Guest MINDSETTER™ Shepard: In Support of Anne Gobi

Saturday, November 03, 2018
Guest MINDSETTER™ Dave Shepard

Anne Gobi
Choice and competition are always good things when it comes to our democratic elections. More often than not, they precipitate a more thoughtful discussion of the issues than when a seat is uncontested, and they compel candidates to provide an honest inventory of accomplishments.

The race for the Worcester, Hampden, Hampshire and Middlesex District’s seat in the State Senate is once again contested, and voters in Central Massachusetts will have a choice of leadership for this important elected office. Based on her commitment to and understanding of agriculture, recreation issues, and the rural economy, incumbent Senator Anne Gobi has demonstrated to us that she is up to the task, and we are confident in her ability to advocate for us.

The positive impact of Senator Gobi’s work on the rural economy can be felt in the District’s towns but also has increased the viability of agriculture across the Commonwealth. She was the driving force in the Senate to increase the dairy tax credit cap from $4 Million to $6 Million, providing more level playing field to an industry at the mercy of federal price declines. Her leadership on this issue means that dairy farms will not just remain open to provide fresh, wholesome milk to the Commonwealth, but also give the next generation of farmers a fighting chance.

As the Senate Chair of the Environment, Natural Resources and Agriculture committee, she has worked hard to shepherd important bills through the sometimes ungainly legislative process and, when necessary, facilitated changes to those bills that increased their positive impact. One of these bills, the so-called Environmental Bond Bill, included, among other things, language amending agricultural estate tax law to allow an estate to value land at the agricultural use rate as established by Mass. General Law Chapter 61A provided that the land is maintained in active agriculture for 10 years. This reform touches all agricultural and horticultural operations under the Commonwealth’s 61A program, and the inheritors of Massachusetts farmland will no longer be immediately taxed out of agriculture after when the farmer owner is deceased and, on a statewide scale, will increase farm viability and farmland preservation. Working collaboratively with the Baker-Polito Administration and fellow Legislators from both sides of the aisle, Senator Gobi, as Chair, was instrumental in moving this over the goal line.

This Environmental Bond Bill, in addition to grant programs supporting improvements in environmental efficiency, energy independence, and climate change resiliency for agriculture and horticulture, would also allow for the authorization to bond $25 Million in funding to invest, design, build and repair the Commonwealth’s trails so they can be enjoyed for snowmobiles and other recreational activities. The Commonwealth, in particular Central Massachusetts, is blessed

with an abundance of state parks and resources, and Senator Gobi’s efforts have certainly allowed for greater access and availability. Additionally, she has spearheaded the continuing effort in the Senate to pass legislation that would establish a snowmobile educational safety program, and promote snowmobile safety standards by requiring a trail pass through regional clubs. She understands that the promotion of safe and environmentally responsible recreational activities like family snowmobiling represent an economic opportunity that, unlike our neighboring states, has yet to be fully tapped. Not resting on the status quo, Senator Gobi is actively working to make that opportunity a reality.

Through her time and experiences in the Legislature, Senator Gobi has developed the kind of understanding and effectiveness of which many a legislator would be envious. These formidable

skills are not just directed toward policy, but also through her attention to individual constituent issues. Whether you’re a dairy farmer, flower grower, nursery owner or snowmobile enthusiast with a question, you can always count on her and her courteous and professional staff for an answer. A responsible and responsive legislator well-steeped in the issues that impact real working families in Central Massachusetts and throughout the Commonwealth who brings with her the voices of agriculture, recreation and the rural economy every time she travels to the State House, Anne Gobi has proven her worth to us time and time again. If again elected State Senator, we have faith that she will continue that good work.

Signed,

Jeff Miller
President, Snowmobile Association of Massachusetts

Tim Hay
President, Massachusetts Nursery and Landscape Association

Bart King
President, Massachusetts Flower Growers’ Association

David Shepard
President, Massachusetts Association of Dairy Farmers

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