Senator Cris Dush E-Newsletter

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In this Update:

  • Virtual Town Hall Meeting on Oct. 6
  • Be Aware of Partisan Political Mailings that Try to Appear Nonpartisan
  • Working with Schools to Provide a Safe Learning Experience
  • Agriculture and Youth Grant Program Applications Being Accepted
  • Please Help Me Collect Items for Area Food Banks
  • Free Webinars Help New Hunters Enjoy this Pennsylvania Tradition
  • PA’s New 12-year Transportation Program Adopted
  • 5G Network Comes to Portions of the 25th District
  • How My Office Can Help You
  • Happy Labor Day  

Virtual Town Hall Meeting on Oct. 6

I will host a virtual town hall event for residents of the 25th Senatorial District on Thursday, Oct. 6, beginning at 5:30 p.m.

I’d like to take this opportunity to discuss topics that are important to the 25th District. Also, because of the legislative reapportionment following the 2020 Census, I’d like to say goodbye and thank you for the support from those I represented in Tioga, Clearfield and Southern Jefferson County. Lastly, I want to say hello and welcome to constituents in portions of Centre County who were added to the 25th District.

Join me via Facebook Live at www.facebook.com/SenatorCrisDushPA.

A live audio stream will also be available at https://senatorcrisdushpa.com/access-live/.

Be Aware of Partisan Political Mailings that Try to Appear Nonpartisan

It has come to my attention that two political advocacy groups, the Voter Participation Center (VPC) and the Center for Voter Information (CVI), will be conducting unsolicited direct mailings to Pennsylvania residents that contain voter registration applications and mail ballot applications.

These unsolicited mailings are NOT affiliated with or endorsed by any county board of elections in the 25th Senatorial District

The VPC and CVI organizations bear all responsibility for the mailings, including any mailings that contain incorrect information – and be aware the information contained within the mailing is partisan in nature, i.e. it is designed to produce support for one set of political candidates.

The mailings are expected to begin in late August and continue through mid-September, possibly longer.

Any recipient of an unsolicited VPC or CVI mailing who wishes to be removed from the mailing list can do so by noting a code near the bottom of the letter and emailing the code to the correct organization: unsubscribe@voterparticipation.org or unsubscribe@centerforvoterinformation.org. Recipients can also request to be removed from the mailing list by calling VPC at 866-255-6750 or CVI at 866-290-1599.

Working with Schools to Provide a Safe Learning Experience

As the new school year gets underway, students and teachers in many districts across the state are returning to classes made safer by actions taken by the General Assembly.

We have worked together on bipartisan legislation that gives our schools the tools they need to identify potential threats early, provide mental health services and safeguard our classrooms.

Landmark legislation in 2018 specifically established a School Safety Committee at the Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency. It also created the School Safety and Security Grant Program which allowed schools to hire school police officers, resource officers and counselors; implement safety plans and violence prevention initiatives; and purchase equipment and physical upgrades to boost student safety.

We allocated $60 million to that program initially and then another $60 million in 2019 and $95 million more in 2022.

Additionally, we passed legislation creating an anonymous school threat reporting system to help schools and law enforcement be prepared for any potential violent incidents. The Safe2Say program has generated more than 80,000 tips since its inception in 2019, not only for school safety concerns, but also for student safety issues like bullying and self-harm.

This is an ongoing process and I’m committed to providing schools with the tools they need to keep students and staff safe.

Agriculture and Youth Grant Program Applications Being Accepted

For every four farmers in Pennsylvania over the age of 65 in 2019, there is only one under 35. The Agriculture and Youth Grant Program aims to address the looming workforce deficit the industry is expected to face in coming years.

The program provides direct grants of up to $7,500 and matching grants of up to $25,000 to support projects, programs and equipment purchases by youth-run organizations, and those with programs that benefit youth or promote development in agriculture, community leadership, vocational training and peer fellowship. Past funded projects include workforce development programs, seminars and field trips, agricultural safety training, capital projects and equipment purchases aimed at leading students to opportunities in agriculture and building the future workforce that Pennsylvania’s agriculture industry needs to succeed.

Both in my old House district and in the 25th Senatorial district I’ve seen youth in 4H and FFA programs who are excited about opportunities in agriculture.  We also have some of those under-35 years old farmers who are making a go of it.  These grants are meant to help inform these young people, and even those who are not involved in these programs, to learn of opportunities to help them provide the food we see on our table.

Applications for these grants will be accepted through Sept. 30. You can find guidelines and application details here.

Please Help Me Collect Items for Area Food Banks

According to Feeding Pennsylvania, nearly 2 million Pennsylvanians – or one in nine – are struggling with hunger and 500,000 of them are children. The pandemic has caused an even greater need.

At the state Capitol, for 12 seasons now from the spring through the fall, the 1,000-square-foot Capitol Hunger Garden has been producing hundreds of pounds of fresh produce that is donated to Harrisburg’s Downtown Daily Bread, which takes those donations into their kitchen to provide healthy meals to many in the Harrisburg area. Last year, 849 pounds of produce was harvested from the garden and we’re hoping for a similar bounty by the time the growing season ends this year.

Closer to home, I’m asking for everyone who can to donate non-perishable items to their local food banks. My legislative district offices (see addresses below) are collecting donations from anyone who wishes to give, with those collections to be given to food banks in our communities.

Free Webinars Help New Hunters Enjoy this Pennsylvania Tradition

The Pennsylvania Game Commission is hosting free webinars allowing new hunters to ask questions of biologists, game wardens and experienced hunters about the best, safest ways to participate in this Pennsylvania tradition.

Register here for upcoming webinars covering archery deer and pheasant hunting. The page includes past webinars on “Hunting Tips & Tactics,” “Getting Started” and other topics.

PA’s New 12-year Transportation Program Adopted

The 25th Senatorial District is geographically large and consists of several Metropolitan and Rural Planning Organizations (MPOs and RPOs) that each are responsible for planning and programming of all modes of transportation in their respective regions.

On Aug. 17, the latest version of Pennsylvania’s 12-year Program (TYP) for transportation was approved by the State Transportation Commission, which serves as the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation’s board of directors.

The TYP is updated every two years after regional Transportation Improvement Programs (TIPs) are submitted and approved by MPOs and RPOs. PennDOT combines the 24 individual regional TIPs with two statewide TIPs to create the Statewide Transportation Improvement Program (STIP). The STIP is also the first four years of the TYP.

Some of the 25th District’s MPOs and RPOs – the SEDA-Council of Governments (SEDA-COG) serves as a MPO responsible for Clinton, Columbia, Juniata, Mifflin, Montour, Northumberland, Snyder and Union counties; the North Central Pennsylvania Regional Planning and Development Commission serves as the RPO for Cameron, Clearfield, Elk, Jefferson, McKean and Potter counties; and the Northern Tier Regional Planning and Development Commission serves as the RPO for Bradford, Sullivan, Susquehanna, Tioga and Wyoming counties (the new 25th District includes Cameron, Clinton, Elk, McKean, Potter and parts of Jefferson and Centre counties, while the old 25th District did not include parts of Centre County, but included Tioga County and parts of Clearfield County) – indicate the new TYP anticipates $84 billion will be available during the next 12 years for statewide improvements to highways, bridges, public transit, aviation and rail, as well as active transportation such as bicycling and walking. 

5G Network Comes to Portions of the 25th District

AT&T recently announced an expansion of its 5G network in Pennsylvania, adding 16 sites in 13 counties, including McKean and Potter counties.

According to the company, a new site in Smethport will serve the Route 59 corridor between Ormsby and the Bradford Regional Airport, as well as through Backus in McKean County. Potter County’s new sire in Keating Summit will serve the intersection of Routes 155 and 607 (south of Liberty) in the western corner of Potter County, near the McKean County border.

This means more of our residents and employers will have access to high-speed, wireless connectivity.

These new sites will also deliver to their areas the Band 14 spectrum, which is a nationwide, high-quality spectrum set aside by the federal government for FirstNet, America’s public safety network that gives first responders access to always-on, 24-hours-a-day priority and preemption across voice and data.

How My Office Can Help You

My staff and I are here to make state government more accessible and helpful to you. Listed below are several constituent services available to you:

  • Status reports on legislation
  • Help dealing with state government agencies
  • Help processing PennDOT forms
  • Applications for PA birth and death certificates
  • Child abuse history clearance applications
  • Criminal history applications
  • State tax forms
  • Informational brochures
  • Information for senior citizens
  • Property tax and rent rebate forms
  • PACE/PACENET applications
  • Absentee ballot applications
  • Voter registration forms
  • Notary applications
  • Senate Citations and Certificates of Recognition

Don’t hesitate to contact my offices listed below with any requests, questions or concerns.

Happy Labor Day

I pray that you and your family have a blessed Labor Day weekend with family and friends. Enjoy the day and the waning days of summer. God bless.

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