Public Hearings begin on PA Department of State Controversies
Watch my closing remarks from the hearing
The Senate State Government Committee, which I chair, held the first in a series of hearings Tuesday reviewing many of the recent, controversial actions undertaken by the Department of State. I asked Acting Secretary Degraffenreid some simple, straightforward questions about how the Department of State’s audit was conducted back in March and did not receive an answer until July.
Perhaps this was due to the turmoil at the Department – the Acting Secretary is now the fourth to serve Governor Wolf, while both Governors Rendell and Corbett each had one throughout their tenures.
At the conclusion of the hearing, I announced that the Committee will hold 5 additional hearings prior to the confirmation hearings for Acting Secretary Degraffenreid. These hearings will review her role in controversies involving the Department of State including the following:
Watch the hearing and read testimony here.
Kielbasi Festival and Parade of Nations in Shenandoah
I was joined by Rep. Tim Twardizk, Shenandoah Mayor Szczyglak, and Schuylkill County Commissioners Boots Hetherington and Gary Hess on Saturday
This year’s Kielbasi Festival and Parade of Nations in Shenandoah was a great success! I especially enjoyed the new ethnic church exhibit at the Greater Shenandoah Area Historical Society, which you can learn more about here. I also had the chance to present the Abrachinsky family with a certificate for serving as the Grand Marshalls for the parade. Congrats to all who turned this idea into a reality.
State Grant for Downtown Hamburg to aid Hamburg-er Festival and other Community Events
A crowd of volunteers gathers in Hamburg to celebrate this new funding
This week Representative Jerry Knowles and I announced a $200,000 state grant to develop a large grass lot located within the Hamburg Borough’s designated Main Street Corridor into a recreational area for community events.
These state grants are very difficult to obtain because the demand is very great. For many years, I have supported their request to create this new public square in downtown Hamburg to provide new economic opportunities – like more space for the Taste of Hamburg-er Festival – to continue the ongoing revitalization of downtown Hamburg. We have finally received the approval for this long-sought goal.
This year’s Taste of Hamburg-er Festival will be taking place on Saturday, September 4th from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Don’t miss it!
2020 Census for Pennsylvania presents Local Challenges and Opportunities
A recent article from Spotlight PA highlighted some of the most impactful takeaways from the release of the 2020 Census data for Pennsylvania and the ongoing process of redrawing legislative districts. David Thornburgh, the president and CEO of the Committee of Seventy, stated that he sees issues regarding redistricting as a “Rubik’s Cube problem.” In other words: moving a boundary in one district means boundaries will need to be adjusted in neighboring districts. I continue to hold public hearings on the complicated process of redrawing congressional districts before the final map is drawn, in order to lessen some of the hyper-partisan gerrymandering that has threatened Berks and Schuylkill Counties in the past.
Read the full article here.
Panther Creek Coal Refuse Facility: Mining Cryptocurrency?
Local coal refuse plants have made tremendous progress in cleaning up old coal pits
Recently, Nesquehoning’s Panther Creek coal refuse plant was purchased by a Pennsylvania cryptocurrency company. “Mining” cryptocurrency requires large amounts of electricity, so this purchase will support the cleanup of thousands of additional tons of local waste coal. The company, Stronghold Digital Mining, estimates that each “coin” it produces will also result in the disposal of 200 tons of waste coal.
The bottom line is our local coal refuse plants have made tremendous progress in cleaning up PA over the past 30 years, and this new support will benefit their efforts. Read more about this news here.
Saturday: Patriots Day in Robesonia
This Saturday, I’ve been invited to attend Patriots Day in Robesonia. The event will feature a Civil War reenactment, special guest speakers, live music, and more! The event will take place at the Robesonia Furnace Paymaster’s House and will last from 12 noon to 6 p.m.
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