From Yom Kippur to the State House to axe throwing, Velis recaps his week

Rep. John Velis

Hello Westfield!

 I hope you have all had a good week with this cold weather getting more and more pervasive as we get farther into Halloween season, you can see all of the decorations coming out! This week was Yom Kippur and many people were given the opportunity in the State House to observe it by not holding formal session for those who celebrate. Not having session allowed me to spend more time in the district working on constituent issues and getting boots on the ground to help you all best I can.

Though I did not need to go into Boston this week to the State House, I still had a great opportunity to meet with my fellow legislators to discuss legislation that effects this area and how we can continue to work to impact our constituents’ lives in the best way possible.  We all came together to meet for the Economic Summit on Workforce Development. There were pieces of legislation discussed including the bill filed by Rep. Vega of Holyoke regarding the impact of the cliff effect.  The bill would create a pilot program to mitigate cliff effects for low-income individuals or families who work while receiving public assistance.  These individuals often times will be on the ‘cliff’ between needing assistance and not, but as of now there is no established way to gradually reduce the amount of benefits they receive as their income begins to increase.  This bill would provide mentoring, planning, and financial wellness to assist those who experience the cliff effect.  Though this bill is still in committee, it is always important to sit down with my co-legislators so that we can discuss these topics.

This week I got the opportunity to support many great causes that are worth noting.  I was able to participate in an axe throwing contest for the benefit of Rosie Robotics, a group whose mission is to inspire young people to be innovators and leaders in science and technology.  Rosie Robotics competes in the FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) Robotics Competition. They teach professionalism and good sportsmanship in competition.  They are a great organization that works to help anyone learn about these important fields.

I had the pleasure of going to the Girls Inc. of the Valley event Speaking Out for Women and Girls.  It was amazing to get to listen to all of the inspiring stories these women told throughout the night. I had the opportunity to speak with many of these inspirational women and was struck by their leadership in their community and dedication to the spirit of Girls Inc. to empower women in all facets of life. I always enjoy going to events run by this organization and learning about what is happening around us in the area.

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!

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