1,125 attended 38th MMA Annual Meeting

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Lt. Gov. Polito talks with exhibitors at the MMA Annual Meeting and Trade showThe value of collaboration among communities and levels of government, and a commitment to innovate and strengthen local government, carried through as themes during the MMA’s 38th Annual Meeting & Trade Show on Jan. 20 and 21 in Boston.
The lively event offered compelling speakers and timely workshops and saw the launch of the MMA’s first mobile conference and event app. More than 1,100 local leaders from every corner of the Commonwealth gathered to network, learn, and take new ideas back to their communities.
Keynote speaker Jonah Berger kicked things off by discussing ways local officials can extend their influence to build consensus, negotiate for better results, and introduce new ideas in their communities.
Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito, a former selectman and the administration’s well-traveled liaison to local government, welcomed attendees during the opening session, when she discussed the success of the Community Compact Initiative, Municipal Modernization Act, economic development package, and local grant programs – and the importance of the state-local partnership.
Gov. Charlie Baker, and U.S. Sens. Elizabeth Warren and Ed Markey addressed the MMA Annual Business Meeting on Jan. 21. Gov. Baker announced the main local aid amounts he would be including in his fiscal 2018 state budget. One day after the inauguration, Sens. Warren and Markey stressed their commitment to fight for Massachusetts at the federal level.
At the Women Elected Municipal Officials luncheon, the Rev. Liz Walker, a former news anchor, discussed the responsibility of community leaders to help rebuild public trust in institutions.
During the closing session on Saturday, award-winning journalist and “On Point” host Tom Ashbrook offered his insights on the current political climate and the four years ahead.
Secretary of State William Galvin, State Treasurer Deborah Goldberg and State Auditor Suzanne Bump all spoke during the Friday dinner. Galvin discussed his commitment to continue working with cities and towns. Speaking about the treasurer’s office working with municipalities, Goldberg said, “It’s about helping to create economic opportunity and stability in the state.” Bump discussed the recent report on the state of water infrastructure and the costly but necessary repairs cities and towns are struggling to cover.
Dennis Eckersley at 2017 MMA Annual MeetingHall of Famer and baseball broadcaster Dennis Eckersley, who pitched for the Red Sox at two points in his career, shared stories from his life and time with the team during the Friday dinner. Eckersley shared that being part of a New England team is a special experience, and spoke about the recent retirement of fan favorite David Ortiz. To the delight of attendees, he took numerous questions from the fan-filled crowd.
Comedian, filmmaker and Massachusetts native Mike Birbiglia had Saturday night’s banquet crowd in hysterics, infusing some local flavor and sharing his own story about Eckersley.
Both Eckersley and Birbiglia met and took photos with many attendees.
Workshops and seminars across the two days explored topics ranging from rising health care costs to downtown revitalization. Emerging Issues Forums addressed climate change, community policing, and healthy aging in communities.
The Trade Show featured 203 exhibitors, including a number of environmental consulting, financial, energy and technology groups, the MV-1 of Massachusetts, and the MIIA Safe Driving Simulator.
networking at 2017 MMA Annual MeetingThe 2017 Annual Meeting theme was “United for Strong Communities.”
“It’s clear from the terrific turnout that there’s a sense of unity and common purpose among the local leaders in 351 cities and towns across the Commonwealth,” said MMA Executive Director and CEO Geoff Beckwith, who was recognized on Saturday evening for his 25 years of service as the head of the association. “As always, local officials are prepared to roll up their sleeves and keep doing the hard work that makes Massachusetts a great place to live.”
The 39th MMA Annual Meeting & Trade Show will be held Jan. 19 and 20, 2018.