As the Senator for the 37th District, which includes parts of Allegheny and Washington counties, I know our region and its employers play a key role in driving the state’s prosperity.
Senate leadership has entrusted me with membership on four prominent committees: Appropriations, Local Government, Labor & Industry and Community, Economic & Recreational Development. These assignments position me – and by extension our community and its employers – to play a key role in how we move the Commonwealth’s economy, workforce and neighborhoods forward.
A native of southwestern PA, I was raised in the Brookline neighborhood of Pittsburgh and understand the important role businesses play in our local communities. In Harrisburg, I will work to enact policies that create an environment for job growth while meeting the core responsibilities of government. It is also important to me that we maintain our historic investment in our schools and explore new ways to streamline state government in order to use tax dollars most efficiently.
Often, legislative priorities are determined by current events – especially in times such as these. My number-one priority this session is economic recovery and future stability in the aftermath of COVID-19. I will work to find ways to maximize the use of existing state resources to help struggling businesses and find new sources of revenue moving forward.
I will work with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to get the state back to work. The unprecedented number of workers idled by the pandemic shows how deeply this coronavirus impacted Pennsylvania families. Our focus must continue to be on rebuilding Pennsylvania in the wake of this deadly virus and the resulting statewide closures of our economy.
After serving three combat tours in Iraq and Afghanistan as an infantryman with the U.S. Marine Corps, I came home and started my own business, Veterans Medical Technology. As a small business owner, I know that government should be a stakeholder in the businesses who choose to invest in our region. Government and enterprise should work to ensure that sustainable economic growth is the focus instead of job-killing tax hikes. I know that proposals to raise the personal income tax by 46 percent will be destructive to mom-and-pop employers who have already been devastated by the COVID-19 shutdowns. Instead of taxing a burdened community, government should invest in enterprise to expand the tax base horizontally instead of raising taxes vertically.
Overcoming the severe impact of the pandemic on Pennsylvania’s economy will not be easy. I hope to bring a fresh perspective to Harrisburg, emphasizing that through continued fiscal responsibly and controlled spending, we can balance the 2021-22 budget.
We also must make changes to the state’s Unemployment Compensation system. The failures of this system were highlighted during the pandemic. We need to work with employers and their workers to develop a system that ensures that those who are entitled to unemployment payments receive them in a timely fashion while protecting against fraud in the system.
Organizations such as the Pittsburgh Airport Area Chamber of Commerce are an important cog in the wheel that is our economy. As we move down this road to recovery, I look forward to working with the group and its members as we continue to move the region and the Commonwealth forward.