In this email edition:
Department of Health Updates Vaccine Distribution Plan
My offices have received many questions about the distribution of the COVID-19 vaccine. The Department of Health recently updated its vaccine distribution plan to include older Pennsylvanians and individuals with medical conditions that make them more vulnerable to COVID-19.
The new plan expands vaccine eligibility to include Pennsylvanians age 65 or older, as well as state residents who have conditions like Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD), cancer, sickle cell disease, chronic kidney disease or other specific medical concerns. Vaccine supplies are currently limited. A map of vaccine providers is available here.
The COVID-19 vaccine is not mandatory, but is recommended by public health officials. The Pennsylvania Department of Health offers information to help state residents make an informed choice on whether to get the vaccine, including a special section on its website regarding vaccine safety.
My Expanded Committee Responsibilities for 2021-22
In addition to being named the Chair of the Senate State Government Committee, with its broad oversight responsibilities over several of the Governor’s executive agencies, I have been appointed by President Pro Tempore Senator Jake Corman (R-Centre) to five additional Senate committees for the 2021-22 legislative session.
I will serve as the Vice Chair for the Community, Economic, & Recreational Development Committee. In this role, I will work closely with the chair of the committee, Senator John Yudichak (I-Carbon/Luzerne), to help assist communities recover economically from the COVID-19 pandemic. I will also be a member of the Appropriations, Agriculture & Rural Affairs, Health & Human Services, and Finance Committees.
I look forward to the opportunity to work with my colleagues to pass bipartisan legislation that improves not just the lives of the residents of Schuylkill and Berks County that I represent, but the lives of all Pennsylvanians. My appointment to these key committees will help me pursue my top priority for this session: helping our employers and employees get back on their feet after the hardships of COVID-19 and the shutdown of many of our local employers, large and small.
I will also work with both Democrats and Republicans to enact meaningful welfare reform this session. We were able to enact several meaningful welfare reform bills in the past and I believe it is time to correct several defects in our existing welfare programs.
Berks County this Week: Visiting a Tilapia Farm, Revitalizing Downtown Sinking Spring, and my Youngest Job Shadow Ever!
Tuesday was a busy day for me in Berks County. To begin my day, I visited Crossover Farms near Hamburg. There I met John Cusatis, whose tilapia fish business has been open for 10 years. They have persevered through the hardships of COVID-19 but are hopeful for the future. I commend them on their hard work and effort in these challenging times.
Later in the day, I met with the Sinking Spring’s Forward Revitalization Committee. We discussed ongoing projects in the borough including important developments to PennDOT projects in the area. I will give you expanded updates on these exciting developments, based on the success of nearby West Reading’s downtown, next week.
Throughout my meetings in Berks County, I was joined Priella Lenzi who job shadowed me during the day. She is a bright young 11-year-old form Robesonia who is very interested in government. Good luck, Priella!
Interview with the PA Secretary of Agriculture
I recently interviewed Secretary Russell Redding of the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture. We discussed the impact of COVID-19 on the farming community and other important issues facing our farmers as we begin a new year.
Joe Kerwin: A New State Representative for Schuylkill & Dauphin Counties AND Active Member of the National Guard
This week, Congressman Dan Meuser met State Representative Joe Kerwin in our nation’s capital as the Pennsylvania National Guard helped to maintain peace at the inauguration of President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris.
Stay safe 1st Lieutenant Kerwin and thank you for your service!
Frackville Receives Federal Help to Prevent Flooding
Congressman Dan Meuser (US-9th) has announced that Frackville will receive federal funding from FEMA to address flooding issues. In 2018, flooding occurred in Frackville that caused serious damage to roadways and properties.
Frackville Borough will utilize the funding to address culvert collapse, road washout, and inlet structure washout, as well as upstream and downstream bank erosion. They also intend to utilize mitigation opportunities and current codes and standards to reduce or eliminate similar damages in the future by upsizing culverts.
You can learn more here.