Investing in Education
John understands the importance of a strong, well-funded education system that can create leaders and prepare workers for the skills of 21st century jobs. A proud product of Westfield’s public education system and a strong advocate for our teachers, he was one of 35 legislators to vote “no” on a bill authorizing the expansion of charter schools in certain communities.
Working for Fiscal Responsibility
A fiscally conservative Democrat, in his role as a Massachusetts State Representative, John supported a $36.3 billion fiscal year 2015 budget with no increase to taxes for Massachusetts residents. He understands how hard it is for families to balance their budgets and understands that many families are on a fixed income. He will work to find ways to provide valuable services and improve the state’s infrastructure without overburdening workers.
Growing Workforce Development
John believes in addressing the skills gap within information technologies, healthcare and American manufacturing as an integral part of the Massachusetts’ growing workforce and economic development.
Fighting the Opioid Epidemic
John believes it is a miscarriage of Justice that there are not enough recovery treatment beds for the opioid epidemic in Western Mass. So many are taken from overdoses here in Hampden County due to the absence of vital treatment. John will be the change-maker in the health and well-being of those he represents.
Honoring Our Veterans
Since joining the Massachusetts legislature in 2014, John has made it a central mission to provide services to our Veterans. His first major bill, the Stolen Valor Act, criminalized the impersonation of a Veteran for one’s financial gain. The following year, he was a cosponsor of the Brave Act, which provides additional support for members of the Veterans’ community and their families, including tax credits and enhanced educational opportunities like in-state tuition for Veterans. As a Veteran himself, John’s commitment is personal and unwavering.
Protecting Our Older Adults
John has made a commitment to honor and protect our older adults by providing access to services including MassHealth, transportation and affordable housing. Further, he will work to prevent the financial exploitation of this vulnerable population; a growing form of elder abuse, Velis will work alongside the District Attorney to bring criminals to justice.
Fighting for First Responders
John believes we should ensure that all first responders have the training, support and equipment to take care of them when they are in need. Studies have shown that Firefighters are up to eight times more likely to be diagnosed with Parkinson’s than the general public and usually at a much younger age. Fighting for those who work tirelessly on behalf of all constituents in the Commonwealth, John has brought forth An Act Relative to Parkinson’s Disease and Death in Firefighters. This would allow those diagnosed with this debilitating disease to retire on accidental disability, just as they would if they were diagnosed with heart disease or lung cancer, ensuring they can provide for themselves and their families once they can no longer work.
Advocating for Disability Services
One of John’s proudest moments as a public servant was when he was appointed to the Commission for Citizen’s with Disabilities in Westfield. His first vote cast was in favor of House Bill 4047, legislation assisting individuals with autism and other intellectual or developmental disabilities. This population continues to be a focus for John. As Senator, he will work fervently to ensure that state policies, disability services and long-term care options exist to keep those in need safe and well cared for.