Diana Embarks on Merrimack Valley Manufacturing Tour

Diana meets with employees at Jessica's Brick Oven in North Andover.

Diana meets with employees at Jessica’s Brick Oven in North Andover.

Diana, a member of the Legislature’s bipartisan Manufacturing Caucus, hosted several of her caucus colleagues on a Manufacturing Tour across the Merrimack Valley on Thursday, June 12.

Through the Manufacturing Tour, the Representative was able to introduce members of the caucus to four of the Merrimack Valley’s businesses, hear their concerns and see firsthand the things they are doing every day in the region. Diana was also joined by David A. Tibbetts, President of the Merrimack Valley Economic Development Council, and Peter Milano, Senior Regional Director at the Massachusetts Office of Business Development.

The tour came one day following the Massachusetts House of Representatives’ passage of an economic development package, which includes a sales tax holiday to take effect on August 16 and 17.

Among initiatives included in the package was $250,000 toward a competitive grant program, to be administered by the Small Business Association of New England, to avert layoffs at manufacturing companies through technical assistance and management consulting. The legislation also provides $500,000 for a study of Massachusetts Manufacturing Industries to identify barriers to growth, assess global market opportunities and develop a strategic roadmap for future industry growth.

On the heels of the Manufacturing Tour, Diana announced she would be co-sponsoring manufacturing legislation alongside fellow caucus member State Representative Jonathan D. Zlotnik (D-Gardner). The bill, An Act Relative to the Taxation of Inventory in Manufacturing, is designed to gradually eliminate the inventory tax manufacturers pay on raw materials over a period of four years.

During the tour, the Representative visited three businesses based in North Andover: PanelClaw, Inc., a photovoltaic mounting systems supplier for flat roof and ground mount applications; Jessica’s Brick Oven, a wholesale bakery famous for its artisan bread; and Bake’n Joy Foods, a manufacturer of high-quality food items for more than 70 years.

The Representative also made a stop in Lawrence, visiting Solectria Renewables, a leading PV inverter, string combiner and web-based monitoring company for solar projects.

“Local manufacturers are the backbone of our economy, in the Merrimack Valley and across the Commonwealth, and vital to ensuring job creation and growth,” said Diana, who represents communities in North Andover, Methuen, Lawrence and Haverhill. “We in the Legislature must create a climate that fosters success and that is why I have signed on as a co-sponsor to common-sense legislation to ease the tax burden on manufacturers in the Commonwealth. I want to express my gratitude to these four businesses for giving me the opportunity to hear from them directly and will ensure their concerns are heard loud and clear on Beacon Hill.”

“Manufacturing companies like Solectria Renewables are vitally important for economic growth since we provide jobs across a broad spectrum of the Massachusetts workforce,” said Anita Rajan Worden, Chairman of Solectria Renewables. “We believe it is vitally important for members of our legislative body to take tours of facilities like Solectria’s to understand and appreciate the efforts we are making to create long lasting jobs in the Commonwealth. Through direct interaction with our companies, Rep. DiZoglio and the rest of the Manufacturing Caucus will likely make informed decisions that encourage more companies to manufacture in Massachusetts.”

“It was very helpful speaking with Representative DiZoglio about the issues important to us and to the Legislature,” said Nabil Boghos, President of Jessica’s Brick Oven. “She took a real interest in trying to help us and in the manufacturing industry as a whole.”

“The Merrimack Valley is home to manufacturers both small and large that face daily challenges such as finding a well-trained workforce and dealing with the high costs of doing business in Massachusetts,” said David A. Tibbetts, President of the Merrimack Valley Economic Development Council. “I commend Rep. DiZoglio for reaching out to the businesses in her district to see and hear first-hand about the challenges they face, and to commit to fighting for small businesses and manufacturers on Beacon Hill.”

“As a member of the newly formed Manufacturing Caucus, I applaud Representative DiZoglio for her leadership in initiating and conducting a manufacturing tour in Merrimack Valley,” said State Representative James Arciero (D-Westford). “This effort highlights the needs of the manufacturing sector of our economy and the potential for public-private partnerships to create additional jobs in the future.”