Ethan Flaherty will serve as legislative aide
WESTFIELD – Westfield’s state Rep-elect Kelly Pease has been busy since his election.
First, he said, he “took care of all the chores around the house that I neglected during the campaign, including picking up all my leaves.”
As far as preparing for his newly elected position, Pease has secured space for his district office in the Westwood Building in Suite 301N, selecting staff and attending meetings.
“I have been busy with many zoom meetings with various organizations throughout the Commonwealth and with leadership and staff at the State House in preparation of taking office on Jan. 6,” he said.
Pease also hired his legislative aide.
“I am proud to announce that Ethan Flaherty will serve in that role,” Pease said of his former opponent for the seat he won in November. “He is an outstanding young man and will do a fantastic job of serving me and the City of Westfield.”
Pease said since he is filling the seat vacated by state Sen. John C. Velis, he inquired about beginning his term early and ending the year in the House, however he discovered only a special election warrants an early start. He has, however, been doing his homework and is ready for the challenges ahead that are mainly due to the pandemic.
“I am optimistic about the future of our state but understand that 2021 will be a difficult year as we recover from the impacts of this virus. The FY22 budget process is going to be challenging for all elected officials at the State House,” Pease said. “I will advocate for the City of Westfield and hope that my colleagues will prioritize items in the budget that will have the biggest impact on helping our cities and towns.”
His Jan. 6 swearing-in ceremony details are not clear, but he is anxious to get to work.
“After speaking with the leadership team at the State House this past week, they are still trying to figure out how they will handle the swearing in of new representatives given the Covid-19 environment,” he said. “Normally family do attend but given the current environment they are looking at maybe an outside ceremony and I hope my family can be a part of this special event.”
Pease has plans for his early days in office, including filing several bills.
“I have a few bills that will address items for our schools and roads. I am preparing them for submission prior to the Jan. 15 deadline for the FY21 legislative session,” said Pease. “Currently both the House and Senate are doing all their meetings and votes over the phone. I hope that we can get to the point that I can be in Boston to interact with my colleagues and build those relationships in person.”
Pease has many plans to make sure Westfield is represented, with several items rising to the top.
“My top priorities are to get adequate funding for our roads, schools and any help dealing with PFAS in our water,” he said. “As I stated during the campaign, I want to advocate for fiscal responsibility at the State House, while increasing funding for all cities and towns priorities, such as roads and schools. The FY22 budget will be very challenging with the impact that Covid-19 has had on our economy and being fiscally responsible will be that much more important as we navigate that process.”
Reflecting on 2020, Pease said it was a difficult year.
“This is a tough time for everyone,” Pease said. “Covid-19 has really been devastating for families and businesses. The loss of loved ones, the impact on businesses, and our schools dealing with remote learning has really taken a toll on all of us in one way or another. With a vaccine starting to be distributed, there is a light at the end of the tunnel. I am optimistic going into 2021 but understand there will be a big impact to our economy and the FY22 state budget.”