In this email update:
The ongoing efforts of community revitalization projects
There are many different kinds of catalysts that can spur a community toward revitalization. In Tamaqua, it was an Associated Press article several decades ago declaring it the second-dirtiest town in America.
Please check out the Times News article on the Tamaqua Partnership here.
Tamaqua is certainly not alone in trying to build a brighter future for its residents.
Pottsville has recently completed visioning sessions to share new ideas for making the downtown area a vibrant place for everyone to enjoy. The sessions are intended to build on the success of local attractions including the Schuylkill County Historical Society and Yuengling Brewery and several downtown restaurants.
In some communities, like Hamburg and Shenandoah, it is downtown events such as the Hamburger and Kielbasa Festivals that help to breathe new life into old towns. After all, who can pass up fresh kielbasa or a burger on two glazed donuts to complete your lunch?
In other communities, revitalization grows out of the frustration of non-stop traffic jams. Sinking Spring and its BOSS 2020 volunteers continue to work to redevelop their downtown business district and improve the quality of life for their residents.
All of these efforts could not have been accomplished without years of hard work through public private partnerships. Regardless of what catalyst leads to revitalization, I look forward to continuing my work with these and many other local communities in both Berks and Schuylkill Counties to help improve our downtowns and our neighborhoods while preserving the history and character that make them special to all of us.
Stay tuned–I will have much more to say on this topic in the weeks to come.
Governor’s new Budget Plan offers a viable starting point for negotiations
Governor Wolf unveiled his 2019-20 budget this week during a joint session of the General Assembly. The governor deserves bipartisan credit for listening to the people of Pennsylvania and presenting a budget that does not require a tax increase.
There were many reasons for optimism, including new ideas for funding for flood-ravaged communities, new tools to address blight, and initiatives to help create jobs and train workers for new careers. However, there are also serious concerns–especially his suggestion that we cut $15 million in school safety initiatives that we added last year in response to many tragedies at far too many schools in recent years. Those cuts are simply unacceptable.
I am disappointed that the budget did not address two other priorities shared by many people in our area – property tax elimination and work requirements for able-bodied welfare recipients. Both of these measures could do a world of good for our economy and help set Pennsylvania on a better path to prosperity.
My full statement regarding the budget is available here, and an interview recorded immediately following the budget address is available below.
Senate State Government Committee approves bill to reform the lieutenant governor election process in Pennsylvania
The Senate State Government Committee approved legislation this week which would amend the state’s constitution to permit candidates for governor to choose their lieutenant governor candidate after the primary election – a process that mirrors how presidential candidates currently select their vice presidential running mates.
As we saw at our state capitol throughout the last four years, a leadership team can’t be separated into two warring factions that are incapable of working together. Pennsylvanians deserve to have their top two leaders of the executive branch function as a team in order to best represent their interests.
More information about the bill is available here.
Legislation to create an animal abuse registry was introduced
Legislation sponsored by Senator Farnese (D-Philadelphia) to create an animal abuse registry in Pennsylvania was introduced this week in the Pennsylvania Senate and referred to the Law and Justice Committee for its review.
Under this bill, when a person is convicted of an animal abuse offense the court will forward a copy of the judgement to the Pennsylvania State Police (PSP). The PSP will post a publically accessible list on its website of any person convicted of an animal abuse offense after January 1, 2019.
As many of you have suggested, and as someone who is proud to share a home with two very active terriers, I was proud to cosponsor this bill strengthen Pennsylvania’s animal cruelty laws!
Wolfgang and Maggie, “assisting” me in my Mahanoy City office
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