CHICOPEE, Mass. (WWLP) – New local leaders and returning leaders who are shifting roles are hitting the ground running to keep western Massachusetts a priority at Beacon Hill.

State Senator-Elect Jake Oliveira will be leaving his position in the State House of Representatives to become State Senator for the Hampden Hampshire & Worcester District. Senator Oliveira is already planning goals for his upcoming term.

“Well a big goal right now is providing that regional equity, you know. Speaking as one voice for Western Massachusetts with members of the legislative delegation to make sure we get out fair share of resources in things like infrastructure dollars, higher education, and early childhood education,” said Oliveira.

State Representative-elect Aaron Saunders for the 7th Hampden district is one of the new faces on Beacon Hill. He is wasting no time in getting to work

“Every bill is filed within the first couple weeks of the legislative session, so we are starting today on putting priorities together on what’s going to be filed, starting to meet with local municipal and state leaders to understand exactly what we need to do to hit the ground running for Western Mass,” said Saunders.

On the top of Saunder’s to-do list is to refocus the public health spotlight on the opioid crisis and make sure the state is not incentivizing clear-cutting forests for industrial-scale solar.

These elected officials, both new-faced and old, will be assuming their positions in January 2023.