News Study Session

Study Session: State Director of Rural Affairs Anne Gobi

Study Session with State  Director of Rural Affairs Anne Gobi

Thursday, June 29, 2023, 3:30 to 4:30 p.m.

Anne Gobi

Director of Rural Affairs Anne Gobi will be the featured guest for a DignityMA Study Session scheduled for Thursday, June 29, 2023, from 3:30 to 4:30 p.m.

Former State Senator Anne Gobi was selected by Gov. Maura Healey in May to be the state’s first director of rural affairs serving as an advocate and ombudsman regarding issues of concern as well as opportunities within rural communities throughout the Commonwealth. Her position is located within the Executive Office of Economic Development.

Director Gobi will make opening remarks and then will have a dialogue with participants. Issues expected to be covered include public transportation; public health resources; home care; mental health, substance use, and social services; affordable, accessible housing; and caregiving workforce.

The Study Session is open to all. Pre-registration is not required.
Meeting ID: 832 7746 8849
Passcode: 926621
One tap mobile: 16469313860
Telephone: 1 646 931 3860

An Overview of Challenges for Older Adults and People with Disabilities in Rural Areas

Thank you to Dignity Alliance MA member, Jim Lamostro, for this in-depth information! Read Older Adults and Disabled Persons in Rural Areas.pdf.

From the media about Anne Gobi’s appointment:

New role as director of rural affairs means new challenges for Sen. Anne Gobi of Spencer

Worcester Telegram and Gazette, June 24, 2023

Rural Massachusetts faces transportation, housing crunch: new director of rural affairs says concerns are similar to more urban areas but need different approaches, fixes…

[Anne]  Gobi will serve as the ambassador for 181 communities spread across Massachusetts. Working through the Executive Office of Economic Development, Gobi will be seeing to the needs of the smaller, more rural communities, addressing their challenges, and ensuring their economic well-being. . .

And while rural Massachusetts feeds and waters the state, rural communities need investment and support in return, Gobi said, pointing out the needs: investment in infrastructure, including public transportation, municipal water and sewer projects; broadband access; housing and, in many communities, even sidewalks.

In addition to visiting all of the state’s rural areas . . . her top priority is to ensure that state funding is dispersed in an equitable fashion. Rural communities should not be left out of Beacon Hill funding equations or shortchanged when it comes to handing out funds. . .

While all of Massachusetts is struggling with housing issues, rural communities face different challenges. Central and western areas are contending with an aging population of residents, many of whom may be seeking to downsize but are unable to do so for lack of affordable alternative units.

Communities need options where senior residents can age in place, options for young people just starting out in life, and safe, affordable housing for everybody, Gobi said. Rural areas need investment in broadband infrastructure. . .

“I’m hearing a lot about in-law apartments, accessory dwellings, tiny homes,” Gobi said, alluding to possible solutions to the lack of housing.

State Sen. Anne Gobi will become Massachusetts’ first director of rural affairs starting June 5

The Berkshire Eagle, May 31, 2023

I believe Gobi’s tenure as our first director of rural affairs will eventually encompass rural health, too. How could it not? Just last week, UMass Memorial Health system informed the state Department of Public Health of its plan to close the labor and delivery unit at Leominster Hospital this fall. Of course, maternity ward closures represent unique chicken or egg causality dilemmas.

For many rural residents across the Bay State, other dilemmas include broadband, childcare, housing, jobs, and transit. Think about it: In places known for workforce shortages, aging infrastructure, and remote locations, rural Massachusetts residents deserve more from state government.