Representative Whelan lives in Brewster with his wife Lisa and two daughters. He said his background is in policing, and fresh out of high school he started working in corrections. Most of his career was spent in uniform as MA State Police with the last 5 years spent in Yarmouth. He retired from the state police in 2013 in order to run for office. He said he’s now having conversations with people that he wouldn’t have been able to have as a state police officer.

Whelan defines himself by his family. Both daughters graduated from Nauset High and have gone on to college – one has recently graduated from Southern ME and the other is starting at Johnson and Wales. He was elected in 2014 in a close race that taught him a lot. He said that campaining was humbling and educational, and he learned much about what people face in their lives. Finding a solution to the addiction problem on Cape Cod is what he is passionate about because he saw the results of this as police officer. He said even seniors are aware of this because they have grandchildren who are addicted (he serves on Brewster Council on Aging board). A lot of the bills he has filed address this issue.
Whelan said that Fentinyl is the “new drug.”  It is 200 times more powerful than heroin. Medically, it is used in cancer treatment. Drug dealers cut it but can’t tell if they’ve reduced the power of the drug. Massachusetts will lose 1300 people to overdose in 2015. That means 1300 families are impacted.
Another important issue for him is school funding. He said, “We get the short end of the stick on Cape Cod” and the shortcomings are made up with local taxes being raised. He noted that the battle is between urban and suburban districts. The Cape only gets 16% when urban areas get 100%. He said he’s getting a lot of support from the governor’s office, but it still needs to be taken care of. He has been able to garner more funding for the local school districts.
Whelan has been assigned to the joint committee on higher education, which he sees as a pathway to the future and a way to keep young people here on the Cape. He said, “We need to increase access to higher education. Students here don’t have access to a 4-year institution.” By that he means he walked to his first college for instance. Cape Cod students can’t afford to get to Bridgewater State or to live there. The long term goal would be to see one unified campus between 4C’s and Bridgewater State. In order for this to happen, they need to see enrollment improve, particularly at Bridgewater’s Yarmouth Campus. He said, “We need to spread the word! Once we have a 4-year program we can expand the job market.”