NORTHAMPTON, Mass. (WWLP) – Senator Jo Comerford represents 25 cities and towns within Hampshire, Franklin and Worcester county. She has filed 65 bills this session and she said every bill has a story that can be traced back to western Massachusetts.

Comerford started in politics as an organizer, but always wondered what it would be like to hold office. In 2018, she made the choice to run for Senator and she said it’s her job to make sure western Massachusetts is heard.

She, alongside her western Massachusetts colleagues, successfully advocated against redistricting plans that would have eliminated a Senate seat.

“Losing a Senate seat meant, you know, losing a vote. Losing set of earmarks, losing chairpersonships, losing caucus chairs, you know all of those things are ways in which Senators being their expertise and bring their own perspective on behalf of the region,” said Comerford.

Speaking of representation, one of her bills she has deemed priority deals with the state’s PILOT program. This program shortchanged western Massachusetts by millions in the past. Comerford’s bill rebalances the funds and will bring fair reimbursement to western Massachusetts.

Also, on everybody’s mind this winter, utility rate increases. Comerford is working on that as well.

“This actually would just prevent Massachusetts utilities from charging constituents more than neighboring states. It would cap their ability to get profit,” said Comerford.

The Senator is also concerned with PFAS, a certain type of chemical that builds up in bodies and never break down. This affects western Massachusetts particularly due to the farming communities. PFAS can be found in fertilizer and this bill would help farmers find alternatives to these products.

On Wednesday, Comerford was named the Chair of Higher Education and Assistant Vice Chair of Senate Ways and Means. She said in these positions, she will make sure regional equity is brought to the Senate.