Business, Local Government and Politics, News

Breakfast served by Peabody Chamber

This article was published 1 year(s) and 3 month(s) ago.

State Rep. Sally Kerans, second from right, addresses the crowd at the PACC 2022 Legislative Breakfast during a panel discussion with, from left, District Director of U.S. Rep. Seth Moulton's office Rick Jakious, Peabody Mayor Edward A. Bettencourt Jr., state Sen. Joan Lovely, Danvers Town Manager Steve Bartha, Middleton Town Administrator Andrew Sheehan, and state Reps. Thomas Walsh and Bradley Jones on Tuesday morning. (Spenser Hasak)

PEABODY — The Peabody Area Chamber of Commerce held its annual legislative breakfast on Tuesday morning for the first time in two years.

The breakfast — sponsored by North Shore Bank and nine other corporate sponsors and held at the Boston Marriott Peabody — provided elected officials a forum to discuss projects they are planning to help local business owners in the area.

Those who attended the breakfast included Peabody Mayor Edward A. Bettencourt Jr., Senate Minority Leader Bruce Tarr (R-Gloucester), state Sen. Joan Lovely (D-Salem) House Minority Leader Bradley Jones Jr. (R-North Reading) state Reps. Thomas Walsh (D-Peabody) and Sally Kerans (D-Danvers), Middleton Town Administrator Andrew Sheehan, Danvers Town Manager Steve Bartha, and District Director and Senior Advisor to U.S. Rep. Seth Moulton (D-MA) Rick Jakious.

One topic of conversation that was discussed at the breakfast was the need for improved transportation in the city.

Lovely told the guests she was finding ways to improve public transit to help bring more businesses and customers to Peabody and said she is holding meetings with fellow State House members to discuss ongoing projects that would be beneficial for Peabody’s businesses.  

“I met with our North Shore delegation a couple of days ago and we discussed the need to electrify the Commuter Rail,” Lovely said. “It’s the right move, it’s more reliable and it’s better for the environment.”

Walsh agreed with Lovely’s assessment of the need for an electrified Commuter Rail, and added that he is looking at ways to invest in transit in downtown Peabody.

One project Walsh has been focused on is establishing a trolley service running from Peabody Square to the Commuter Rail station in Salem. He said he is studying if a shuttle-bus route would be more feasible and effective than the trolley plan.

“The trolley would use a diesel engine and I think having a shuttle bus would be more feasible,” Walsh said. “You can embed the trolley tracks in the ground and make that into a bus line.”

While Moulton did not appear at the event, Jakious told the crowd how the congressman is helping local businesses at the federal level — namely by helping pass the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) to help businesses that have faced difficulties due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“It is $6 trillion in recovery and direct aid towards the families of businesses,” Jakious said. “We are also working on 988-hotline legislation which would create a federal number to call if you are facing a health crisis in Massachusetts.”

In addition to small-business owners, 20 Peabody Veterans Memorial High School students taking AP Government attended the breakfast. This has been a long-standing tradition of the school, and students had the opportunity to ask questions to the elected officials on how they would help students and their plans after high school.  

One student told Tarr about how she would have to commute to college in Boston from Essex County and asked him how the state can improve its transportation.

Tarr said there not only needs to be a feasible solution to improving public transportation, but an energy-efficient solution to reduce carbon emissions.

We need to take advantage of things we didn’t have before,” Tarr said. “Not only can you make that trip into the city reliably, but also go to the areas of the North Shore that will supercharge our economy.”

This breakfast was a happy moment for all who attended, as many shook hands and hugged each other after not being able to for the past two years due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Bettencourt said he hopes to see everyone again during the next breakfast event and hopes to work on more projects and agenda items to improve the downtown business scene.

“I know it hasn’t been an easy season for you, but we are feeling optimistic about things,” Bettencourt told the crowd.

More Stories From Peabody