In this update:
Congrats to Elise and George! (And Henry)
Our daughter Elise’s engagement photo turned into reality on Saturday as she and George Garcia were married in a beautiful ceremony. My role, in addition to walking her down the aisle with a tear or two in my eye, was to welcome our guests, as follows, with attempts at Spanish, Welsh, and German, to honor their ancestors:
The most important decision of my life was asking Beth to marry me on December 6, 1986. It was the smartest decision I ever made, with many important results, including our Elise and her brother AJ….
Elise and George are now socios (partners) in love, for life, and in raising a big bad dog named Henry….
Elise and George, in the language of my father’s Welsh grandparents:
Boro Hwyl. Bendith duw arnoch chi. Good luck, God Bless you!
And to George, in the language of my mother’s and Beth’s German ancestors:
Wilkommen in unserer Familie. Welcome to our family!
Hazleton Exits Program for Distressed Municipalities
Hazleton officially exited the Act 47 program for distressed municipalities in a ceremony at city hall yesterday. I was proud to join Mayor Jeff Cusat and Department of Community and Economic Development Secretary Rick Siger to celebrate this milestone.
Thanks to the hard work of the city government in cooperation with the state, Hazleton’s financial situation is now stronger than it’s been in decades.
Schuylkill Technology Center Celebrates Graduating Students
Rep. Dane Watro, Rep. Tim Twardzik, the Nittany Lion, me, Rep. Jamie Barton, Commissioner Boots Hetherington
79 students at Schuylkill Technology Center participated in a signing day event. All the students either entered into an employment agreement in their field of study or enrolled in post-secondary technical training or a branch of the military.
I’ve never had more employers tell me that they needed employees with the specialized skills taught at schools like STC. Congratulations to everyone who graduated yesterday – best of luck as you begin the next phase of your careers!
Education Committee Advances Bills – With a Special Guest
I chaired a special voting meeting of the Senate Education Committee this week – Pro Football Hall of Fame member and Super Bowl champion Mike Singletary was in attendance! He was advocating for Senate Bill 460, sponsored by Senator Camera Bartolotta and Senator Scott Martin, which would provide child identification kits to parents of students in kindergarten.
We advanced a total of six bills, including Senator Chris Gebhard’s Senate Bill 647, which would require high school students complete a financial literacy course, and Senator Doug Mastriano’s Senate Bill 290, which would provide for a moment of silence in schools on the anniversary of 9/11.
New Municipal Building Coming to Hegins Township
Photo by Alex Morgan, Contributing Photographer for the Republican Herald
I joined Rep. Joanne Stehr and officials of Hegins Township to celebrate a state grant for $300,000 to help them achieve their goal of constructing a new municipal building. Hegins does not currently have a dedicated municipal building – the township supervisors have been meeting in the garage for many years. Thanks to this highly competitive state grant, they will now have a MUCH-improved space to serve their over 3,300 residents.
Good Luck to PA Horse in the Kentucky Derby
Congratulations to Angel of Empire, the three-year-old colt that started racing in 2022 and is headed to the Kentucky Derby.
The thoroughbred racehorse was born and raised at Blackstone Farm in Pine Grove in Schuylkill County. His win in the Arkansas Derby made him a horse to watch in the Run for the Roses. The colt will try to become the third Pennsylvania-bred horse to win the Kentucky Derby after Lil E. Tee in 1992 and Smarty Jones in 2004.
Good luck to Angel of Empire in the Kentucky Derby, which will begin on Saturday, May 6, at 6:57 p.m.
My Corrections Officer and Welfare Reform Bills Approved by the Senate
Four of my bills were approved by the Senate this week and sent to the House of Representatives for its consideration.
Three bills to better protect taxpayer dollars provided to Pennsylvania’s public assistance programs from fraud and abuse were approved by bipartisan votes of 28-21. Many of my constituents are upset when they hear just how many taxpayer dollars are wasted or stolen from these important programs that are designed to get struggling Pennsylvanians back on their feet.
My bill to protect the rights of state corrections officers and forensic employees was approved by the Senate by a vote of 36-14. Our corrections officers put their safety on the line to protect us all from Pennsylvania’s most dangerous criminals, but some of them have been unfairly suspended without pay, benefits, or the chance to defend themselves.
Capitol Visitors From the 29th District
I also welcomed two exchange students who are spending the year studying in Carbon County to the capitol and introduced them on the floor of the Senate.
Joel Vieten is from Schwalmtal, Germany and is studying at Palmerton High School this year. He’s a part of the Congress-Bundestag Youth Exchange and is a very active member of the Future Business Leaders of America.
Celia Rodriguez Gonzalez is from Spain and is studying at Jim Thorpe High School. She is a part of the Amancia Ortega Foundation and is closing in on breaking a school record as part of the track and field team.
I invited Robert Morgalo and his team, who are working towards building a new film studio in Tamaqua, to visit the Capitol for the Film Industry Reception. They’re continuing, step by step by step, their work towards bringing this dream to life.
William Alex Kurtek, a senior at Minersville High School, joined me at the capitol to see what one of my days representing the people of Schuylkill, Carbon, and Luzerne Counties is like. He’s also an Eagle Scout in Troop 624.
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