I hope everyone has been doing well these past few rainy weeks. I have been busy with committee and caucus meetings, along with great events in Westfield.
Taking part in local events is one of my favorite parts of being your Representative. We have had a number of them over the past few weeks. Ethan attended The Technical Academy’s Aviation Maintenance Technology Graduation Ceremony at Barnes Airport in my place, and besides being younger and better looking, he gave a great speech. Congratulations to all the graduates from this one of a kind program! Earlier this month, I had a lot of fun marching in the Wyben 4th of July Parade which is always a great event.
Besides local celebrations I have continually been learning about our community’s needs. Recently, I met with Eric Oulette, Executive Director for the Westfield Chamber of Commerce, to discuss local business issues. Also, I attended the Westfield Flood Commission meeting to discuss my proposal to get funding from the ARPA and Jobs Plan to improve our dams and levees. Finally, I attended the monthly Westfield Sportsman Club meeting, both as a member and to hear any concerns as their State Representative.
I am looking forward to Troop 109’s Eagle Scout Ceremony this Saturday, July 24. Congratulations to Brandon Barnes, Alexander Dawicki, and Sean McMahon on achieving the rank of Eagle Scout! Later that afternoon I will also have the pleasure of attending a ninetieth birthday party for Stanley Osowski, a Korean War Veteran.
Other than local events, I was a part of a lot of state meetings over these few weeks.
There were a few formal sessions where votes were taken. First, was dealing with State House Rules; several amendments dealing with increasing transparency were brought forward, but all failed. For the record, I voted in favor of all measures that would increase transparency. Another session dealt with the final passage of the Fiscal Year 2022 budget that was then sent to the governor for his signature. On July 15, we took up the chapter 90 spending bill which funds transportation and roads for the 351 cities and towns in the Commonwealth. On Thursday, July 22, the House voted and passed a law that would legalize sports betting within our state; it now goes to the Senate for consideration.
As for my committee assignments, I attended hearings with the Joint Committees on Education, Higher Education, and Veterans Affairs. On July 12, the Joint Committee on Veterans Affairs organized a site visit to the Montachusett veteran outreach center in Gardner, MA. They run a great program for our veterans suffering from substance abuse, fear of suicide, and housing issues. Additionally, I was selected to be on the PFAS Inter-agency Task Force, and over the last few weeks we held two meetings to listen to communities and experts on the PFAS situation and how they are dealing with the issue. There are quite a few communities that have a lot of similar issues that Westfield is facing.
One of the major topics being discussed in the state legislature is how we will use the current ARPA money that the state received from the federal government and the potential use of the American Jobs Plan funding that is expected. I had a one on one meeting with the Representative appointed by the Speaker of the House, where I provided a briefing on the needs of the district. After consulting with city leaders, I asked for money to help with our Dams and Levees, Sewers, a UMASS PFAS Study, and funds to upgrade our parks and recreation facilities. Currently, there is not a timeline for when the House and
Senate will start distributing these funds and the state has until 2024 to allocate how the funding will be spent.
We continue to help constituents with various issues. If you are having problems contacting or getting an answer from Departments or Agencies within the Commonwealth, 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 contact 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