childhood years as a middle-class child with a paper route, and parents who were public school teachers. As treasurer, he hopes to increase focus on financial literacy, thereby increasing the chance of successful home ownership for first-time homeowners.

Click here to visit Steve Grossman’s campaign site.

Click here to visit Barry Finegold’s campaign site.

Written by Ed Justen