Senator Argall E-Newsletter

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In this update:

  • Welcome Amelia Zhang Argall!
  • Supporting Local EMS Agencies
  • Guillermo “Memmo” Lara Appointed to Latino Affairs Commission
  • How Can We Improve Our Local Schools? Panther Valley Superintendent Testifies in Harrisburg
  • Thursday: Luzerne County Senior Expo in Hazle Township
  • Honoring 9/11 Victims in Hazleton
  • Parents Share Dreams at Senate Education Committee Hearing
  • Giving Pennsylvania Voters a Stronger Primary Voice
  • Free Support Available to Military Members
  • Fire, Ambulance Companies: Apply Now for State Grants

Welcome Amelia Zhang Argall!

National Grandparents Day was EXTRA special for Beth and me on Sunday — Amelia Zhang Argall, born Sunday afternoon, the daughter of our son AJ and his wife Frances. All are doing well!

I wore the same shirt to the hospital the night AJ was born— it doesn’t seem like all that long ago. Welcome, Amelia!

Supporting Local EMS Agencies

EMS agencies from across Schuylkill County gathered in Pottsville this week for a meeting with me, all four state representatives from Schuylkill County, and Commissioner Boots Hetherington about the significant challenges they face. We were joined by Senator Doug Mastriano, who chairs the Senate Veterans and Emergency Preparedness Committee.

EMS workers put their safety on the line to save us in the worst moments of our lives. We need to do everything we can to make sure they have the resources they need to do their critical jobs.

Guillermo “Memmo” Lara Appointed to Latino Affairs Commission

Congratulations to Guillermo “Memmo” Lara of Hazleton on his appointment to serve on the Governor’s Advisory Commission on Latino Affairs! The commission’s goal is to advise the Governor as to how our state government can best serve and connect with Latino Pennsylvanians.

As noted above, Rep. Dane Watro and I met Memmo earlier this year at the Hazleton Integration Project’s 10-year anniversary.

How Can We Improve Our Local Schools? Panther Valley Superintendent Testifies in Harrisburg

We all agree that we need to improve our schools. But the solution to this problem cannot be the biggest tax increases in Pennsylvania history—increasing the state sales tax or the personal income tax by almost 100%, as some have suggested.

This week marks the first hearings of the Basic Education Funding Commission, which is tasked with finding a better way to fund our public schools. We held three public hearings this week in Allentown, Harrisburg, and Philadelphia.

During the first hearing, I asked Penn State professor Matthew Kelly if he could guarantee that we will see outcomes improve if we give schools an additional $6 billion, as he recommended.

I asked the superintendent of Panther Valley School District, David McAndrews, how the record increases in education funding have helped his school district in the last few years.

Thursday: Luzerne County Senior Expo in Hazle Township

Mark your calendars: Rep. Dane Watro, Rep. Mike Cabell and I will be hosting a Senior Citizens Expo on September 21st. If you need assistance or information from local, county, or state agencies, stop by! 

Honoring 9/11 Victims in Hazleton

Photo by Frank Barr / Contributing Photographer for the Hazleton Standard Speaker

The Hazleton Fire Department hosted a beautiful mass at St. Gabriel’s Church in Hazleton in remembrance of all those who lost their lives during the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001. I attended with Rep. Dane Watro and Mayor Jeff Cusat. Thank you for sponsoring this solemn ceremony together every year – we must never forget!

Parents Share Dreams at Senate Education Committee Hearing

Parents shared their hopes for more educational opportunities for their children during a public hearing of the Senate Education Committee I chaired in Philadelphia this week.

We heard about the reality that faces too many of our children – being trapped in an inadequate school that continues to let them down year after year. How long do we expect students and parents to wait to see improvements in some of our lowest performing public schools?

Senate Bill 757, approved by a bipartisan majority in the Senate on August 30, would establish the PASS (Pennsylvania Award for Student Success) Program, which would provide low-income students in low-performing schools with scholarships to attend the school of their choice.

Funding the PASS Program will empower parents and families in the education of their children and does not take a single dollar away from public schools.

Giving Pennsylvania Voters a Stronger Primary Voice

Too often, by the time the presidential primary is held in Pennsylvania, the nominees for President have already been chosen. I introduced a bill to move the date up by five weeks to March 19 to give our voters a stronger voice in this critically important decision for the future of our country.

This week, I joined Senator Sharif Street on a webinar call with Business for America to discuss the importance of this bill. The current primary date also conflicts with Passover, which would effectively disenfranchise many Jewish people due to traditional Jewish law prohibiting writing, driving, or the use of electricity on the holiday.

I’ve heard loud and clear from our elections officials that if we’re going to make this change, it needs to be done soon. I hope to see the Senate, the House, and the Governor take action to make that happen!

Free Support Available to Military Members

As a reminder for Suicide Prevention Month, veterans in crisis can call the toll-free Veterans Crisis Line. It serves veterans, service members, National Guard and Reserve members, and those who support them.

A caring, qualified responder is available to provide confidential support and connect callers with resources 24/7, 365 days a year.

Call 988 and then press 1 or chat online.

Fire, Ambulance Companies: Apply Now for State Grants

Fire companies and ambulance services throughout Pennsylvania are encouraged to submit an application for the 2023-24 Fire Company and Emergency Medical Service Grant Program.

Grants may be used for construction or renovation of a unit’s station, the purchase or repair of equipment, training or debt reduction. The maximum grant amount is $20,000 for fire companies and $15,000 for volunteer ambulance services – increased this year. 

Find more information and apply online here by Oct. 20 at 4 p.m.

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