In this email edition:
Berks and Schuylkill Voters speak in a statewide landslide: Governors should work with others during emergencies
The results from this week’s elections are in and Pennsylvania voters have made their voices heard–in a landslide.
After months of bipartisan criticism of the unilateral approach Governor Wolf and his administration took when responding to the COVID-19 pandemic, a large majority of voters favored two ballot questions that would require legislative approval of emergency declarations longer than 21 days in the future–Republican governors, Democratic governors, third party or Independent governors.
Pennsylvania has thus become the first state in the nation where the voters have chosen to limit the governor’s emergency powers by constitutional amendment, although the same issue is now under review in many other states, states with both Republican and Democratic governors who have been criticized for taking actions on their own for more than a year, without the approval of the voters, local governments, or the legislative branch.
In Schuylkill County, 65 percent of voters voted “YES” for the first question and 66 percent of voters voted “YES” for the second question. In Berks County, 59 percent of voters voted “YES” for the first question and 60 percent of voters voted “YES” for the second question.
Senate President Pro Tempore Jake Corman and Senate Majority Leader Kim Ward issued the following statement after the vote:
“Pennsylvanians have made their choice clear – they want to see more collaboration and better results from their state government when responding to emergencies.”
Bipartisan group of Senators call for lifting of COVID restrictions before Memorial Day weekend
Now that cases are falling and the number of vaccinated Pennsylvanians is rapidly increasing, the Wolf administration recently announced that all restrictions (with the exception of the mask mandate) will be lifted on Memorial Day. While this news was highly welcome, I joined a bipartisan group of 21 Senators to send a letter to Governor Wolf to move up this timeline to the Friday before Memorial Day weekend.
There is absolutely NO scientific evidence that suggests moving up this timeline would present any public health risks. After all the struggles mom and pop shops throughout Pennsylvania faced throughout the past year, lifting restrictions before a holiday weekend would be the least the Wolf Administration could do for these employers. Read more here.
Around the district: Tamaqua revitalization, pollution in Panther Creek, and celebrating a new community pool in Frackville
Micah Gursky, the Director of Tamaqua Area Community Partnership, speaks about the importance of this project.
In Tamaqua, I recently toured the latest in a long series of downtown revitalization efforts, the Bank on Broad renovation project, with Rep. Jerry Knowles and several other community partners. This project will upgrade and modernize seventeen new apartments in three existing downtown buildings and restore the exterior of the Berwick House to resemble the historic 1905 Tamaqua National Bank. Many of these apartments have been vacant since the 1970s and 80s. Read more here.
Later that day, Representative Knowles and I met with officials from the Department of Environmental Protection about a recent pollution issue that caused major concern for residents of Tamaqua… Panther Creek was bright orange! I grew up on Arlington Street, just a few blocks away from the creek, and can still remember how terribly polluted it was in the 1960s and 70s.
Now, although we see people fishing in streams, rivers, and creeks across Berks and Schuylkill Counties which were once heavily polluted, the Panther Creek remains dead. Our message to DEP: This is simply not acceptable, and action must be taken to improve the Panther Creek. Read more here.
From Left to Right: Rachel Hobbs, Rep. Twardzik’s office; Tom Ford, DCNR; me; Ronald Jordan, Frackville Borough Council President; Former Rep. Neal Goodman; Spiro Kasapidis, Mid Penn Bank; Nate Gerace, Congressman Meuser
Former State Rep. Neal Goodman (D-Schuylkill) and I have been working for years along with dedicated officials from Frackville and other community partners to reopen their long-closed community pool, and it was a pleasure to finally see the completed product. Read more here.
Hamburg Borough Police Department celebrates 175 years of service
I address the crowd next to Hamburg Chief of Police Anthony Kuklinski
This week, the Hamburg Borough Police Department celebrated its 175th year of operation. Rep. Jerry Knowles and I presented the department with House and Senate citations in commemoration of this important milestone.
The department has been serving and protecting residents of Hamburg since before the Civil War. Congratulations to all!
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