In this Update:
Veterans Day: Honoring Those Who Served Our Country in Berks and Schuylkill Counties
Today, I attended the annual Berks Veteran’s luncheon in Reading to hear their special guest speaker, retired Lt. Col. Ollie North. Last week, I was invited to speak at the Veterans’ Day Breakfast sponsored by the Schuylkill Chamber of Commerce in Orwigsburg. At the Orwigsburg event, I paid tribute to one of their special guests: my Cub Scout leader from the 1960s, Navy veteran Carl Hafer, who is now 99 years old. I noted that like Mr. Hafer, our veterans’ service did not end when they finally hung up their uniforms!
To all who served our country in the armed forces: thank you for your service and for the sacrifices you made in defense of our great nation.
Why Liberal Columnist Lisa Von Ahn is Wrong to Advocate a Senate Redistricting Plan Which Divides Schuylkill County
Lisa Von Ahn is wrong again and her November 3 column on redistricting should embarrass even her most liberal supporters. The map above shows the new State Senate map advocated by one special interest group which she complimented for its “fairness.”
It completely separates western Schuylkill County from the remainder of the county. Lisa: is this really what you want?
Lisa, is this why you protested outside of my Pottsville office? To divide Cass Township into two pieces, as the map you complimented would do? To separate Minersville and Llewellyn into two different Senate districts? To divide Summit Station from their neighbors in Pine Grove? To separate Hegins from Gordon? What possible “good government” cause would such an ugly border support?
Read my full response here.
I chaired a hearing of the Senate State Government Committee this week that reviewed citizen recommendations maps of new Congressional districts for Pennsylvania. One of the topics that was frequently discussed was – unsurprisingly – the importance of not splitting counties or municipalities. Learn more about this hearing here.
House, Senate to Consider Removal of Commissioner George Halcovage
I introduced legislation this week to consider removing Schuylkill County Commissioner George Halcovage from office. Almost every single state and county elected official representing Schuylkill County has now called for his resignation. My resolution would form a bipartisan committee to conduct a comprehensive investigation to hear from both sides and to resolve this issue, once and for all.
The Pennsylvania House of Representatives voted unanimously this week to begin a similar investigation, at the request of Schuylkill County Reps. Jerry Knowles, Tim Twardzik, and Joe Kerwin.
Read more here.
Election Results Show Importance of Parental Input in Education
Last week, voters across the country went to the polls for the 2021 election. Here in Pennsylvania, voters had the chance to cast their vote for judges on some of our state’s highest courts, as well as a wide variety of municipal positions. Visit this link to see last week’s results.
One of the biggest surprises was the election of Glenn Youngkin as the Governor of Virginia. Throughout his campaign, Governor-elect Youngkin emphasized the importance of parents input regarding what their children are taught, and frequently mentioned the dangers of critical race theory. Here in Pennsylvania, the Legislature is considering a bill that would increase curriculum transparency, which I will vote for in the Senate. Learn more about this proposal here.
PennDOT Holds Firm on Bridge Tolls at Lenhartsville Despite New Federal Funding
Despite Congress passing a bill that would provide $1 trillion in funding for infrastructure projects, PennDOT has stated they still plan to move forward with their controversial plan to toll nine interstate bridges across Pennsylvania. One of the bridges that would be tolled is the Lenhartsville Bridge, which is part of I-78 in Berks County.
This tolling proposal is just another example of the Wolf Administration, in this case an obscure branch of PennDOT, taking unilateral action without hearing from impacted Pennsylvanians or working with the Legislature. After hearing concerns from many of you, I voted in favor of a bill to ensure the House and the Senate have a voice in this process. Learn more about Congress’ infrastructure project here. To leave public comments on the tolling of the Lenhartsville Bridge, visit this link.
Election Reform and Redistricting Discussion with Rep. Grove
The Pennsylvania Manufacturers’ Association invited me, in my role as the chair of the Senate State Government Committee, to sit down with Rep. Seth Grove (R-York), the chair of the House State Government Committee, to participate in a discussion on redistricting and election reform. You can watch the full program at this link.
Expect Delays on Route 61 in Pottsville
Photo by Lindsey Shuey / Staff Photographer at the Republican Herald
This week, a project to repave and upgrade section of Route 61 in Pottsville began. The project will stretch from Mill Creek Avenue to the Mount Carbon Arch. Expect detours to redirect traffic through downtown Pottsville during the coming weeks. Learn more about this news here.
Celebrating New Hamburg Eagle Scout Lucas J. Blatt
Representative Jerry Knowles and I attended the Eagle Scout Court of Honor for Lucas J. Blatt of Hamburg on Sunday. For his Eagle Project, Lucas worked with Tilden Township on landscaping improvements to their municipal building, including mulching, new plants, and two new birdhouses. Congrats to Lucas on your hard work and service to the community!