Rush replaces Timilty on Soldiers’ Home panel

  • Signs, flags, flowers and wreaths are placed at the entrance to the Soldiers’ Home in Holyoke, Wednesday, Apr. 8, 2020. GAZETTE FILE PHOTO

State House News Service
Published: 2/21/2021 10:13:27 AM

Just over a month before its report is due, the Legislature’s panel investigating the deadly Soldiers’ Home coronavirus outbreak in Holyoke is getting a new co-chair.

Sen. Michael Rush, a U.S. Navy Reserves officer, was subbed in by President Karen Spilka on Thursday as Senate chair of the joint special committee.

The House is keeping as its co-chair Rep. Linda Dean Campbell, an Army veteran, who led the probe along with Sen. Walter Timilty from the time it was established last July.

Campbell and Timilty have continued holding oversight hearings this year ahead of a March 31 deadline to recommend reforms at the Holyoke facility. At least 76 veterans died there last year in a disastrous COVID-19 outbreak that ultimately led to the resignation of Veterans’ Services Secretary Francisco Urena.

Rush, a Boston Democrat, is a former co-chair of the Joint Committee on Veterans and may already have one reform in mind. In the wake of the outbreak last summer, he filed a bill that would have elevated the veterans’ services secretariat to the Cabinet level.


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