I hope that you all had a pleasant long weekend and the wet weather didn’t do too much to dampen your holiday spirits! While less than ideal for outdoor gatherings, the recent rain is great for our local farms and greenery. On the Fourth itself I joined community members for the annual Wyben 4th of July of Parade and I want to thank all the organizers who make this great event possible each year.
After enjoying the break ourselves, my office got back into the swing of things on Tuesday with another busy summer week. Tuesday I went down to the State House where I co-chaired the first hearing for the Joint committee on Veterans and Federal Affairs. At the hearing, I was thankful for the opportunity to testify in support of the SPEED act, a bill devoted to supporting the families of military service members who are moving to Massachusetts. This key piece of legislation would support the spouses of military members by accelerating MA’s professional licensure procedure so that they are not left unable to work for an extended period of time after moving to the Commonwealth. In order to support the children in these families, the bill would allow advance enrollment for students so that they will not have to miss days of school. I believe that, in order to uphold our state’s commitment to supporting the work of military members, we must pass this legislation. Furthermore, the passage of this bill would have the added benefit of signaling to the Federal Department of Defense and military officials that Massachusetts military bases, like Barnes in Westfield, are well supported and are viable for federal investments.
Also on Tuesday Senator Gomez presented a joint Senate citation from our offices to Chicopee Police Officers Wanat and Delarosa, who heroically saved a little girl’s life after nearly drowning on June 12th. While I could not attend the ceremony due to the Veterans hearing in Boston, I am grateful for Senator Gomez for presenting the citation. Thank you to Officers Wanat and Delarosa, and all the police officers in our communities, for all that you do to keep us safe every single day.
On Wednesday I had a great time getting interviewed by a student from Westfield State, Lyric Lamafdelaine. We chatted about how I got into politics, and it was my pleasure to be able to help out with their school project. Afterward, I attended a hearing for the Joint Committee on Children, Families, and Persons with Disabilities where we went over several different pieces of legislation. I strongly believe in the importance of the work done by this committee and I am honored to serve as its vice chair.
On Friday I had several great meetings with constituents in our district. One expressed their hopes of starting a business in the area, and the other shared plans to join the Airforce, allowing me the opportunity to talk a bit about my own military experience. I always enjoy the chance to speak with residents and hear about their ambitions and contributions to our community.
I finished out the week on a saddening yet significant note at the 75 year memorial of the B-17 crash at Mount Tom in Holyoke. For those who may be unfamiliar with the tragic event, 25 servicemen returning home from WWII lost their lives in 1946 when their B-17 plane crashed into Mount Tom. Congressman Neal, Representative Duffy, Mayor Murphy, and I attended the memorial event alongside family members and the Mount Tom Memorial Committee. We remembered and honored those aboard the plane for their service to our nation. We continue to be thankful for all the brave American men and women who put their lives in danger every day in order to protect our citizens.
As always, if there is anything I can do to assist you, please never hesitate to reach out to my office. I can be reached at my email: [email protected] or by phone: (617)-722-1415, and you can find me online at senatorjohnvelis.com, where you can also sign up for my newsletter.