Harrisburg Happenings: January 4, 2017
The inaugural update from Sen. Dan Laughlin
Happy New Year!
As you read this, I have sworn my oath of office and have taken my place in the state Senate as the duly elected senator for Pennsylvania's 49th District. The festivities and formalities are now over and I am looking forward to serving you and the 244,000 people in my district.
I sincerely appreciate the opportunity to write this column for the Erie Reader as a way to furnish you with regular updates on your state government and the issues that impact all of our lives. It is important that everyone in the community be active in the governmental process.
Probably the best way for us to start this journey together is for me to give you a very brief overview of my life, since my background will provide the basis of my decision-making as your state senator.
I was born in Erie and raised in the Erie Heights housing project, the son of a decorated World War II combat veteran who worked as a union carpenter and a mother who assembled fighter planes at the Curtis Wright Plant in Buffalo, New York.
I have worked all my life - mowing lawns, delivering the Erie Daily Times, laboring at a strawberry farm - and have been employed as a union steelworker at the former National Forge Company, and later as a homebuilder.
I am a small businessman, a husband, and the proud father of three wonderful children. I know the value of a dollar and the need to stretch the family budget. I also know the burden of paying taxes and have felt outraged at wasteful spending by government.
As such, I feel that one of the greatest assets I take into my job as a legislator is my understanding of the work ethic of the people of Erie County, and the financial realities that families at all income levels face on a daily basis.
Going into the 2017-18 legislative session, there are two primary issues ahead of us.
First and foremost, the state must work cooperatively with the Erie School District to find ways to relieve the financial crisis facing the district. I commend Superintendent Jay Badams for his efforts so far, and am committed to working with him to move the district out of this financial crisis. I have already met with state Education Secretary Pedro Rivera on this issue and will continue to move forward as the year progresses.
Second, we must redouble efforts to promote economic development and job creation in our area. We are truly fortunate to be Pennsylvania's only Great Lakes seaport and a major tourist destination in the Commonwealth. We need to capitalize on those strengths to create new business opportunities and family-sustaining jobs.
I plan to discuss those and many other state-related issues at length in future columns.
I encourage local residents to visit my website, senatorlaughlin.com, and my Facebook page, facebook.com/senatorlaughlin/, to keep up to date with state government news and learn more about state services and agencies.
My staff and I look forward to getting to know and working with the people of the 49th District, and becoming more familiar with organizations throughout the area. We offer our best wishes to everyone for the new year.
Sen. Daniel J. Laughlin can be contacted by visiting senatorlaughlin.com/contact, and you can follow him on Twitter @SenatorLaughlin.