Governor Patrick made a bold commitment to put Springfield, and all of Western Mass, back on the map. His impressive follow through includes: helping UMass re-orient itself toward Springfield (see next most recent post below), spending more time out here himself, and re-establishing the Governor’s Western Mass office with Elizabeth Cardona at the helm. But state budget deficits make the future of the Governor’s Springfield office uncertain (see Friday’s Republican).
For several reasons, this is the wrong time to send mixed signals about a commitment to the region:
- As the tenure of Springfield’s Finance Control Board draws to a close, the continuity of meaningful tethers to the outside world will be critical for keeping a new spirit of hope and change alive. The Springfield Institute itself derives much of its momentum from these kinds of messages, and at this early stage stage for both the Institute and the city, any countervailing message could be disruptive.
- As momentum builds, Governor Patrick deserves the opportunity to come articulate how his commitment–dismissed as naive by some–is beginning to take shape. Having withdrawn his office, linking these on-the-ground signs of hope to his commitment will be a little more tricky.
- Elizabeth Cardona herself is a great symbol of our future. Young, and a native of Springfield, Elizabeth combines strong commitments to both community and change.