News Briefs: Hinds named chair of Senate tourism committee, vice chair of economic development

According to 1Berkshire, spending in Berkshire County by visitors has increased by more than 25 percent in five years, equaling more than $453 million.

Hinds named chair of Senate tourism committee, vice chair of economic development

Senate tourism committee chair Adam Hinds delivers the keynote address at a gathering of MASSCreative member organizations at the Mount in Lenox on Dec. 16, 2016, when he was Senator-elect. Photo courtesy of the office of State Sen. Adam Hinds
Senate tourism committee chair Adam Hinds delivers the keynote address at a gathering of MASSCreative member organizations at the Mount in Lenox on Dec. 16, 2016, when he was Senator-elect. Photo courtesy of the office of State Sen. Adam Hinds

Boston — State Sen. Adam G. Hinds, D-Pittsfield, announced yesterday that he has been named Senate chair of the Joint Committee on Tourism, Arts and Cultural Development as well as Senate vice-chair of the Joint Committee on Economic Development and Emerging Technologies.

The Joint Committee on Tourism has jurisdiction over all legislation concerning tourism, arts and cultural development in the Commonwealth. State Sen. Julian Cyr, D-Truro, will serve as Hinds’ vice chair.

According to 1Berkshire, spending in Berkshire County by visitors has increased by more than 25 percent in five years, equaling more than $453 million. Statewide, tourism is recognized as the Number 3 industry in Massachusetts, accounting for 135,000 jobs, $1.3 billion in annual tax revenue and $20.2 billion in direct spending.

The Joint Committee on Economic Development, chaired by State Sen. Eric Lesser, D-Longmeadow, oversees commercial and industrial establishments; casino gambling and gaming; industrial development, science and technology; research and development; information, networking, the internet, data storage and access; biotechnology and medical devices; environmental technologies; and workforce training.

In addition to his chairmanship and vice chairmanship, Hinds will serve on several other policy committees with jurisdiction over matters important to western Massachusetts:

  • Joint Committee on Higher Education;
  • Joint Committee on Housing;
  • Joint Committee on Mental Health, Substance Abuse and Recovery;
  • Joint Committee on Municipalities and Regional Government; and the
  • Senate Standing Committee on Intergovernmental Affairs.

Further, Hinds serves as the Senate co-chair of the Rural Caucus and is an active member of the Gateway Cities, Regional School Districts, and Regional Transit Authorities caucuses.