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In this Email Update:
Join me for a Special Telephone Town Hall tonight!
Because of the importance of the ongoing state budget debate, I'm inviting you to join me this evening--and thousands of your neighbors--for a special Telephone Town Hall, focused on the state budget debate—and the more than 30 day budget stalemate.
I look forward to hearing your questions and your ideas about the governor’s vetoes and the issues surrounding the budget debate during my upcoming telephone town hall event tonight from 6 p.m. - 7 p.m.
More information can be found in my recent e-newsletter.
Elimination, not reduction, of school property taxes is what majority of residents want in 29th District
I recently submitted a letter to the editor to the Pottsville Republican Herald and the Hazleton Standard Speaker defending Senate Bill 76 – the Property Tax Independence Act. The editorial board argued that the legislature should be seeking to reduce, not eliminate school property taxes. In my letter to the editor, I state several key reasons why this is the number one issue in Berks and Schuylkill Counties.
You can read my letter here.
Congratulations to the Borough of Tamaqua for receiving the Construction Award for Special Historic Properties with its East Broad Street Bridge at the 2015 Pennsylvania Historic Preservation Awards! This is truly a proud moment for the Tamaqua community as it continues to boast a plethora of historic places, properties and resources for residents and visitors to see and enjoy!
Councilman Justin Startzel, Borough Manager Kevin Steigerwalt, Mayor Chris Morrison, Council President Micah Gursky, Representative Jerry Knowles, Senator Argall, Councilman Brian Connely and Councilwoman Kerry Dowd-Lasky cut the ribbon for the rehabbed bridge. Photo credit: Times News.
Act 90, anti-blight law, at work
In an effort to revitalize and improve our communities and neighborhoods, Act 90 of 2010, which I sponsored, established a state law that fights blight and makes negligent property owners accountable for deteriorated properties that violate codes and standards.
The Hazleton Standard Speaker published a story last month that illustrates the positive impact Act 90 has made on neighborhood blight reclamation and revitalization efforts.
In this story, the Standard Speaker discusses a case where the owner of a fire-destroyed Hazleton property, Lyla Younes of Brigantine New Jersey, was extradited to Pennsylvania and obliged to pay $35,000 in fines due to her failure to comply with building codes after two years of negotiations and a summary trial.
According to Frank Andrea, the city’s police chief, Younes’ case would be the first of many more to follow. Inattentive landlords who allow their properties to become decrepit and dilapidated will be held accountable by the city to remedy their violations or remove the blighted property entirely.
Moral of the story: Take responsibility and care of your property. Failure to do so can result in legal ramifications such as jail time.
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette Editorial: Slow down: Cameras are necessary to protect road workers
In the ongoing effort to protect both construction crews and motorists in work zones, legislation I’m sponsoring along with Senator Judy Schwank (D-Berks) recently was the topic of an editorial in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.
The editorial notes the two dozen motorists and workers who died in work zones last year as a result of speeding and distracted driving, the editorial argues that a pilot program Senator Schwank and I are offering would “put the brakes on much work zone speeding.”
Read the editorial here.
Special elections on Tuesday bring in new Republican, Democrat to State House
Last night, two special elections were held in Pennsylvania as candidates vied to fill vacant seats in the Pennsylvania House of Representatives in the 87th Legislative District and 161st Legislative District.
In the 87th Legislative District, which is located in Cumberland County, Republican Greg Rothman, a real estate executive, came up victorious against his opponent, Democrat Bob Charles, a retired businessman. Rothman will be filling the seat vacated by Republican Representative Glenn Grell, who announced his resignation earlier in the spring in order to become the Executive Director of the Public School Employees’ Retirement System (PSERS).
In the 161st Legislative District, located in Delaware County, Democrat Leanne Krueger-Braneky, a businesswoman, defeated both of her challengers, Republican Paul Mullen, a local labor leader, and Independent Republican Lisa Esler, a Tea Party activist and local school board member. Krueger-Braneky will be taking the unfilled seat that was held by Republican Joe Hackett, who resigned in April of this year in order to focus his career on law enforcement.
According to Capitolwire.com, “What makes that race interesting is the GOP’s candidate, who himself is the AFL-CIO's county boss and business manager of an International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers local, has the backing of the PA AFL-CIO labor union.”
The race in the 161st Legislative District also received quite a bit of attention, with Governor Wolf campaigning in the district to support Krueger-Braneky days before the special election. What’s most surprising is that despite the Governor’s campaign help and backing, Krueger-Braneky only secured 48 percent of the vote, with Mullen trailing at 42 percent and Esler at 10 percent.
Three more special elections are set to take place on Tuesday, August 11 in Philadelphia’s 174th, 191st and 195th Legislative Districts.
Republican Timothy Dailey, an educator, will be taking on Democrat Ed Neilson, an electrician and former House member, to represent the 174th Legislative District. The House seat was held by Representative John Sabatina Jr., who resigned after being elected to serve in the 5th State Senate District during the special election that was held in May.
Republican Charles A. Wilkins, Jr., a small business owner, will be running against Democrat Joanna McClinton, Chief Counsel to Senator Anthony Williams, and Independent Tracey Gordon, a political consultant, for seat in the 191st legislative district. All three candidates are seeking to fill the vacant position left by Representative Ron Waters, who resigned in June after pleading guilty to charges dealing with conflict of interest.
In the 195th Legislative District, Republican candidate Adam Long, a community activist, is challenging Democrat Donna Bullock, Special Assistant to City Council President Darrell Clarke. Both candidates will be vying to fill the vacant seat left by Representative Michelle Brownlee, who plead guilty to conflict of interest charges.
On Tuesday, November 3, a special election will be held to fill a vacant seat in the 37th State Senate District. Republican candidate Guy Reschenthaler, a former district judge, will challenge Democrat Heather Arnet, the CEO of the Women and Girls Foundation, for the seat left open by Senator Matt Smith, who resigned in June to become the President of the Greater Pittsburgh Chamber of Commerce.