Rep. Velis to seek state Senate seat if Humason wins mayoral bid

  • Massachusetts state Rep. John Velis, D-Hampden, addresses an audience during a ceremony at Barnes Air National Guard Base, in Westfield, Mass., Sept. 29, 2014. THE REPUBLICAN VIA AP/Don Treeger

Staff Writer 
Published: 3/22/2019 11:32:19 AM

WESTFIELD – After Sen. Don Humason, R-Westfield, announced his candidacy for mayor of Westfield on Thursday, questions swirled about who would run to fill the potentially vacant state Senate seat should Humason get elected. 

Humason’s colleague in the Statehouse, state Rep. John Velis, D-Westfield, said he would be a contender for the 2nd Hampden and Hampshire District, which includes Easthampton, Southampton, Holyoke, Westfield, Agawam, Southwick, Granville, Tolland, Russell, Montgomery, and parts of Chicopee. 

“Many people are already urging me to do more for our area and western Massachusetts by seeking the opportunity to serve in the Massachusetts state Senate, should Senator Humason be successful in his campaign for mayor,” Velis, who serves the 4th Hampden District, said in a statement on Thursday. “I will seek to do more for the people of our region as their next state Senator." 

Although Velis said that his focus will remain on his work as a state representative, he wanted to address speculation by the media and his constituents and be clear in his intentions to run for state Senate if Humason becomes Westfield’s mayor. 

It would be up to the state Senate to call a special election to fill the vacant 2nd Hampden and Hampshire District should Humason win, and they would be required to give four weeks notice before the primary election date. 

In 2014, Velis was elected to the Legislature and he currently serves as the vice chairman of the Joint Committee on Veterans and Federal Affairs. He is also on the House Committee on Ways and Means, Joint Committee on Financial Services, Joint Committee on Judiciary and Joint Committee on Ways and Means. 

Velis is a captain in the United States Army Reserve and was deployed to Afghanistan twice and participated in military exercises in South Korea. 

A native of Westfield, Velis, 40, said, “In my service as a soldier … I’ve learned that when an opportunity to better serve, to give your best is presented, then it is the right thing to take up that responsibility.” 

Luis Fieldman can be reached at lfieldman@gazettenet.com




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