Rep. John Velis
This week has been a very busy week for us at the Legislature! I worked constantly in order to help get Westfield on the map and at the table so that we were heard for what was needed for us. The odd weather, just keeps continuing here. The winds were very strong and ended up delaying or closing schools and bringing down many trees, so I hope you all stay safe with all that going on.
This week the Governor’s Supplemental Budget was heard by the House and the whole week was dedicated to preparing for this bill. On Tuesday I worked tirelessly to formulate the best amendment for the budget that would best help the City of Westfield. As many of you might know, the Governor’s Supplemental Budget bill makes a $24 million investment for the testing of potential per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) contamination of water supplies and for grants to support treatment and remediation of affected public drinking water systems, and $35 million for the Clean Water Trust Fund.
The fund that I filed the amendment for was a separate pool of money that allocated $8.4 million to the testing of water supplies and for grants to support treatment and design of affected drinking water systems. The amendment I filed sought to remedy the situation that Westfield has been put in where we are ahead of the state in regards to testing. The unique situation that Westfield finds itself in is now we may be looking for reimbursement from the state as we already did the testing and tried to solve some of the structural issues related to PFAS contamination. The amendment I filed was accepted in the House bill and hopefully will pass the Senate and Governor, so there is still a long way to go, but it is a pretty good start. As a whole the budget was passed as well and it was an increase to the Commonwealth of Massachusetts’ “Rainy Day Fund” that will be used to, among other things, invest in local infrastructure projects, fight the opioid crisis while providing emergency funding for towns affected by the tornados on Cape Cod this past summer.
These past few weeks I have had the opportunity to spend a good amount of time at Southampton Road Elementary School. I was able to say hello to all the students as they came to school whether it was by walking with their family or arriving on the buses. I was able to hand out signs to them that they are able to pass around at school to say hello to each other as well. I love the idea and energy behind it because it may be a small action, but it is so important just saying hello and giving a few high-fives to recognize each other. I also was able to go to Southampton Road Elementary again to discuss with the second grade class about serving our community. We discussed the important themes of service and leadership and how important every person is in a community. This is something I truly believe to be so important as a member of the U.S. Army and a State Representative, the idea of responsibility to your community and within that community is something I hold in high regard in my life.
As always, if you have any questions or concerns about bills or any other issue, please don’t hesitate to reach out! My office can be reached at [email protected] or (413) 572-3920. Have a great week!