SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – Efforts to foster a closer relationship between eastern and western Massachusetts are underway but some lawmakers believe the current divide can deepen if left unchecked.

In his farewell senate speech on Monday, Senator Eric Lesser highlighted the divide between the eastern and western parts of the state, both economically and geographically, saying it’s harmful to the Commonwealth as a whole.

Lesser has been a strong advocate of the East-West rail project, which he believes will improve economic development substantially. 22News asked Springfield Mayor Domenic Sarno his thoughts on this divide, and how he’s feeling about working with the incoming Healy-Driscoll Administration to advocate for western Massachusetts.

“Maybe we have to shout a little bit louder to make sure western Massachusetts is recognized, in my case I’m very parochial, the city of Springfield is recognized. We’ve done pretty well here but I’m always hungry for more and I will continue to be diplomatically aggressive,” said Sarno.

Sarno called his relationship with the Baker-Polito Administration “unprecedented” in terms of communication and expressed optimism that this will continue with the Healy-Driscoll Administration.