Since taking the oath of office in January, I have been working hard to meet the needs of the citizens I was elected to represent. In addition to hiring staff, establishing an office and developing a website, I have been speaking at events, meeting with constituents and implementing my legislative agenda.
I have spent a lot of time traveling throughout the 20th District. Highlights of my activities are as varied as the six counties I represent. In Luzerne County, I met with local officials and representatives of federal and state agencies to address flooding issues and helped to secure emergency repairs to a decaying bridge. In Monroe County, I participated in a legislative update regarding recycling efforts. In Pike County, I met with conservation and planning officials to discuss “smart” development. I also brought the Senate Agriculture and Rural Affairs Committee to town to hear testimony from local farmers in Wayne, Wyoming and Susquehanna counties regarding dairy, crops, livestock and other issues.
To date, my staff and I have assisted nearly 3,000 constituents by responding to requests for information, filling out applications for PACE, Property Tax/Rent Rebate and other programs, and providing assistance with state-related matters. We have responded to more than 2,000 letters and emails on issues such as highway improvements, property taxes and the state budget. We have attended more than 250 meetings and community events ranging from scouting ceremonies and library openings to regional tourism discussions and education forums. Additionally, I have met with the regional heads of each of the state agency offices to discuss the status of major projects in our area.
I serve on several Senate committees, including Communications and Technology, Community, Economic and Recreational Development, Education, and Public Health and Welfare. I anticipate they will be some of the most active and productive groups as we tackle access to quality and affordable health care, property tax reform and job growth.
In February, the committee I chair, Veterans Affairs and Emergency Preparedness, held a joint hearing with the Transportation Committee to conduct an investigation regarding the state’s failures during the Valentine’s Day storm. In June, we will reconvene to ensure that emergency response agencies are making appropriate progress in implementing the steps recommended as a result of our hearing and the governor’s Witt Report.
I am concentrating on the issues that people indicated were important during my campaign – effective and efficient governing, protecting citizens, strengthening families and communities, and conserving natural resources – and have begun work on initiatives addressing each of these areas.
I have already introduced six pieces of legislation, including a bill to make the director of the Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency a confirmable position (which recently passed by the Senate and has been referred to the House for consideration) and legislation to expand the definition of dangerous weapons prohibited in court houses and government buildings. I am also involved in working on issues such as reducing the size of the legislature, improving the Right-to-Know law, and allowing local governments and small businesses to join together to purchase group health insurance.
We have gotten a lot accomplished in the last three months, but we are just getting started. I am looking forward to keeping the community informed of our progress.
Contact: Brian Grove