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Humason calls latest term an era of renewal

Date: 2/9/2011

Feb. 9, 2011

By Katelyn Gendron

Assistant Editor

WESTFIELD — A life of leisure just isn't in the cards for State Rep. Donald Humason Jr.

Having entered into his ninth year as a state legislator and more than 20 years working within state government, Humason is looking to his latest term in office as an era of renewal.

"I think it's too easy for someone who has been in the Legislature for more than a couple of terms to sit back on their laurels," he said. "It's a new year, a new term, so it's time to re-engage and re-commit. Those are the things that I ran on [during my first campaign] eight years ago and I will continue to do now."

Humason noted he filed 10 bills this legislative session, in addition to cosponsoring more than 50 others.

"I'm looking forward to getting going," he said, noting that legislators are still waiting for their bills to be assigned to committee.

Humason filed several pieces of legislation pertaining to the aviation industry, an economic engine within this district, he pointed out. The representative also penned a bill allowing for the right to carry crossbows within the state.

"Right now you can't buy or use a crossbow in Massachusetts. I can't imagine that this law is keeping us safe from 'drive-by crossbowings,'" he said with a chuckle.

"It will also benefit the business in my district and also benefit any law-abiding bow owner," Humason added, noting the benefit to businesses and manufacturers of arms such as Savage Arms on Springdale Road.

The representative said he's also eager to begin committee meetings. Humason was appointed as the ranking Republican to the House Committee on Rules and as a member of the Joint Committee on Consumer Protection and Professional Licensure.

"I went from five legislative committees to two, which for somebody like me, who is used to doing a lot is a bit of an adjustment," he said. "I lost positions on the Joint Committee on Higher Education and Joint Committee on Transportation, which are very big deals for Western Massachusetts, but when the opportunity came up to move up in the caucus, it's nice that the leader has recognized me."

Beyond legislation and committees, there is much work to be done this term, Humason said, noting the fiscal year 2012 budget process.

"His [Gov. Deval Patrick] budget is larger this year than last year. We need a level-funded budget this year. Things aren't getting better and if they're not, we're not doing the right things [as legislators]," he said of the state's economy.

"We need to provide some level of stability for individuals and businesses so that they can look more than just one year out. We want them to have fiscal stability," Humason continued. "A lot of companies have been afraid to hire new people because of healthcare costs and unemployment and workers' comp costs."

He added, "Revenues are picking up a little bit but the costs [of running state government] are still eating up whatever new monies that are coming in. We need to reduce costs."

Humason called for cost cutting across the board as opposed to only certain areas of the budget.

He said this budget season might be the most difficult of his career. "This year will continue to be a challenging one for the Commonwealth's citizens and taxpayers. It will be even more important for me than ever to represent the interests of Westfield and Western Massachusetts," Humason said.

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