- Associated Press - Friday, September 18, 2015

BOSTON (AP) - Gov. Charlie Baker is heading to Pennsylvania to be the featured speaker at the fall dinner of the state’s Republican Party.

Baker defended his decision to address fellow Republicans Friday night. He said Pennsylvania loaned Massachusetts much-needed snow-clearing equipment during storms that buried Massachusetts last winter.

Baker said the trip is his small way of repaying Pennsylvania. He said it’s good to have friends in other states if another tough winter hits Massachusetts.

Democrats have faulted Baker for the out-of-state trip, which wasn’t included on Baker’s Friday public schedule.

Whenever Baker leaves the state, Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito becomes acting governor until his return.

Baker is planning to attend the Big E fair in West Springfield Saturday morning.

Baker said his primary focus is Massachusetts.

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