About John

A Westfield native, John graduated from Westfield High School and earned a bachelor of arts in political science from the University of South Florida.

Following graduation John went on to earn a juris doctor from Suffolk University Law School in Boston. He established himself as a leader while working in the Hampden County Superior Court, the Massachusetts State Treasurer’s Office, and the Westfield Commission for Citizens with Disabilities.

John has also held internships at the Hampden County District Attorney’s Office, Northwestern District Attorney’s Office and the White House.

Velis Uniform

John during his second tour of duty in Afghanistan.

 In 2010, John joined the United States Army and deployed to Zabul Province, Afghanistan as part of Operation Enduring Freedom.

While in Afghanistan, John oversaw all ISAF-NATO rule of law efforts throughout the Zabul Province in the war-torn nation.

Since his return, he has continued to serve with the Army Reserve. In August 2017, he spent a month near the North Korean border, where he participated in joint military exercises with the South Korean forces in the area.

During John’s second deployment to Afghanistan, on July 4, 2018, he was promoted from Captain to Major.

Gov. Baker signs then-Representative Velis’ Stolen Valor Bill into law.

For six years prior to his Senate election in 2020, John served as State Representative for the 4th Hampden District, which consisted solely of the City of Westfield.

While serving in the House, John made Veterans across the Commonwealth one of his main priorities. Shortly after assuming office, he passed his first major bill, the “Stolen Valor” Act, which criminalized impersonation of a Veteran for financial gain. Since then, he has continued to collaborate with Veterans’ groups and has filed numerous bills to extend more benefits to Veterans in Massachusetts.

During his time in the House, John was named Legislator of the Year multiple times by the Massachusetts Veterans’ Service Officer’s Association, the Veterans of Foreign Wars Dept. of MA, the American Legion Dept. of MA, and the Disabled American Veterans Dept. of MA. 

John speaks on the Senate floor in the summer of 2020.

As State Senator, John has continued to serve not just Westfield, but now also Agawam, parts of Chicopee, Easthampton, Granville, Holyoke, Montgomery, Russell, Southampton, Southwick, and Tolland. 

Due to redistricting, the new Hampden and Hampshire District will now include West Springfield, and will no longer include Granville, Southwick, and Tolland.

Since assuming this new office in a special election in May 2020, John has delivered for the communities he represents. John is a passionate advocate for what he likes to call “kitchen table issues”, and has secured millions in funding and bonds for infrastructure and education for throughout the district.

John speaks at Barnes Air National Guard Base in Westfield.

John has also continued to champion Veterans issues in the Senate. His achievements include spearheading the passage of $400 million bond bill for the construction of a new Soldiers’ Home in Holyoke, leading state efforts to prevent the closure of the Leeds VA Medical Center in Northampton, and authoring the SPEED Act to support service-members, which has been hailed as the most impactful bill for Veterans and their families in the Commonwealth in a generation.

For the current legislative session, John was appointed Chairman of the Joint Committee on Veteran and Federal Affairs, Vice-Chair of the Joint Committee for Mental health, Substance Abuse, and Recovery, and Vice-Chair of the Joint Committee on Children, Families, and Persons with Disabilities.

John continues to reside in Westfield with his wife Emily and their son Carson.

In his free time John is an avid reader and runner. You’ll also often find him calling Bingo at Senior Centers in his communities.

For many years John also served as a volunteer basketball coach and mentor at the Greater Westfield Boys & Girls Club. He continues to stay involved with the Club and plays sports with youth throughout the district whenever he can. 

2022 Champion of Youth Award
Massachusetts Alliance of Boys & Girls Clubs

2018 Legislator of the Year
Veterans of Foreign Wars Dept. of Massachusetts

2018 Legislator of the Year
Disabled American Veterans Dept. of Massachusetts

2017 Legislator of the Year
Massachusetts Veterans’ Service Officers Association

2016 Legislator of the Year
American Legion Dept. of Massachusetts

2016 Western Mass Legislator of the Year
American Legion Dept. of Massachusetts

2015 Legislator of the Year
AMVets Dept. of Massachusetts

2015 Western Mass Legislator of the Year
Veterans of Foreign Wars Dept. of Massachusetts

John Velis is a member of the Army Reserves. Use of his rank, job title, or photos in uniform does not imply endorsement by the Army or DOD.
Paid for and authorized by the Committee to Elect John Velis.