Senator Argall E-Newsletter

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In this update:

  • PennDOT MUST Fix more Roads and Bridges
  • Community Partnerships Reduce Crime in Tamaqua
  • Introducing my Summer Interns: Nicole Castillo and Anthony Merchlinsky
  • Saturday: White Haven Trail Festival
  • Recognizing Brenda Banks, Girls State Wrestling Champion, in the Senate
  • Issues with State Government? Join us in Tremont
  • Scouts Honor Community Volunteers, Visit the Capitol + Congrats to Eagle Scout Alex Kurtek!

PennDOT MUST Fix more Roads and Bridges

Photo by John Haeger/Staff Photographer for the Republican Herald

On Monday morning at our town hall meeting in Ashland, Rep. Tim Twardzik and I heard one message, loud and clear, from a room full of people: PENNDOT MUST do a better of job to fix our roads and bridges in Schuylkill, Carbon, and Luzerne Counties.

At the request of so many of my constituents unhappy with the condition of our roads, I joined a strong bipartisan majority of 13 to 1 in the Senate Transportation Committee, approving more dollars to fund those much-needed repairs.

We approved Senate Bill 656, to require electric vehicle owners to pay their fair share for road and bridge repairs across PA, by establishing for the first time a flat fee paid by all electric vehicle owners when they register their vehicle. These fees will provide $15-20 million (which is expected to grow) each year for pothole repairs, as pictured above, and other much-needed improvements across PA.

Community Partnerships Reduce Crime in Tamaqua

When dedicated volunteers work together and set clear goals for how to improve their hometown, it’s amazing what the results can be, as we saw this week when Tamaqua Community Partnership hosted a presentation on how they reduced crime in their community. Tamaqua’s crime risk has been cut by 42% in 10 years.

Thanks to their efforts, Tamaqua is now a safer and more vibrant place to live. Pine and Mauch Chunk streets are barely recognizable from when I grew up in our “half a double” on Arlington Street in the 1960s and 70s.

Micah Gursky, the Executive Director for Tamaqua Community Partnership, outlined many of the actions they took that made a difference, including transforming vacant buildings into the St. Luke’s University health center, Hope & Coffee (one of the best coffee shops around, as pictured above), the Tamaqua Arts Center, and the Tiki Room Rehearsal Studio.

Read the full article here.

Introducing my Summer Interns: Nicole Castillo and Anthony Merchlinsky

I introduced my two summer interns on the Senate floor this week. Watch the full video here.

Nicole Castillo recently graduated from Hazleton High School, where she participated in dual enrollment at Lackawanna College – she already has her Associate Degree in Criminal Justice. She is also a tri-lingual volunteer with the Hazleton Integration Project! She’s working in my Hazleton office.

Anthony Merchlinsky is a Mahanoy Area High School grad, now a senior at Muhlenberg College where he is pursuing dual majors in Political Economy and Public Policy and Business Administration. He’s also a member of the football team and volunteers with the Andy Tallow Bone Marrow Foundation, Be the Match, and the Muhlenberg All Sports Camp. He’s working in my Mahanoy City office.

Saturday: White Haven Trail Festival

Visit the White Haven Trail Festival on Saturday – featuring the new entrance to Lehigh Gorge State Park on the D + L Trail. It’s one of my favorite places to ride my bike in the area and always reminds me of the incredible beauty and history of our area.

Recognizing Brenda Banks, Girls State Wrestling Champion, in the Senate

I recognized Brenda Banks, a freshman from Panther Valley School District, on the Senate floor this week for winning the 2023 Pennsylvania High School Girls’ State Individual Wrestling Championship.

When I told Brenda that she won more wrestling matches in one year than I did in my entire high school wrestling effort – I wasn’t joking!

Watch my full remarks.

Issues with State Government? Join us in Tremont

I will be hosting a coffee and conversation event with Rep. JoAnne Stehr on Thursday, June 15th from 8-9 a.m. at the Tremont Fire Company. Join us to share any questions or concerns you may have, including our unfair school property tax system, welfare reform, or blighted properties.

Call my Pottsville office at 570-621-3400 or Rep. Stehr’s office at 570-648-8017 to RSVP.

Scouts Honor Community Volunteers, Visit the Capitol + Congrats to Eagle Scout Alex Kurtek!

From left to right: Duane Crouse, Rep. Tim Twardzik, me, Rep. JoAnne Stehr, Bob Green, Diane Greene, Connor Rehnert, Justin Smith, Daren Kullman, Jeff Euclide, Rep. Jamie Barton.

Hawk Mountain Scout Council hosted their 9th annual Service to Youth and Community Breakfast this week, honoring volunteers who go above and beyond in their work to build a stronger community.

This year’s Distinguished Citizen Honorees are Bob and Diane Greene of Pioneer Pole Buildings. Their impact on Schuylkill County has been huge over the years AND they host great events every year, including their Easter egg hunt and the Touch a Truck extravaganza.

The Community Honoree is Justin Smith, who has volunteered countless hours at Hawk Mountain Scout Reservation doing much needed electrical work. Congrats to Bob, Diane, and Justin!

I welcomed Nolan Garringer of Hegins, a Scout from Troop 662, and his father James Garringer to Harrisburg. There were over 100 scouts from across Pennsylvania in the Capitol as part of the annual Scouting Report to the Commonwealth.

Also joining the Garringers was Duane Crouse, the Director of Development for Hawk Mountain Council, BSA, and Jim Brugger, an Eagle Scout and my Communications Director.  

Congrats to Alex Kurtek on achieving Eagle Scout! For his service project, Alex built two kiosk signs at the Minersville Recreation Complex. Alex also shadowed me in Harrisburg last month to see what a day in the life of a State Senator in the Capitol is like. I expect we’ll see big things from him in the future!

Seth Hubler of my staff presented him with official Senate and House citations in recognition of his accomplishment.


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