The Gateway Cities Journal
News and information for leaders who care about Gateway Cities


The Strength of Gateway Cities


When I ran Medicare and Medicaid for President Obama, I was appalled at the gridlock in Washington and the failure of leaders in both parties to stand up for those who are most vulnerable. I am running for governor to bring social justice and equality back to the center of our public life. I see no greater test of this commitment than the way we support our Gateway Cities-where the 'Great Recession' and economic hardship began long before 2008. The Gateway Cities have a rich and storied history, each with unique strengths that must be built upon. With the right leadership and commitment, I am extremely optimistic about the potential of Gateway Cities to return to their place as regional economic centers and vibrant communities for families in the Commonwealth to live and work. 


Politicians offer quick fixes to complex problems. As a life-long executive, I know that no leader has all the answers. An executive sets clear goals, empowers those who have identified best practices, and ensures that all stakeholders work together to achieve those goals. Here is my goal: Massachusetts will fight the poverty and injustice at the root of the obstacles impeding the growth of the Gateway Cities.


We will strengthen regional economies by creating jobs and opportunity for all Massachusetts residents. In particular, I will:

  • Narrow the skills gap. There are nearly 200,000 people out of work in Massachusetts, but there are 100,000 unfilled jobs with no qualified applicants. I will work with community colleges and vocational schools to better align their curriculum with the needs of employers. The partnership between Northern Essex Community College and General Electric that creates a pipeline for graduates into the workforce is an excellent model that should be replicated statewide.
  • Support to immigrant workers and businesses. Immigrants make up 61 percent of new businesses formed in Massachusetts and they face unique challenges securing loans and navigating bureaucracy. Fifty percent of our immigrant workforce lacks the skills necessary to earn self-sufficient wages. As governor, I will provide supports that address obstacles unique to immigrant businesses and workers and expand educational opportunities that will eliminate major obstacles for immigrants eager to join the economy.
  • Provide high-quality education for all. Our education system is good overall, but too many children are left out. Through chronic underinvestment, a lack of support to teachers, and an overreliance on high-stakes testing, we have created extreme inequality in our schools. This is particularly true in schools in Gateway Cities, where graduation rates are often lower than 70 percent. I will build on the success of the Murkland School in Lowell, which went from a "Level 4" to a "Level 1" in just 18 months through collaboration between the union and the district to support teachers and foster innovation.
  • Strengthen public transit and infrastructure.  Residents in Gateway Cities have limited access to public transportation, forcing too many people to turn down jobs because they can't get to work. And we lack the infrastructure that allows people and goods to move freely between our regional centers.

  • Fight mass incarceration. Unnecessary incarceration disrupts families, destroys communities, burdens taxpayers, and erodes faith in the criminal justice system. I will fight to repeal mandatory minimum sentences, decriminalize minor drug offenses, and expand alternatives to incarceration. I will invest in programs that reduce recidivism, and work to ease the transition back into the community to make it easier for formerly incarcerated people to lead successful lives.

The strength of the Gateway Cities is critical to the strength of the Commonwealth. They are regional economic drivers, and they are home to nearly one quarter of the workers, business owners, and taxpayers in the state. As governor, I will devote my efforts and resources in a way that reflects an understanding of this significance. And I look forward to partnering with communities to fight inequality and empower them with the tools to retake their position as regional leaders.


Don Berwick

Democrat Candidate for Governor



Housing and Economic Development


The Sun Chronicle reports that developers building large housing projects can now apply for market rate housing tax credits in Gateway Cities. This comes from provisions in the jobs bill, which Gov. Patrick signed last week. Writing for Fortune,Karen Mills says the bill's a national model for strong state economic development policy.


Brockton 21st Century Corporation begins a search for a new executive director.


The New Bedford Economic Development Council announces plans for a "New Bedford developer's tour" to be held on October 16th. Executive Director Derek Santos says that the tour is about "about stoking existing relationships and beginning new ones," South Coast Today reports.


The Community Builders is converting an abandoned factory in Worcester's Main South neighborhood into 94 units of affordable housing. Affordable housing development in Taunton and Quincy also receive funding.


State Rep. Joseph F. Wagner hopes that an increase in state funding in the 2015 fiscal year budget will help Chicopee "lessen the need to place homeless in hotels and help them transition to permanent housing and self-sufficiency quicker."


Brockton Mayor William Carpenter proposes buying the desalination plant that supplies the city's water.


The August issue of Housing Policy Debate presents a meta-analysis of the benefits of compact, walkable, diverse urban neighborhoods.




The Telegram captures the success of a Worcester summer school program, funded with a grant from the Gateway Cities Summer Enrichment Academy for English Language Learners.


The Herald News' Michael Gagne looks at teacher turnover in Fall River, which has hovered around 20 percent in each of the last five years. Exit surveys show many causes. He also examines the district's new code of conduct, a "progressive discipline" approach to reduce suspensions.


New Bedford Mayor Jon Mitchell proposes a $12.5 million dollar expansion plan that would allow the Sea Lab Marine Science Education Center to accommodate William H. Taylor Elementary School. The Massachusetts School Building Authority is slated to reimburse 90 percent of the $12.5 million project cost, South Coast Today reports.


Montachusett Regional Vocational Technical School will start the 2014-2015 school year under new leadership.




Brockton officials publish a list of property owners who have delinquent tax bills totaling nearly $400,000.


Lawrence Mayor Dan Rivera selects a city firefighter to head a beefed-up Department of Inspectional Services, the Eagle-Tribune reports.


Lowell takes center stage in the gubernatorial race. Charlie Baker sets his sights on City of Spindles as the Republican gubernatorial candidates travel north to debate at the Sun. UTEC draws several candidates for dialogues around at-risk youth.


Lynn emerges as a battleground in the Tierney v. Tisei matchup.


Governing reviews a book that offers strategies to motivate public employees.




The Pioneer Valley Transit Authority releases the schedule of the long-awaited bus route between Holyoke and Amherst. The R29 will run 363 days a year and will stop at the "Holyoke Mall five times per day and the Holyoke Transportation Center six times per day", MassLive reports.


Uber, the ride-sharing transportation company, may be looking to Worcester for possible expansion.


Communities / People


WHAV reports on Lawrence Mayor Dan Rivera's appointment as co-chair of the Gateway Cities Innovation Institute.



For a full list of Massachusetts Gateway Cities, click here. The Gateway Cities Journal is a weekly news publication of MassINC. If you would like to unsubscribe to The Journal but would still like to hear from MassINC, please let us know. If you are not yet on our list and would like to sign up, click here. To contribute news or comments, please email MassINC.



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