The last week of February is upon us. It seems to be thawing, so fingers crossed that Spring is coming a bit early this year and we can start to enjoy some warmer weather. This week was just as busy as ever and I’m sure my staffers are starting to doubt me when I say, “Things should slow down next week.”
To start it off, I had a very productive meeting on Monday with Mayor Nicole LaChapelle of Easthampton and Congressman Richard Neal, who represents most of Western Mass and all of my district in the U.S. House of Representatives. Among other things, we discussed how the next federal stimulus package will be dispersed. Federal aid is vital to ensure that our communities can recover from the pandemic.
I also attended the Russell town meeting this past week. Our hilltowns have had their own unique challenges both before and now during the pandemic. This meeting’s purpose was to address these and determine how the State legislature can best help as we move forward in the new legislative session.
This week the legislature also held its first oversight hearing on the state’s vaccine rollout and heard directly from Administration officials, including Governor Baker himself. My colleagues questioned the Administration on vaccination sites and the appointment website among other issues, and pushed for improvements and more equitable vaccine distributions. Last week I also joined colleagues on a letter to Governor Baker calling for more municipal and community sites, which I believe will improve vaccination accessibility as our supply expands.
On Thursday I was lucky enough to get out to the Westfield Council On Aging to hand out some bagged lunches. After one too many virtual meetings, it felt invigorating to get out in the community and tangibly help our seniors. It was a great afternoon for it and it was so nice to see so many familiar faces. I just can’t wait for the day when I can start calling bingo games at the Senior Center again.
To finish my week on a high note, I had a meeting Friday morning with Girls’ Inc. This is an organization that I think deserves special merit this week. Their mission is to empower young women and forge the next generation of female leaders through both academic and extracurricular programs. I was invited alongside Representative Patricia Duffy of Holyoke to host this meeting and we discussed how we as elected officials can bolster the young women of the Pioneer Valley.
Recently, I 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/ To sign up for my quarterly newsletter, head to senatorjohnvelis.com/quarterly-newsletter/
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.