Rep. John Velis
It is officially November now where we start to wind down for the year before many big holidays. It was great that many kids were able to go and trick-or-treat despite the weather being less than ideal. Though we were not in session this week, it was still as busy as ever working with constituents and helping as many people as I can.
This week the legislative PFAS Caucus that I established had an informative meeting at UMass Amherst with the amazing professors from many schools such as the School of Public Health and Health Sciences, College of Natural Sciences, College of Engineering, and other chemists working at UMass labs. The many professors who study PFAS in their particular research areas and the wealth of knowledge they bring to the table was truly astounding and very informative. As you may know, PFAS contamination is a growing environmental and public health concern. At present, there are already several confirmed cases of PFAS-contaminated drinking water in Massachusetts. With the science and understanding of these “forever chemicals” quickly evolving, it is likely that more sources will be identified in the coming years.
Some of the PFAS Caucus members were able to attend such as Senator Joanne Comerford and Representative Dan Carey. It was great to come together on a subject that effects many of our communities and constituents are concerned about and want to make sure we are doing the best with the most information we have. This workshop, PFAS 101: Current Research and Health Risks, consisted of analyzing the already existing research and touring the amazing Water & Energy Testing (WET) labs. The City of Westfield has already taken steps, and this workshop was a great opportunity for the legislators and other elected officials to learn more about potential long-term effects that we are still learning more about through the research going on at UMass Amherst WET labs.
I also just wanted to talk about the importance of voting with the upcoming election on Tuesday, November 5th. Make sure you find out where your polling place is if you don’t know and review the issues that are represented in this election with what the candidates are interested in. The primary election in Westfield only had a 15% turnout which is unfortunate. This is something we have to improve on. The ability to vote in our country is such an important right that we get to exercise every few years. So when Tuesday comes around, try to be informed on what is happening, who is on the ballot, and who you think will represent you best, so make sure you get out and vote!
As always, if you have any questions or concerns about bills or any other issue, please don’t hesitate to reach out! My office can be reached at [email protected] or (413) 572-3920. Have a great week!