Happy New Century, Year, Day!

We are really just beginning the New Millennium, according to my spouse, who says he is never wrong.

He claims that a lot of people know that we ended one century at midnight last Monday. And are just beginning the first year of the new century, 2001. That's what they say. Curt and his friend Attorney Bill St. James are among them. They are probably right. But I dissent.

Whatever the century, brand new or one year old, this is the time of year when folks party, make resolutions, and look forward to a fresh batch of the 365 days we call a year.

It's a time for reflection, too. And a good time for me to say thanks to many people. Friends, political supporters, my family. A time to appreciate the good relations I have with my legislative cohorts, with local city officials and the many business and civic leaders here in Westfield. And you, whom I represent.

I also want to say thanks to Carol Mazza, publisher of the Westfield Evening News. She is one of the foremost flag wavers for our city. We have a vital local daily only because Carol Mazza cares.

Somewhere early in my first term as State Representative, she offered me the opportunity to communicate with you via this weekly newspaper column. That's nearly six years of columns. Nearly six years of having a platform to tell you what's going on at the State House. And an occasional foray into my own personal musings.

Westfield is lucky to have its own daily newspaper. Very few communities our size have any newspaper at all, much less a daily one. Thanks to Carol and her staff, the News continues to be an important part of our community. Another reason Westfield is a great place to live.

At the end of one year and the beginning of another, we also take note of the major events in our lives. Many happy events. Events to be thankful for.

Last year our son and daughter-in-law (Chris and Jen) celebrated their first anniversary. Our daughter and son-in-law (Cathy and Jonathan) celebrated the first birthday of our grandson, Aidan. (What a joy to be a grandparent.) I'm sure you have family events that were marked this year and to be remembered in years to come.

Last year, like every year, there were good friends who died. I will miss them, and I'm reminded that many of them are in the same age group as I am. Which makes me want to live each day to its fullest.

As the year ended, we had good friends packing to leave town and move away. I'm going to miss them. Oh, we'll still see them. We'll still get together to hear our friend order her favorite cocktail with "no fruit." We just won't be together as often and that makes me sad.

In my professional life in the past year, I believe that we've made some forward progress in the State Legislature for Westfield and Montgomery. Like a firm date for the new bridge. A promise to fix the Route 20 bridge. A new facility for the District Court. Albeit a building developed by a private entity which will rent it to the State.

This week the Western Massachusetts delegation in the Legislature said goodbye to Rep. Walter De Fillippi of West Springfield. Walter served for 22 years, and he will be missed, not just by colleagues but by his constituents. He took me under his wing during my freshman year and, as they say, showed me the ropes. He was astute, always cheery, savvy in the ways of the legislature, and had friends on both sides of the aisle. A faithful servant for West Springfield.

So here we are, another year under our belt, and a whole brand new year, or century, ahead of us. Hopefully.

In fact, we have today. And we may have tomorrow. I'm not trying to depress you. But just a gentle reminder that I think we all need from time to time. And this time is as good as any.

One Day At A Time. It's a bumper sticker you often see. Its truth is indisputable, and recovering alcoholics pin their future on that simple slogan. We can, too.

What will we do with each new day? How will each of us use that precious commodity? Each new day is unique. With new opportunities. New challenges. New chances to savor and nourish our friends, family and associates.

Happy New Day!

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