As Chairman-designate of the Joint Economic Committee, I will travel the Commonwealth to listen to what Pennsylvanians believe are the best policies to create jobs and spur economic growth.
This past Monday, I had the opportunity to visit with Precision Custom Component (PCC) in South Central Pennsylvania. Located in York, PCC is a manufacturing company that has more than doubled its workforce in the past six years. PCC was recently recognized the Central Penn Business Journal as the Best Business of the Year and one of the Top 50 Fastest Growing Companies in Pennsylvania.
The visit to PCC allowed me to highlight the innovation and ingenuity that can be found within Pennsylvania’s manufacturing sector. The strength of Pennsylvania’s manufacturing industry plays a vital role in the economic sustainability of the Commonwealth. My main priority as the incoming Chairman of the Joint Economic Committee is to review policies on how to create jobs.
I will utilize my visit with PCC and upcoming visits with constituents throughout the Commonwealth to examine successful policies that will help foster job creation and drive economic growth in Pennsylvania and across the United States.
On Tuesday I had the privilege of attending the 2011 Inaugural Swearing-In Ceremony for Governor Tom Corbett in Harrisburg. I was joined by former Governors Ridge, Rendell, Thornburgh, and Schweiker as well as members of the Pennsylvania State House, Senate and the Pennsylvania Congressional Delegation. In addition to these elected officials who attended the ceremony we were joined by many citizens from across our Commonwealth. These individuals braved the cold and inclement weather to participate in one of the hallmarks of our democracy, the peaceful transfer of power from one party to another.
I was proud to take part in this historic ceremony and look forward to working with Governor Corbett and his administration in the future, on a host of important issues facing our great Commonwealth. I believe this ceremony was the beginning of that work and I look forward to continuing our efforts on behalf of the people of Pennsylvania.
The horrific tragedy in Arizona sparked a sense of sadness and loss across the country. My thoughts and prayers are with the victims and their families.
As we mourn the loss of six lives, including a federal judge and a young girl recently elected to student government, and hope for a full recovery for the 14 injured, the shock has been exacerbated by the fact that an elected official was targeted.
The motivations of someone capable of this sort of attack can't be fully comprehended. There is, however, ample evidence of increased vitriol and anger directed at elected officials in recent years. All of us, especially those of us who are public officials or politically active, have an obligation to lower the heat in our debates and to show respect for each other.
In our history we have seen and overcome deep division. The words of Abraham Lincoln at the time of our greatest divisions can give us inspiration.
In his First Inaugural he said in part: "We are not enemies, but friends. We must not be enemies. Though passion may have strained, it must not break our bonds of affection." He concludes with the belief that all will again be touched "by the better angels of our nature."
After hundreds of thousands of casualties in the North and South, in the Second Inaugural he says in part: "With malice toward none; with charity for all: with firmness in the right, as God gives us to see the right, let us strive on to finish the work we are in; to bind up the nation's wounds....."
As we mourn together, I hope that we can come together as Americans with respect for our differences and for our common bonds.
Friday I had the privilege to speak to members of Pennsylvania's agriculture community during the opening of the 95th annual Pennsylvania Farm Show. Over the next week nearly 500,000 people will visit the show to see nearly 8,000 animals, 13,000 competitive exhibits, and 300 commercial exhibitors. It’s no secret that agriculture is important both economically and culturally to Pennsylvania and this event showcases the best we have to offer. With over 63,000 farms in Pennsylvania, agriculture is the top industry in the state. That is why, as a member of the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry, I’ll continue working to ensure that all Pennsylvanians have access to a safe, nutritious, abundant and affordable food supply, and that our farmers have the support they need to do their job.
If you haven’t been to the Farm Show, I encourage you to visit. If you are a Farm Show regular, please come back and see all the new displays and try the tasty foods.
Yesterday, I joined two hundred Lehigh Valley community members for the opening ceremony of Veterans Sanctuary, a 32 bed facility which aims to provide mental health support and physical therapy to veterans returning from combat. The sanctuary will help heal the many veterans who served our country and whose lives bear the special burden of combat stress. Its approach focuses on supporting both veterans and their families, so the whole family can heal together.
Given the impact the current wars in Iraq and Afghanistan has had on the nation’s armed forces, places like the Veterans Sanctuary are more and more necessary. It is hard to quantify the need for such facilities, which benefit the whole community. At the ceremony, I renewed my commitment to work for service members and their families. We must ensure that spending cuts – a popular Republican talking point – don’t erase or diminish benefits or programs for veterans.