Opinion Editorial

Velis: Lady Liberty restoration, farm tour highlight week in district



By John Velis

Happy November! If you haven’t yet read up on the turkey shortage that’s happening this year, you may want to! It’s always good to prepare and make plans early.

This week was filled with ribbon cuttings! On Monday I attended the opening of Salon Sage+ in Southwick, and on Thursday I participated in Real Living Realty Professional’s opening in Agawam, and also attended the ribbon cutting of Holyoke Community College Homestead Market! The market will be the first convenience store at any community college in Massachusetts to accept federal SNAP benefits to combat the food insecurity that so many college students across the commonwealth continue to face.

On Monday, state Rep. Dan Sena and I hosted a legislative briefing on H700/SD2559, An Act Establishing an Elementary and Secondary School Robotics Grant Program. Robotics programs teach students so many valuable skills that prepare them for college STEM programs and our evolving workforce. Unfortunately, many schools are not able to offer these programs due to financial limitations. This bill aims to increase robotics and STEM participation in public and charter schools, specifically prioritizing schools in Western Mass. and ones without an existing robotics program.

I wanted to wish my sincerest congratulations to Mayor-elect Mike McCabe, Mayor-elect Joshua A. Garcia, Mayor Nicole LaChapelle, and Mayor William Sapelli on their election victories on Tuesday. I look forward to working alongside them all to represent and advocate for our cities. It’s been an absolute pleasure to work alongside Mayor Don Humason and Mayor Murphy and their dedication and service to our communities will be remembered for years to come.

On Thursday, I was joined by Holyoke city officials at the Veterans’ Memorial Park to present $50,000 in FY ’22 state funding for the restoration of the Lady Liberty statue. The statue is a memorial to the 55 young men from Holyoke who died fighting in the Civil War, and I was proud I could secure the funding in the budget debate last spring.

On Friday, my office held office hours at Southwick’s Council on Aging. Thank you to everyone that participated. If you didn’t get a chance to come by, I’d like to extend the invitation to my next office hours, which will be held in Chicopee on Monday, Nov. 8, at the River Mills Senior Center. Please feel free to drop by or call 617-722-1415 to make an appointment. Later in the afternoon, I organized a local farm tour for myself, Reps. Pease, Sabadosa, Duffy, and Boldyga to discuss challenges farmers in our communities face. Joining us were members of American Farmland Trust, Holyoke Food and Equity Collective, and Community Involved in Sustaining Agriculture (CISA). We visited E. Cecchi Farm in Feeding Hills, Fletcher Farms in Southampton, and Glendale Ridge Vineyard in Southampton. Farms are such an important part of our local economy and community, and we must do everything in our power to support them

Next week the Senate will be busy debating and working on the American Rescue Plan Act funding. My office has been busy meeting with local communities and organizations to hear their needs, and I look forward to advocating on the Senate floor for our district to get our fair share of this one-time funding. Engage with our social media accounts or look forward to next week’s update to learn about the proposed details of this funding.

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 [email protected] or 413-572-3920, and you can find me online at senatorjohnvelis.com, where you can also sign up for my newsletter.


John Velis, D-Westfield, represents Westfield, Southwick, Montgomery, Russell and all or part of seven other cities and towns in the state Senate.

To Top