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50% of all U.S. adults have been partially vaccinated - that's an incredible milestone. What's more is that all adults in every U.S. state, Washington, D.C., and Puerto Rico are now eligible for a Covid-19 vaccine. As our nation continues the battle against our common enemy, COVID-19, let there be no doubt that I will continue fighting for our community's priorities. While we have made great progress, there is still a long road to recovery ahead. But having seen the resilience across our community, I'm optimistic that we can work together to build a more equitable and properous Pennsylvania as we emerge from this pandemic.
There are countless issues that plagued our community, Commonwealth, and country before the pandemic, such as gun violence, that have only since been exacerbated. That's why I was proud to support the American Rescue Plan, a historic and comprehensive investment in the American people.
While I was home in Pennsylvania, I held over a dozen community events to share the benefits of this relief package for small businesses, working families, health centers, and more. I also used this time at home to hear directly from you, our community members, so I can be our voice in Congress. It's my honor to serve each of you, so please don't hesitate to reach out if we can be of assistance.
In This E-Newsletter You Will Find:
Bringing Together Subject Matter Experts to Answer Your Vaccine Questions
Since Governor Tom Wolf's announcement to accelerate the vaccine rollout, we've heard from many of you who were excited to schedule your vaccine appointment! Even as vaccinations continue to progress in our community and across the nation, we know questions remain. I've asked Randy Padfield, Director of PEMA, Brian Gottschall, Director of Berks County Emergency Services, and Jeanne Franklin, Director of Chester County Health Department to join us for a Vaccine Town Hall on Thursday, April 22 at 6:30PM. To participate, dial (855) 731-4616. I look forward to taking your questions!
Delivering for Pennsylvanians: American Rescue Plan Tour
Supporting Community Health Centers' Vaccine Distribution
We are lucky to live in such a diverse community, and our local health centers have risen to the challenge to provide quality care to all our residents. I'm immensely proud of their commitment and was honored to see their efficient operation in person! As I toured LCH Health and Community Services, I felt the positive energy as people received their vaccine. This virus does not discriminate based on ethnicity, employment status, or income level, which is why we must all work together to root out this disease. The American Rescue Plan provided critical funding to community centers just like LCH, and I remain dedicated to supporting them through the remainder of this pandemic and beyond.
Our (Not So Secret) Gem - the Mushroom Capital of the World
Driving around Kennett Square, you'd be hard-pressed to go even a mile without seeing one of our community's many mushroom farms! It was great to catch up with the owners of To-Jo Mushrooms, a 4th-generation family business, and talk about funding for our farmers in the most recent COVID relief package. Our agriculture industry is a major economic driver in our area, and my door is always open to ensure I'm hearing from farmers about their needs.
Protecting Our Small Businesses from the Spotted Lanternfly
Nearly everyone I meet in our community can attest - spotted lanternflies are affecting our everyday life. I won’t mince words: this insect is a threat to our Commonwealth and community, and I understand just how much it impacts Chester and Berks counties. Our agritourism small businesses have been hit two-fold. Countless vineyards and breweries, like Braeloch Brewing in Kennett Square pictured above, have shared their concerns with me about production yields and customer experience at their venues. At present, our Commonwealth stands to lose up $324 million each year and 2,800 jobs if we stand by. I won't let that happen.
Instead, I've turned those concerns into legislative action. Representative Brian Fitzpatrick (R-PA) and I led a bipartisan group of our colleagues to urge incoming USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack to increase funding for research to eradicate this invasive and economically destructive bug. It's time to squash the spotted lanternfly once and for all.
Listening to Our Health Care Professionals on the Frontlines
It's so important to hear directly from our health care experts in the community about what's happening here on the ground. I was grateful to catch up with local health leaders across our district to hear about vaccine distribution and what more is needed from a Federal standpoint. I spoke with professionals from the Berks Community Health Center recently about not only their vaccine distribution progress, but also mental health and addiction services they provide the community.
Celebrating Funding to Safely Reopen Schools and Childhood Development Centers
As a former educator, I'm the first to agree with you - every child needs a rich, quality education. But that never meant leaving teachers and school staff with no resources to safely open their schools. That's why I made sure this funding to reopen our classrooms was included in the American Rescue Plan. Recently, I saw how those funds are being put to use at Berks County Intermediate Unit. I joined these adorable kids for reading time as part of their Head Start Program.
Congratulating Reading High Boys Basketball on State Title
I was honored to celebrate the Reading High Boys Basketball state title with the players and coaching staff and share a tradition I brought to public office from the military - challenge coins. Congratulations again to Superintendent Dr. Mumin, Coach Perez, all of our talented athletes, and every person who has supported this program through a difficult year. You all have made our community so proud.
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