In this Update:
Pennsylvania Farm Show Week
Another great Farm Show week in the books. I was able to visit a few constituents along the way as well! Pictured with me are Melissa Fraker (Juniata County) who was manning the Nuts for You stand, Robbie DelGrosso and Renee Swogger helping out at the DelGrosso (Blair County) food booth, and Audrey Gay Rodgers (Mifflin County) and Josie Abate showing cattle from Audrey’s Hameau Farm in Belleville.
It was such a great experience to hear from both PA Secretary of Agriculture Russell Redding and the Secretary of the United States Department of Agriculture, Tom Vilsack, at the PA Farm Show public officials’ luncheon. They spoke about the challenges that agriculture currently faces and the opportunities for the agriculture industry’s future growth. They truly understand agriculture and I’m excited to see where these two guide the agriculture industry going forward.
2023 Review: Empowering Parents with Their Children’s Education
Just as Senate Republicans led efforts to help students, we also focused on increasing parents’ involvement in the education of their children. After all, the people who know their child best and love them most should not be barred from playing an active role in their lives in any environment.
We passed a bill to empower parents to protect their own child from accessing sexually explicit content at school, without impacting the books available to other students. Schools should not have the ability to show our children content adults are barred from viewing at their jobs if their parents don’t support it. Another bill would expand parents’ access to what students are learning.
A new law makes it easier for parents to enroll their children in school when they move because of the family’s involvement in the military. It would help students avoid delays that can require them to take summer classes or graduate later than expected.
2023 Review: Supporting Pennsylvania Veterans
Our military members and veterans made the selfless decision to serve our country and preserve the American way of life we hold so dear. The Senate passed several measures in 2023 to support military families and veterans.
Act 13 of 2023 ensures Pennsylvanians entering military service can retain professional licenses and certifications. Previously, veterans had a much more challenging transition from military life to civilian life because certain skills they obtained during the service were not recognized. Now, veterans don’t have to waste time duplicating the training they already received.
Senate Resolution 46 establishes the Task Force on Women Veterans’ Health Care, which will study the unique health care and access issues facing female veterans and make recommendations to the governor and General Assembly for action.
Other measures we passed exempt disabled veterans’ benefit payments from income eligibility calculations for government programs, provide educational support for children of National Guard and Reserves members, establish the Veteran-Owned Business Loan Guarantee Program and more.
Check Out My New Website
I recently redesigned my website to improve its speed, make it more user-friendly – particularly on mobile devices – and give it a fresh look so it is easier for you to get the state-related information you need. My goal is always to make your experience dealing with your government as positive as possible, whether you prefer to interact online or in person.
My offices are available to serve you with all sorts of things, including status reports on legislation, applications for Pennsylvania birth and death certificates, state tax forms, PACE/PACENET applications, voter registration forms and more.
My offices are open Monday through Friday from 9 AM to 4:30 PM. If you ever need assistance my office locations are located at:
Blair County Office
Fulton County Office
Mifflin County Office
Additionally, I have office hours in Huntingdon County to serve your needs. The location is the Shirley Township Municipal Building, 15480 Croghan Pike, Shirleysburg. The hours are 10am – 3pm the first and third Wednesday of each month.
PA Youth: Become a Litter Hawk
Kids in grades kindergarten through sixth grade who want clean places to live and play are invited to become litter hawks to help people see how litter and trash hurt the environment through art, words or video.
Individuals, school classrooms, homeschoolers, scout groups, clubs and other organized groups are all welcome to participate. Prizes will be awarded to two entries per grade. Categories are poster (K-4), essay (5) and video (6). Apply online by Jan. 31, and winners will be announced in May.
Helping First Responders Access Federal Dollars
Federal assistance grants are available to support firefighter and emergency medical service organizations, but only a fraction of the first responders who apply do so successfully.
Giving organizations the information they need to access this critical funding for vehicles, gear and more will help local governments avoid raising taxes to cover the costs associated with keeping our communities safe.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency offers free webinars about how to apply for funding under the Assistance to Firefighters grant program and workshops covering the Assistance to Firefighters grant program, Fire Prevention and Safety grant program and Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response grants. Learn more.
Monday is Martin Luther King Jr. Day
“I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character.”
Martin Luther King Jr. Day is a time for reflection on his peaceful contributions to the civil rights movement. Many people also spend time honoring Dr. King’s legacy by participating in community service to better their neighborhoods. No matter how we spend the day, let us remember his desire to unify our country as he shared in his historic speech in Washington, D.C. more than 60 years ago.
Our offices will be closed on Monday, January 15th in honor of MLK Day. We will reopen on Tuesday.
Out and About in the 30th
State Representative Kerry Benninghoff and I visited the Mifflin County High School on Monday, January 8, 2024. During our visit, we presented Ashlie Crosson with citations from both the Senate and the House honoring her as a 2024 Teacher of the Year. We also took time to answer some questions from a group of students ranging from election security to educational funding.
This week the Juniata Business and Industry (JBI) held their annual meeting, which included a presentation on land development in the area from the Juniata County Planning and Development Department. Pictured are current JBI board members.
Congratulations to Reliance Bank in Downtown Altoona on the opening of their newest location!
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