WESTFIELD – State Rep. John C. Velis, D-Westfield, is officially running for the 2nd Hampden and Hampshire State Senate seat.
The announcement followed a joint press conference where mayoral candidate Michael A. McCabe conceded the election to state Sen. Donald F. Humason Jr. The two candidates were separated by just 90 votes and McCabe considered a recount but announced Nov. 8 he would concede.
Humason will officially resign his senate seat before being sworn-in as mayor in January. When Humason announced his candidacy for Westfield mayor late last winter, Velis said he would run for his seat.
Velis, an attorney, was elected Westfield’s state representative in 2014 in a special election. He plans to run for the senate seat in another special election which will be determined after Humason resigns.
Velis, a Major in the U.S. Army Reserves, has twice been deployed to Afghanistan.
The 2nd Hampden and Hampshire District includes Agawam, Westfield, Holyoke, Easthampton, Southampton, Tolland, Montgomery, Granville, Russell, Southwick and parts of Chicopee.
According to a press release, “for the past eight months, Velis has been out in every city and town listening extensively to what residents want from their state senator. People have made it clear they’re looking for someone to go down to Boston and fight for Western Mass.”
Velis said he has been listening to residents.
“I have been door-knocking, going directly to people’s homes to meet them and learn more about their concerns and what they will expect out of their next state official,” said Velis.
“This is a large and diverse Senate district and I have been openly speaking with community and business leaders as well as with elected officials. I have learned a great deal about what is important to the people of this district. I am overwhelmed with the pledges of support that I have received, not just for the campaign, but more importantly, to work with me if we are able to earn the right to represent this district,” said Velis.
Velis said constituents want nonpartisan politics.
“What people have told me is that they are sick of the partisan politics at all levels of government and need someone to go beyond that. They are focused on electing someone who is willing to compromise to the 2nd Hampden and Hampshire District. I have demonstrated bipartisan leadership through my voting record and time in the legislature in order to get things done and I intend to do the same as a senator,” said Velis.
Velis, a democrat, has crossed party lines numerous times in the House and he will continue to do so, he has said.
“This Senate seat is too important to the people of the towns and cities in it to leave the seat open without fierce representation at the State House for any length of time. We all know that in Western Massachusetts we have to fight so much harder and lift our voices higher and louder to be heard,” said Velis.
“Like many people in the state senate district, I am looking forward to the date of the special election,” he added.