Photo by Lane Turner/The Boston Globe via Getty Images
Photo by Lane Turner/The Boston Globe via Getty Images

Local elected and business leaders from through out the Commonwealth met in Worcester last Wednesday with Governor Charlie Baker and members of his Administration to discuss strategies for economic development.  The purpose of the Economic Development Summit was to discuss a collaboration and comprehensive approach to regional economic growth that would allow municipalities to work within successful state programs to transfer that success to the local level.

The summit was well attended.  New Bedford Mayor Jon Mitchell was there and was able to communicate to Baker the need to follow through on such key issues as harbor dredging, the development of State Pier, the replacement of the New Bedford-Fairhaven Bridge and of course the South Coast Rail project.

Fall River Mayor Jasiel Correia was also in attendance, but unlike Mayor Mitchell, Correia was accompanied by his Chamber of Commerce representatives.  The Chambers from at least a dozen communities participated in the event, but not New Bedford's.  In fact, at one point Baker joked that there appeared to be a "Chamber conspiracy."

The New Bedford Area Chamber of Commerce needs to get on the front line of advocacy for businesses in the New Bedford Area.  Business is facing mounting struggles with state and federal regulations, health care and other challenges and needs a full time advocate on Beacon Hill looking out for it's interests.

The leadership of the New Bedford Area Chamber of Commerce appears distracted by name changes and chowder fests and not focused on delivering for the local business community, the real purpose of a Chamber of Commerce.

The New Bedford Chamber needs to get focused on what members are paying for, representation and get over the petty squabbles over rebranding and what to call itself.  New Bedford area businesses deserve no less.


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