Mass. Gov. Charlie Baker (left) and Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito

Gov. Charlie Baker and Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito, who have made it a standard practice to speak with local officials from across the state at the MMA Annual Meeting & Trade Show, will return on Jan. 21 and 22.

Polito will address the opening session, and Baker will be a special guest at the MMA Annual Business Meeting on Saturday, Jan. 22. Since they have announced that they will not be on the ballot in November, this will be their last Annual Meeting appearance as governor and lieutenant governor.

The visit with local officials comes just days before the governor is scheduled to file his fiscal 2023 state budget, on Jan. 26, and the administration typically offers a preview at the MMA conference.

Both Baker and Polito speak frequently of their own experience as local officials, and have made the partnership between state and local government a top priority. This was particularly true during the COVID pandemic, when they held scores of regular conference calls with local officials, solicited their feedback about the challenges at the local level, and then sought to address those concerns.

Baker, a former selectman in his home town of Swampscott, was first elected governor in November 2014, took office in January 2015, and was re-elected in November 2018. He served as secretary of Health and Human Services under Gov. Bill Weld and later served as secretary of Administration and Finance under Weld and his successor, Gov. Paul Cellucci. He then became CEO of Harvard Pilgrim Health Care for 10 years.

Raised in Needham, Baker earned a bachelor’s degree at Harvard University and a master’s degree in business administration at Northwestern University.

Polito serves as the administration’s liaison to municipalities and has visited all 351 cities and towns in Massachusetts. She typically presides over meetings of the Local Government Advisory Commission to discuss the intersections of state and local government, and has developed close relationships with the MMA and with mayors, town administrators and managers, and other municipal officials. Polito demonstrates the administration’s belief that the Commonwealth’s success is driven by the strength of its diverse people and places.

Polito has been a champion of the Community Compact Cabinet, which has signed agreements with every city and town to partner with state government on nearly 1,000 smarter ways to deliver services.

A lifelong resident of Shrewsbury, where she owns and operates a commercial real estate development firm, she has served as a Town Meeting member, a member of the Zoning Board of Appeals, and a selectman. She was the commissioner of the Massachusetts Lottery from 1999 to 2000, and in 2001, she was elected state representative for the 11th Worcester District (Shrewsbury and Westborough), serving five terms.

She is a graduate of Boston College and the New England School of Law.

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