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Baker celebrates signing of the latest Community Compact in hometown of Swampscott

Gov. Charlie Baker watches as Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito signs the Community Compact at Swampscott Town Hall as Naomi Dreeben, Swampscott Board of Selectman chairman, Selectman, state Rep. Lori A. Ehrlich, Swampscott Town Administrator Sean Fitzgerald, and state Sen. Thomas McGee look on. (Owen O'Rourke)

SWAMPSCOTT — Naomi Dreeben took a moment during a community event here Wednesday to thank the governor for standing up to President Donald Trump.

The chairwoman of the Board of Selectmen told Gov. Charlie Baker she was grateful to him for speaking truth to power.

“There have been lots of things on the national level that have been rather difficult for our commonwealth in terms of words of intolerance and hate,” she said as Baker looked on and the small  small crowd in front Town Hall applauded. “I do appreciate that you stepped up and stayed true to our values in the state of Massachusetts.”

Last month, Baker said he was “deeply disappointed” with Trump’s response to the violence at a white supremacist rally in Virginia.

“When it comes to denouncing evils like white supremacy and neo-Nazism, it is vital public officials speak clearly and forcefully, and I am deeply disappointed in the president’s words today,” Baker said at the time.

Baker spent a portion of the afternoon in his hometown celebrating the signing of the latest Community Compact.

The program offers cash incentives and technical assistance to municipalities that participate. The goal is to implement best practices that promise to improve the operations of local governments.

So far, the grant program has provided $6 million to more than 130 municipalities for various projects that are expected to drive innovation, regionalization, and other efficiencies.

“This is a reflection of the hard work by Swampscott officials who have focused on long term financial planning, building complete streets, and it helps us think more critically about regional services,” said town administrator Sean Fitzgerald.

State Sen. Thomas M. McGee (D-Lynn), one day after his overwhelming showing over Mayor Judith Flanagan Kennedy in the preliminary race for mayor, praised the program that he said helps communities work together to make a difference.

“This  is awesome and it’s a great day for Swampscott to take advantage of what the administration is offering and the resources that comes from the signing,” he said.

State Rep. Lori Ehrlich (D-Marblehead) said the compact is genius.

“You’ve heard the expression that all politics is local,” she said.  “I love that this brings state government into our communities in a helpful and entirely positive way.”

As the final speaker, Baker said when he served as a local official in town, the message he got from the state was: “Do this now, we’re not going to give you any money, have a nice day.”

“The first executive order I signed was this Community Compact … and the whole point behind it was to provide a menu of best practices and communities can choose which ones they think would be helpful,” he said. “If you do, we have money and technical assistance to get it done. We had no idea anyone would sign up and today we’ve signed 300 with 11 more in the queue.”

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