Senator Ward, J E-Newsletter

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In this Update:

  • Senate Finishes Review of Shapiro’s Budget Proposal
  • 2024 JumpStart Grant Program
  • PHEAA Workshop
  • PennDOT Shares Roadwork Info with Motorists
  • Happy St. Patrick’s Day!
  • Out and About in the 30th

Senate Finishes Review of Shapiro’s Budget Proposal

The Senate Appropriations Committee finished the last of its review of Gov. Josh Shapiro’s budget proposal, which totals more than $48.3 billion and would increase state spending by 7.1% above the current year’s budget. The governor’s proposal would completely drain the state’s savings and relies on income and spending estimates that are unrealistic.

The Department of Revenue and Governor’s Budget Office hearing focused on the report issued by the non-partisan Independent Fiscal Office that indicates a $24 billion gap between Shapiro’s spending plans and the revenue the state expects to collect in the next five years. These projections show it will be all but impossible to balance budgets in the next five years without deep spending cuts and massive tax increases.

Having completed the official review of Shapiro’s budget proposal, the Senate will use its findings from the hearings to craft its own spending plan, with the goal of enacting a final 2024-25 state budget. Find video and recaps of every budget hearing at

PHEAA Workshop

For more information Click here

2024 JumpStart Grant Program

JumpStart is a competitive grant program for farmers in the business start-up phase and is open to current Horizon Farm Credit customers and non-customers who meet their eligibility criteria. This year, they will be awarding up to fifteen, $10,000 grants. The application period runs from March 1 through April 19. Applications are available at

To be eligible for this grant program, applicants must: 

  • 18 years of age or older as of April 19, 2024
  • two years or less of farming experience OR be planning to start farming within the next two years
  • Reside in Horizon Farm Credit’s territory 

Additionally, their 2023 Cooperative Stewardship Report is available to view. This report highlights how the Association supported people and communities over the past year, and our commitment to being good stewards of all we serve.

PennDOT Shares Roadwork Info with Motorists

As the weather improves, there will be more roadwork. To inform motorists about construction projects that are underway, beginning this year or being bid, the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation offers an informational portal.

It has a mapping application for highway and bridge projects that allows users to obtain information about roadwork projects.

For travel information, visit or call 5-1-1. 511PA is Pennsylvania’s official travel information service, which provides travelers with reliable, current traffic and weather information, as well as links to other transportation services.

Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

Saint Patrick, who lived in the fifth century, is the patron saint of Ireland and was credited with bringing Christianity to the country.

Even though the Irish have observed St. Patrick’s Day as a religious holiday for more than 1,000 years, the first St. Patrick’s Day parade actually took place in America. Records show the first parade was held on March 17, 1601, in a Spanish colony in what is now St. Augustine, Fla.

“May your troubles be less and your blessings be more, and nothing but happiness come through your door.” – Irish blessing

Out and About in the 30th

I was excited to visit the Claysburg Kimmel School District today along with Fred Strathmeyer, Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture (PDA) Deputy Secretary for Plant Industry and Consumer Protection, to discuss the new Hydroponics Educational Facility recently announced by the Claysburg Education Foundation. This facility, generously funded by Mark and Karen Barnhart, will introduce students to hydroponics. The students will donate a significant portion of the produce grown to local food banks and cafeterias, addressing food insecurity in the community. Additionally, surplus produce will be sold, providing the freshest possible products year-round and offering the students an opportunity to develop real-world entrepreneurial skills.

I had the pleasure of touring the manufacturing facility of Wieland Small Tube Products (WSTP) in Duncansville and meeting with their management team to discuss their thriving business. This local company, which has been operating in Blair County since 1958, is the largest and most diverse precision redraw tube mill in North America producing copper, brass, bronze, copper-nickel, nickel-silver and aluminum tube and tube fabrications. We are blessed to have this successful, growing company in our community.

I was pleased to be invited to read to students at Sacred Heart Elementary School in Lewistown. I had a great group of kids from kindergarten through 5th grade, who got a kick out of me reading Dr. Seuss’s book, “Fox in Socks.” There are some challenging tongue twisters in that story. What a fun time!

Enjoyed the Blair County Chamber’s monthly breakfast, where the topic was a year in review of Operation Our Town. Operation Our Town is a community partnership in Blair County that promotes healthy neighborhoods by fighting drug abuse and crime.

I was pleased to participate in the Blair County Chamber of Commerce’s We-LEAD (Women Encouraging — Leadership, Education and Development) event this week. I shared remarks on women in business and encouraged the ladies in attendance to strive for success.

I was honored to recognize Officer Derugen of Mifflin County Regional Police Department, with my colleagues Representative David Rowe and Representative Kerry Benninghoff, for going above and beyond in his role to protect and serve the community.  


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