Today marks the 45th anniversary of Earth Day. Since the first Earth Day, the United States has made significant strides in improving the quality of our environment: our air, water, land and natural resources. As a U.S. Senator, I strongly believe that we have a duty to preserve the environment not just so we can have clean air to breathe and clean water to drink, but because this world is in our care for our children and our children’s children.
Over forty years ago, Pennsylvanians overwhelmingly ratified the Environmental Rights Amendment to the Commonwealth’s constitution, sending a clear message about our responsibilities as stewards of the Earth. That amendment reads: “The people have a right to clean air, pure water, and to the preservation of the natural scenic, historic and aesthetic values of the environment. Pennsylvania's public natural resources are the common property of all the people, including generations yet to come. As trustee of these resources, the Commonwealth shall conserve and maintain them for the benefit of all the people.”
We can all draw inspiration from a fellow Pennsylvanian who taught the nation that promoting environmental stewardship is an integral component of public service. Rachel Louise Carson was born on May 27, 1907 in Springdale, Pennsylvania. She inspired an environmental movement through her 1962 book, Silent Spring.
In light of her work, it was my pleasure to co-sponsor a resolution with Senator Cardin and Senator Mikulski honoring the life of Rachel Carson. Ms. Carson dedicated her life to environmental stewardship, and her work serves to remind us that we all have a greater responsibility to care for this planet – both for the enrichment of our own lives and the enrichment of those to come.
Earth Day serves as a reminder of the obligation we each possess to care for and conserve this world. As we celebrate this day, may we also take a moment to consider the beauty and wonder of the natural world around us. For in the words of Rachel Carson, “It is a wholesome and necessary thing for us to turn again to the earth and in the contemplation of her beauties to know the sense of wonder and humility.”
Today, we celebrate National Agriculture Day and the vital role agriculture plays in Pennsylvania and around the world. Agriculture has helped create jobs, grow business, and provide food, fuel and fiber for the United States and the world. The work of one farmer feeds 155 people, both domestically and abroad.
Pennsylvanians contribute greatly to the economic and cultural value of agriculture. Agriculture is the number one industry in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, and it has helped to strengthen our state. With over 62,000 farm families and almost 8 million acres of farmland in our state, agriculture contributes $68 billion to Pennsylvania’s economy. The Commonwealth is a key producer of dairy products, as well as crops such as mushrooms, apples, grapes, peaches, cut flowers, pumpkins and Christmas trees.
Even as we celebrate the bounty that Pennsylvania’s farmers provide our economy, I am concerned that 805 million people globally suffer from chronic hunger. The Director of National Intelligence has identified a link between food and nutrition insecurity to instability and insurgency in some developing countries. It is clear that food security around the world contributes to our national security here at home. That is why I am working with U.S. farmers, private sector agricultural firms, non-governmental and faith-based organizations, and American universities to reintroduce the Global Food Security Act (GFSA), a bipartisan bill that will help address this important problem.
As a member of the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry, I am proud to support Pennsylvania’s hard-working farmers, who play such an important role in supporting our economy and getting healthy, locally-grown food to our tables. I am committed to this time-honored tradition, and will fight to ensure Pennsylvania’s farmers continue to thrive.
The Annual White House Easter Egg Roll is on Monday, April 6th. As in past years, the White House is conducting an online lottery to choose the lucky winners of tickets. Pennsylvanians wishing to attend must register for the lottery before the February 26th deadline at Recreation.Gov.
Please join me for a day of tribute honoring JoAnne Epps and Opportunities for Women in Education and Law in commemoration of Black History Month on Monday, February 23, 2015 from 4:00 to 8:00 PM in the United States Capitol in Washington, D.C. JoAnne Epps has been Dean of the Temple University Beasley School of Law since 2008. Her commitment to curricular innovation and experiential legal education has garnered Temple Law School significant praise. In addition to her leadership at Temple Law, Dean Epps has long been a champion for women and minorities within the profession. Please join us as we honor Dean JoAnne Epps and her passion for advancing opportunities for women through education and law at the following events:
4:00 PM Gallery of the United States Senate for my remarks honoring Dean Epps. You must arrive at least 45 minutes early for security screening at the Main Entrance of the Capitol Visitor Center located on 1st St SE. My staff will greet you at the entrance. Parking is available at Union Station.
5:00 PM The Kennedy Caucus Room, Room 325 of the Russell Senate Building for a symposium led by Art Fennell on Opportunities for Women in Education and Law. Panelists include:
- Crystal Brown, Beasley School of Law graduate and mentee of Dean Epps
- Roberta Liebenberg, Senior Partner, Fine Kaplan and Black, Philadelphia
- Chief Judge Ted McKee, Third Circuit Court of Appeals
- Shelley Smith, City Solicitor for Philadelphia
6:30 PM The Kennedy Caucus Room, Room 325 of the Russell Senate Building for a cocktail and hors d’oeuvres reception.
In order for my staff to be prepared for this event, please RSVP by Monday, February 16, 2015 to Michelle Haimowitz, Special Assistant to my Chief of Staff, by telephone at 202-228-6424 or email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Today, we celebrate the 378th birthday of the National Guard and the long tradition of citizen service in the United States. Today, the National Guard continues its dual service role to the states, territories and the District of Columbia as well as to the defense of the United States and its interests across the globe.
Pennsylvanians share in this rich tradition of service in the United States Armed Forces. In 1747, Benjamin Franklin led Philadelphia in the creation of the “Associators,” marking the beginning of what is now the Pennsylvania National Guard. For 267 years, citizens of the Commonwealth have been inspired by the Pennsylvania National Guard motto, “Civilian in peace. Soldier in war.” Ever vigilant, members of the Pennsylvania National Guard stand ready to set aside the comforts of home to support their communities and nation in times of war, natural disaster or civil emergency.
Pennsylvania has one of the largest National Guard forces in the United States. Our citizen-soldiers have fought in every major American conflict from their inception to present day. I am deeply grateful for their continued service to our communities and the nation. I wish the National Guard a “happy birthday.”