I hope everyone is enjoying the weather as it continues to get warmer. It has been nice to get out and do some yard work, grill outside, helping to coach my son’s baseball team, and just enjoying the longer days. I know we all look forward to having a more normal summer and it looks like we are heading in the right direction.
I am proud that Massachusetts has led the nation in the vaccination process. In the beginning of the roll out there were issues, but those issues were quickly identified and remedied. If the vaccine supply from the federal government continues, all eligible people that want a vaccine should have one by mid-June and I am hopeful that we can lift all restrictions by July 1st instead of the current August 1st date. I do encourage you to get the vaccine and with walk-in clinics opening there continues to be more options available. If you are having any issues getting a vaccine, please reach out to my office and we will help the best that we can.
I spent the last week of April in Boston at the State House for budget week. I was pleased that this budget did not increase taxes but am concerned about using the “Rainy Day Fund”. It is understandable that some spending is needed to help our economy to continue to recover from this pandemic. During the budget process I did advocate for some local priorities and was able to get $25K for the Boys and Girls Club to help with the expansion project and 25K for Westfield on Weekends to bring entertainment and promote businesses in the downtown area. Getting these in the House Budget is a key first step, but now the budget goes to the Senate and then the differences between the House and Senate budgets will be reconciled before going to the Governor.
The House is now starting to take up bills that were submitted for the 2021-2022 session. Starting May 18th, I will be part of a hearing with the Joint Committee on Higher Education to review and eventually vote on which bills will be approved and then brought before the full House for a vote.
This last week I had the pleasure of visiting the Boys and Girls Club with Senators Velis and Lesser. We were given an update on the expansion project by Bill Parks and Bo Sullivan. Everything is progressing on schedule and they expect the addition to open before school starts in September. As a veteran and member of the Joint Committee on Veterans and Federal Affairs it was a pleasure to be a part of the Assumption of Command ceremony for the 439th Airlift Wing at Westover Air Reserve Base with Chicopee Mayor John Vieau and fellow freshman State Representative Jake Oliveira. Congratulations to Colonel Janik and best of luck during his command.
One of the big issues currently is the Unemployment Insurance Trust Fund and the charge to businesses that are coming due. Many businesses have received quarterly bills that are ten times their normal amounts. The rules from the federal government should be out very soon on how funds from the American Rescue Plan can be used. Hopefully, those funds can be used to fix the Unemployment Insurance Trust Fund deficit and alleviate the impact on our businesses that have struggled this past year.
We continue to help constituents with various issues. If you are having problems contacting or getting an answer from State Departments or Agencies, please reach out to us and we will help to the best of our abilities to get a resolution.
If you have any questions or concerns, please reach out to Ethan or I at: [email protected] or [email protected] or by calling our office at 413-875-8787. We are located at 94 N Elm St Suite 301N in the Westwood Building.
State Representative Kelly Pease