Apr. 30, 2024

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Scam Alert: I am NOT Soliciting Police Donations

Click here to view video.

Last week, my office was contacted by a constituent who received a phone call claiming to be from me and asking people to donate in support of the police.

Please know that I never recorded this message or authorized this call in any way. While I certainly support our law enforcement officers and any legitimate efforts to raise money on their behalf, I implore anyone who receives this call claiming to be from me to immediately hang up and report it to your local police department.

I am outraged that someone would use my voice to try to take advantage of people’s generosity toward our hard-working law enforcement officers. We have reported this incident to our state and local police and county sheriff’s offices, as well as Capitol Police in Harrisburg.

Anyone who received this call and gave the caller their credit card information should immediately call their credit card company to report the incident.
Gehman Iron Inc. Meets Pennsylvania College of Technology

When I am out and about in the community it often gives me the opportunity to reconnect with business owners. Several months ago, I was out in the district and crossed paths with Josh Gehman, owner and president of Gehman Iron Inc. He later reached out to me with an idea he had for his business and future labor development within the local workforce. After a brief conversation together that afternoon, I had my office reach out to him and set up a tour of Gehman Iron manufacturing facility to meet some of his employees, gain a greater understanding of his idea and introduce him to a new connection, Susan Kefover, executive director from The Fund for Northern Tier Development. And so the organic community connections have begun. Click here for the article from my recent visit with Gehman Iron Inc.

After that fantastic tour, the next connection I thought would bring value to Gehman Iron and impact our community and Commonwealth was with the Pennsylvania College of Technology. This past week I made this connection, and a new local workforce relationship has been made. Josh Gehman sums up the visit and tour the best, “The tooling and capabilities they have for a good education are really top notch. Was great to see the passion and energy from the three who gave us the tour as well. I’m sure it will be a great connection going forward and we have a better understanding of how they educate and will look to partner with them for any of our school-to-work employees in the future.”

I would like to thank Shanin Dougherty, corporate relations officer of Pennsylvania College of Technology, alongside of Patrick Marty, chief government and international relations officer, and Brad Webb, dean of Engineering Technologies, for providing an all-encompassing tour and presenting the synergetic opportunities Gehman Iron Inc. and PCT can develop. Ultimately this is about building a stronger community in workforce development and placement through local connections. I look forward to how this new connection and future connections within our district will strengthen our rural area.
Celebrating 40 Years of Selfless Servanthood

At almost 94 years old, Lorraine Erway continues to emulate a servant's heart and shows the impact a selfless person has on a community. She has been serving in the Wellsboro Food Pantry for 40 years, ensuring men, women and children of Wellsboro in need have enough nourishing food to make a few meals.

Over 40 years ago a small group of people, including Matt Baker and Lorraine Erway recognized a hunger need in our community. They put their minds and hearts together, developed a resolution and implemented the plan. The Wellsboro Food Pantry was born.

Lorraine doesn’t miss a shift. Her love for helping others keeps her hands and feet moving. She is not focused on herself; she is focused on helping and giving to those in her community, ultimately making it stronger. I can’t imagine how many people have been served with an abundance of love, grace, canned goods and fresh foods by Lorraine over the last 40 years. She is a true inspiration of selfless servanthood that builds stronger communities and connections. Thank you, Lorraine, for loving on and building up our community through selfless serving. To the rest of us I ask, where will we be serving over the next 40 years?

If you are interested in learning more about the Wellsboro Food Pantry, be sure to check out its facebook page.
Reading, Writing, Arithmetic and Connecting

We are never too young or too old to learn something and connect with someone new. It is so fun to take a quick moment to look into the hearts and eyes of our little ones. They are full of energy, giggles, wiggles and innocence. They are little sponges ready to soak up anything they can possibly learn, eager to grow up and become an astronaut, firefighter, farmer, doctor, lawyer, teacher, nurse or maybe even a legislator!

This past week I had the opportunity to meet several children of the Mansfield Area Nursery School to read, “Good Night Moon” during their week of study on Earth Day and the solar system. What a joy to have connected with the little minds with rhymes. Such fun times!
Connecting with Developing Leaders

The only way we build our muscles, strengthen our core, and grow our minds are to train them, stretch them, use them and repeat. How do we, as leaders, employers, educators and volunteers, strengthen and grow ourselves? We train, we step out of our comfort zones, we serve, we connect, we repeat. Our results ultimately strengthen our communities.

I had the pleasure of connecting with a room full of current and future leaders of Tioga County’s workforce who are participating in a training and development program through Develop Tioga, titled Leadership Tioga County. Many businesses and nonprofit organizations were represented.

I led the group through a brief exercise in defining a healthy community and economic development. These leaders did not disappoint. We were aligned in our definitions, desires and duties. I wanted to leave these leaders with the understanding that true community and economic development comes from the ground up, not the top down. It starts with them. As a legislator, my role is to look for ways to support those on the ground level that are using their time, talent and treasure to build true community and economic development. I am here for practical help in working to remove obstacles; publicizing grant opportunities; identifying business issues and creating relationships for resolutions; drafting and voting on legislation that will help our communities prosper; continuously making connections among businesses, education, nonprofits and state government; and sharing the success stories from within our communities.

My top line is always how can I be helpful and how can I make sure government does not negatively impact the community but supports the organic growth that makes areas like ours so wonderful.
Legislators Connect with Workforce Leaders

The Mary Wells Dining Hall at the historic Penn Wells Hotel was alive with chatter among our community leaders connecting with one another and our government legislators, having the opportunity to ask questions and engage in sidebar conversations. It was one of my favorite legislative breakfasts to date.

We had 140 members of our community come out and participate in the 26th annual Legislative Breakfast held by Develop Tioga and hosted by two of our county commissioners, Marc Rice and Shane Nickerson. It was a wonderful morning for everyone involved through networking opportunities; receiving legislative updates from the local, state and federal legislators; and building connections. It was all encompassing for our workforce leaders to hear from Congressman Glenn Thompson, Senator Gene Yaw, and our Tioga County commissioners, as well as updates from Gov. Josh Shapiro's staff in one sitting.

I had a ton of fun with presenting my update showing the value of connecting with community as I asked several leaders in the room to participate within my speech.

We do not all define success the same way. The general feeling out there about government right now is that many would say things are feeling successful! We have divided government in Harrisburg between the House and Senate, and we are the minority in the House. To be successful I need to control my controllables. What are our controllables? We can draft and introduce legislation; we have a platform, media and direct mail to educate others; and we have opportunities to help with community and economic development. There are practical state department issues we can help with. We can stop bad bills and ideas from moving forward. We advocate for initiatives and inspire the next generation of leaders.

I want to get back to getting bills passed into legislation, which does show success, but that opportunity has taken a pause. So this past year we looked for ways to pour fuel on other areas of influence and areas that are controllable, and that includes connecting the community to one another and Harrisburg.

I find myself even more energized and encouraged than before! From communications through my Community Connection, school visits, business and educational institution tours, published op-eds calling for community action to celebrations of the people who are making a difference through selflessly serving as volunteers, helping saving lives, and working with development of leaders throughout my district. Meeting with the boots on the ground, connecting them with resources, and understanding their hurdles is success and I am thankful for it.
Important Update for Students Seeking Financial Aid

The Pennsylvania Higher Education Assistance Agency (PHEAA) has announced the submission deadline for the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), with relation to the Pennsylvania State Grant Program, has been extended to June 1.

The launch of the FAFSA application for the upcoming academic year was delayed almost three months as the FAFSA underwent changes as a result of the FAFSA Simplification Act, which was intended to streamline the financial aid application process. The U.S. Department of Education rolled out the new FAFSA on Dec. 31 for the 2024-25 academic year, but it has since encountered a number of issues, delays and errors in processing student applications.

The PA State Grant Program uses the FAFSA form as its primary application point to determine student eligibility for a PA State Grant award. Historically, May 1 was used as the deadline for students to complete their FAFSA for PA State Grant purposes.

More information is available at www.pheaa.org.
Call Before You Dig

April is Safe Digging Month, an opportunity to raise awareness of the importance of calling 8-1-1 before digging to ensure the safety of excavation projects across the state.

Every time an underground utility line is hit, there is a risk to the contractors or homeowners who are doing the digging; to utility workers and emergency responders who are mobilized to deal with the damage; and to bystanders who live, work or travel near the locations of the incidents.

State law requires contractors and residents to contact PA One Call at least three business days prior to excavation – triggering alerts to all utilities within an intended digging area and prompting utilities to mark where their lines are located. Pennsylvanians can dial 8-1-1 to connect with the One Call system, while out-of-state residents or businesses can call 1-800-242-1776.

Learn more at www.PA1call.com.