John Cain, John Velis on special election Senate ballot

John C. Velis gives the thumbs-up after turning in 1,000 signatures to earn a spot on the March 31 special election ballot. (Photo submitted)

WESTFIELD – Residents of the 11 communities of the 2nd Hampden and Hampshire senate district have two candidates in the March 31 special election to fill the seat previously held by Donald F. Humason Jr., Westfield’s new mayor.

Republican John Cain of Southwick and Westfield Democrat John C. Velis are the only candidates on the ballot.

Debra O’Malley, spokeswoman for the election office of Secretary of the Commonwealth William F. Galvin said the deadline to submit papers for the seat was Jan. 28.

“Both John Velis and John Cain are on the ballot, but no other candidates filed,” O’Malley said Wednesday.

Cain, a Navy veteran and Southwick native, handed in more than 500 certified signatures this week to claim his spot on the March ballot. A candidate needs 300 certified signatures to appear on the ballot.

“We hit every town and talked to voters while collecting signatures,” Cain said in a prepared statement. “I appreciate all the help and support I have received. Collecting signatures allowed me to initiate a discussion with the voters on what issues are important to the community and how I plan on addressing them.  I am excited by the outpouring of support I have received.”

John Cain displays more then 500 signatures he collected to earn his place on the special senate election ballot. (Photo submitted)

Cain is a business owner in Agawam and is married with a 9-year-old daughter. He said in December, when he announced that he would seek the seat, that he was approached by several members of grassroots organizations who encouraged him to run and that now is the time to make a difference.

Cain has said he wants to secure a future not only for himself, but his daughter and generations to come.  According to a press release, Cain asks that everyone vote in this election “now that they have a choice.  He encourages people to make the right choice — the choice to succeed.”

Velis, Westfield’s state representative, is a U.S. Army Reserves Major and attorney. He announced last spring his intent to run for the seat if Humason was elected mayor.

“I’m running for this state Senate seat because during my five-and-a-half years as a state representative I’ve seen not only an opening, but a need for a new type of politics in western Mass. and the Commonwealth as a whole,” Velis said after handing in more than 1,000 signatures to earn his spot on the ballot. “That new type of politics is a bipartisan approach; stressing the importance of compromise, collaboration and common sense.”
Velis said he asks himself just one question when it’s time to vote on a bill in the House: Is this good for my constituents?

“I don’t ask whether it’s a Democrat idea or a Republican idea, I ask if it’s good for the people of Westfield, who I currently represent. If it is, I vote for it, and if it isn’t I don’t,” he said. “I don’t care if that makes me a Democrat or a Republican for the day, all I care about is giving proper and equal representation to my constituents.”

Velis said he would continue that approach if elected senator.

“I will be there to represent the constituents of all 11 cities and towns in the district and not any specific political party,” he said. “That’s why I got signatures from voters in every town, have knocked doors in every town, and will continue to work to hear the problems that people face in all 11 cities and towns so I can get to work right away for all of them on April 1st.”

The district includes Agawam, part of Chicopee, Easthampton, Granville, Holyoke, Montgomery, Russell, Southampton, Southwick, Tolland and Westfield.


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