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Yankee Candle Factory VisitOn Thursday, May 28, Governor Baker departed Beacon Hill for Western Massachusetts to tour a major Massachusetts manufacturing company, to visit a prime example of a successful public-private partnership, and to deliver a commencement address.

His first stop of the day was the Yankee Candle Factory in Whately where 500 of the company’s 1,300 Massachusetts employees work. Upon his arrival, Governor Baker toured the facility and spoke with several of the dedicated workers. As Franklin County’s number one employer, Governor Baker emphasized the impact that Yankee Candle has on the region’s economy.

In recognizing the success of Yankee Candle, whose candles are now sold in 67 countries, Governor Baker said that theirs is “a great story that [he] would like to replicate over and over” across the Commonwealth. At the end of his visit, the Governor was presented with his very own custom Yankee Candle, which included his picture, the words, “Let’s be great, Massachusetts.,” and the scent of Macintosh apples.

AAA RMV PartnershipLeaving Franklin County for Hampshire, Governor Baker cut the ribbon at the AAA location in Hadley where a partnership between the travel company and the Registry of Motor Vehicles (RMV) is making life easier for motorists.

“It’s especially a step forward in making registry services available on Saturdays when most folks are available to come and use them without having to find a way to get out of the office on a weekday,” Governor Baker said.

The Hadley AAA location, the 12th such collaboration, marks the completion of a project that has resulted in the doubling of locations where RMV services such as driver’s license and vehicle registration renewals are available. Citing that the project is already generating more than 12,000 monthly registry transactions in AAA offices, Governor Baker said he is confident that similar partnerships and future projects will lead to shortened wait times, decreased travel times, and more reliable and customer-oriented facilities.

“You are going to see more of this,” Governor Baker promised.

The Governor also received some local produce while at AAA: a bag of asparagus. The green vegetable is one of Hadley’s biggest agricultural offerings, and a crop that just so happens to be in season right now.

STCCAs his trip to Western Massachusetts was coming to a close, Governor Baker delivered an inspiring commencement address at Springfield Technical Community College, the only such institution in the state higher education system. In an effort to keep it simple and straightforward, he emphasized three clear pieces of advice: “Be constructive, be positive, and focus on what works.”

Not only is failure okay, Governor Baker told the graduates, it is necessary on the path to success. Relaying a story from 2010, the Governor mentioned how odd it was to receive a request from the organizer of a robotics competition to speak to the competitors after he had lost the race. The subject he wanted the recently defeated candidate to speak on: “I want you to tell the kids why it is OK to fail.”

At the end of his remarks at STCC, the Governor spoke about the way his parents raised him and his brothers: to “play the hand” they were dealt, without complaint or self-pity, no matter how difficult the cards. When his mother was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease, he told the graduates that the time had come for him to see his parents do just as they had taught him: play the hand they were dealt. For his mother, that meant never complaining and being grateful for the memories already made. For his father, it was standing by his wife and supporting her throughout her fight.


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