Today’s Boston Globe story about our administration’s work with Evergreen Solar clearly points to some of the key choices Massachusetts must make in the months ahead — choices that will affect us during this economic crisis and far into our future.
Early economic indicators show we are poised to come out of this downturn stronger and faster than the rest of the United States. That is good news – and no accident. The work we have done with Evergreen Solar and companies like it is one of the major reasons why. We are fully committed to supporting them and championing them, fighting to keep and grow them in Massachusetts.
Starting even before we were sworn in, our team worked hard to convince Evergreen to build a solar panel manufacturing factory in our Commonwealth instead of in other states like New York and Oregon. Since then, Evergreen has grown to nearly 700 employees — more than doubling its Massachusetts-based payroll, twice the number of jobs they committed to create. They are great jobs, with benefits, and they belong to our neighbors right here in Massachusetts. Not in other states. The company has increased sales in the last year by more than 50 percent, and recently raised over $70 million in the capital markets. Despite the economic crisis and the growing competition from other new Massachusetts-based clean tech companies, Evergreen has clearly stated it has no plans to scale back operations here.
So, I am proud of our work with Evergreen as well as with the many other companies we work with. We want those businesses competing and growing jobs right here in Massachusetts.
All of us ought to promote what is strong, positive and possible in Massachusetts. But doing so requires we also fight back against the persistent negativity and cynicism that surrounds us. That, I admit, is one the hardest parts of my job. It is a daily slog, but it must be done if we are to position our Commonwealth for a better future. And I need your help to do that.
You ought to know that, despite what the cynics say, our clean energy sector, like life sciences, IT, health care and education — the very sectors our administration has concentrated on — are leading Massachusetts out of this recession faster and stronger than the rest of the country.
You ought to know that, as tough as our fiscal challenges are, we have closed an $8 billion dollar revenue gap and delivered three budgets that were balanced, responsible and on time — not something many other states can say.
You ought to know that, while we have work to do to tackle ever-increasing premium costs, more than 97 percent of our residents are insured — more than any other state — and that our neighbors don’t have to worry about going into bankruptcy if they get sick or having their insurance company turn them away because they were sick before they were insured.
You ought to know that, short as we are on resources, we have invested more money in education and in rebuilding our roads and bridges, public and affordable housing, college campuses and broadband expansion than any other administration in the history of the Commonwealth.
And you ought to know that no matter how much the cynics and the negative peddle their cynicism and negativity, we will keep on investing, managing through the fiscal crisis and promoting to business and to families what’s right about Massachusetts because that is the only way to create opportunity and a better future for us all.
You ought to know all that – and you ought to tell somebody else.
I am hopeful. But my hope is not blind optimism. It is the persistent determination to look up and move forward, not ignoring the obstacles, but in spite of them. Because that is the only way to move Massachusetts forward, and the only way anyone ever has.
Keep the faith.