BY REP. ANITA KULIK
The House of Representatives was in session the week of April 11 and the Capitol was filled with visitors. Advocacy groups were set up in the rotundas with displays and spent their time at the Capitol visiting their local Representatives and Senators. As we get closer to the adoption of a budget, these groups come to speak with their elected officials to promote their interests and needs.
Pharmacy schools from across the Commonwealth visited the Capitol with students and faculty promoting their education programs. I was pleased to visit with students from my alma mater, Duquesne University. The students were advocating on behalf of the Pennsylvania Pharmacists Association for support of House Bill 1535, which would make pharmacy immunization waivers, granted during the pandemic, permanent.
I also had a visit with students and faculty from Robert Morris University. Joining my colleague, Rep. Valerie Gaydos, we discussed the important impact the university has on the communities in our districts. Robert Morris University is part of the Association of Independent Colleges and Universities of Pennsylvania (AICUP). These colleges and universities have great economic impacts in the Commonwealth. RMU alone provides substantial economic stimulation to our district communities. In Coraopolis alone, a large number of students not only reside in the town, but support many of the local businesses.
An important visit this week came from members of the Southwestern Pennsylvania Commission.
They were joined by commissioners and county leaders from the 10 western Pennsylvania counties.
They met with a bipartisan, bicameral group of legislators from Allegheny County and the other surrounding counties from the west.
The conversation concentrated on fair funding issues. It is very clear that infrastructure is the hot topic in our region. It is also clear that the western counties receive a far less fair share of available funding, compared to the southeastern counties.
It was agreed by all at the meeting that legislators and county officials must come together – no matter what political party they represent – and stand for Western Pennsylvania. Our counties bring in 20% of the state’s revenue and make up 20% of Pennsylvania’s population. Yet, the western counties do not receive an equitable share of funding.
Infrastructure investment will increase our populations, better our neighborhoods, and bring in well-paying, long-term jobs. Broadband connectivity is also an important component of infrastructure investment. It will strengthen our education programs, increase job opportunities and promote industry and manufacturing opportunities in our areas.
Everyday our communities witness ongoing problems with failing roadways and bridges, landslides and flooding issues. It is vital that the western counties receive a fair share of the state and federal funding coming to Pennsylvania. This is, to me, a persistent problem, one that arises in many ways (such as the proposed tolling of Interstate 79).
Please remember that the LIHEAP program will come to an end on May 7.. The Rent and Mortgage Rebate Program will end on June 30.
Please be sure to contact my office before the deadline dates if you need any assistance with these and any other state-related programs.
I also want to offer a reminder that State Senator Robinson and I are hosting a special event on May 7 in Robinson Township’s Burkett Park, where you will be able to dispose of important papers by way of shredding, dispose of unwanted medicines through the Project DUMP initiative, and recycle glass.
The event starts at 8 a.m. and runs until 11 a.m.
Carnegie joins G:2
Lastly, I am excited to have Carnegie Borough added to the Gazette 2.0 family. Carnegie is a wonderfully growing community and will bring many interesting stories to Gazette readers.
Plus, I know that the residents of Carnegie will be interested in learning more about what is happening in other communities in the area.