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Gov. Healey appoints Anne Gobi as Massachusetts' first director of rural affairs

 State Senator Anne Gobi speaks at an event in Brookfield, Massachusetts in 2017.
Jesse Costa
State Senator Anne Gobi speaks at an event in Brookfield, Massachusetts in 2017.

Massachusetts Gov. Maura Healey has announced that state Sen. Anne Gobi, D-Spencer, has been chosen as the commonwealth's first director of rural affairs.

Gobi currently represents 22 communities in Worcester and Hampshire counties.

In her new role, she'll be advocating in Boston for the needs of rural towns, many of which are in the western part of the state.

State Rep. Natalie Blais, D-Deerfield, who represents the First Franklin District, applauded the choice.

"I know Anne as a fierce advocate for rural communities," she said. "I know Anne as somebody who is not afraid to ask the tough questions and demand answers. And she has established herself as a statewide leader in rural affairs as a legislator and I'm really really looking forward to working with her in this new role."

Linda Dunlavy, the executive director of the Franklin Regional Council of Governments, also praised Gobi's appointment.

"She knows every legislator," Dunlavy said. "She knows how the legislature works. She has relationships with every state state agency already. So the built-in networks and relationships is an extraordinary thing. But she is also very familiar with rural communities and rural issues."

Healey has said that one of the key tasks for the new director will be to review all state grant opportunities to ensure barriers for rural and small towns are limited.

Gobi starts in the new job in a few weeks.

Before joining New England Public Media, Alden was a producer for the CBS NEWS program 60 Minutes. In that role, he covered topics ranging from art, music and medicine to business, education and politics.