Westfield Newsroom

Soldiers’ Home hearing and bond bill, downtown business openings highlight Velis’ week

Greetings Everyone, I hope you’ve all been enjoying this excellent weather. I almost can’t believe what a beautiful spring we’ve been having.

State Sen. John Velis presents a citation to Hilltown Chic owner Cassie Cyr April 9 during a ribbon cutting for three city businesses on School Street. (JOHN VELIS PHOTO)

To start the week, the bond bill that would finance the reconstruction of the Holyoke Soldiers’ Home was the subject of another hearing by the Joint Committee on Bonding, Expenditures, and State Assets. The Holyoke Soldiers’ Home is an essential service for Veterans in the Commonwealth, a population amongst which I proudly count myself. I testified strongly in favor the bill and I would like to stress again how important it is that we pass it quickly so that DCAMM, the Division of Capital Asset Management and Maintenance, has as much time as possible to work on the design.

There was also another hearing this week held by the Special Joint Oversight Committee on the Holyoke Soldiers’ Home COVID-19 outbreak. This week’s hearing was focused on the structure of healthcare at the Home and what failures of this structure contributed to the tragedy in the spring of 2020. These testimonies are crucial to knowing how we can rebuild the Home to make sure that an outbreak like the COVID-19 never happens again and that Veterans in the Home receive the world class care they deserve.

This past Tuesday I had an introductory meeting with officials from the Massachusetts Military Asset and Security Strategy Task Force, including Executive Director John Beatty. This executive task force works to promote and strengthen the Commonwealth’s six military installations and their impact on local communities and economies at the federal, state and local level. As Chairman of the Committee on Veterans and Federal Affairs, I will be working closely with the Task Force this session on legislative issues.

On Friday I joined State Rep. Kelly Pease and Westfield City officials at a ribbon cutting ceremony for three new businesses in downtown Westfield! Hilltown Chic, Be Bella Boutique, and Boho Hair studio are three new women-owned businesses now open on School Street, and I was honored to help celebrate their grand opening.

I’d also like to congratulate the UMass Men’s Hockey team on winning the NCAA Semi finals this past Thursday night. It was a late one but worth the watch for an overtime after midnight win. They may not be in my district per se, but we are still proud nonetheless that Western Mass’s very own Minutemen will be going for the Championship tonight. Go UMass!

I’ve also started sending out both quarterly newsletters and weekly email updates regarding the COVID-19 vaccination rollout. To sign up for my COVID-19 updates, head to senatorjohnvelis.com/covid-19-updates/ and you can sign up at senatorjohnvelis.com/newsletter/ to receive the newsletter right in your email inbox. 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: (413) 572-3920 and you can find me online at senatorjohnvelis.com. John Velis

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