Mass Democrats speak at Northeastern

Mass Democrats speak at Northeastern

By Samantha Egan

U.S. Senator John Kerry, D-Mass, appeared in the Curry Student Center indoor quad last Friday to host his Second Annual Procurement Conference and Business Expo, along with Mass. Governor Deval Patrick, Boston Mayor Thomas Menino and Northeastern President Joseph Aoun.

Six hundred people attended the day-long session, the majority of whom were small business owners and students. The first floor of the student center was filled with tables sponsored by organizations like Boston’s Better Business Bureau. The event centered on a theme of support for small businesses in Boston, and closed with speeches from President Aoun, Senator Kerry, Mayor Menino and Governor Patrick.

Aoun expressed his gratitude to Kerry for sponsoring the convention, and said Northeastern is “very interested and concerned about economic development.”

All the speakers emphasized the importance of small businesses to overall economic prosperity.

“While big businesses get the headlines, small businesses are the foundation of a strong economy,” Menino said. “Boston is ripe with such opportunity.”

Patrick’s speech addressed students, and emphasized connections between the growth of small businesses and college students in Boston. He spoke directly to students when he said “unless we grow economic opportunity for you, our future is in jeopardy.”

He advised college students in Boston to “stay here because this is going to be where the action is.”

Kerry praised the university for the contributions its students make to the Massachusetts economy.

“Northeastern is one of our jewels,” he said. “This is a place where people learn skills and get wonderful jobs.”

Kerry told the crowd about his spontaneous decision to open a cookie shop in Faneuil Hall, a result of a craving he and a friend had one night after a “bottle of wine too many.”

Seniors Meghan Fitzgerald, a marketing major, and Maria Sodawala, a management information systems major, both attended the event to hear the speeches.

“It’s not every day the senator comes to speak,” Sodawala said.

They said they appreciated Patrick’s encouragement for students to be part of shaping the future.

“He made us feel we, as students, can contribute to success – that we are the future,” Fitzgerald said.

Josh Robin, president of the College Democrats, said he attended the event to see what the speakers had to say. He said he felt important issues were discussed and said he particularly enjoyed Patrick’s closing remarks.

“It was good when he spoke to the students,” Robin said. “People rarely do.”

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