Showcasing Erie's Economic Development for My Colleagues
State Representative Ryan Bizzarro guides legislative colleagues downtown, to Presque Isle, and beyond
As the Chairman of the House Democratic Policy Committee, I have the opportunity to periodically travel the state with my colleagues and learn about the challenges their regions and communities face giving me a more well-rounded understanding of our Commonwealth. I believe these conferences have made me a better legislator and public servant as I have a more complete understanding of the public policy issues we address in Harrisburg.
Periodically, I have the opportunity to host a policy conference in Erie. Being born and raised in Erie, I cannot express to you how proud I am to show my colleagues from all over Pennsylvania our city and region. One such meeting took place last week. Over a dozen of my colleagues descended on Erie for a two-day conference which included a roundtable discussion, tour of economic development projects, and a hearing on youth violence intervention and prevention strategies.
The first field event on day one was a trolley tour of the Erie region that brought members to several spaces owned by Erie Downtown Development Corporation (EDDC), which is in the process of renovating several buildings on the same block into mixed-use spaces. EDDC has invested $110 million in these Erie projects in the last two years. During the second leg of the tour, I guided my colleagues through the 8th Street Corridor in Millcreek, which the township is looking to redevelop. I made the case to my colleagues that continued funding from the Redevelopment Capital Assistance Program (RACP) will help ensure these projects continue to thrive and drive economic growth in the area. Finally, members took a trip to Presque Isle State Park and were blown away by the beautiful views and scenery as we had a picture-perfect day by the water.
On the second day, the Policy Committee teamed up with the Pennsylvania Legislative Black Caucus for a hearing on youth violence intervention and prevention. The committee heard testimony from nonprofit leaders, community organizers and advocates working to end gun violence. They highlighted success stories in programs designed to prevent youth violence and intervene when young people are involved in crimes and violence. It's a critical issue throughout Pennsylvania and our country and the testimony engendered some good goals and points for discussion that we will carry back to the state capitol.
As I think about the conference, I am especially buoyed by the support for the economic development projects shown to my colleagues. As someone who spent his entire life in this region, I understand how sometimes we can feel as if we're a forgotten component of our state compared to Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, and Harrisburg. When I got elected to represent the 3rd District, I vowed that I would always be a strong and vocal advocate for the district and the hard-working people who live here. Having colleagues from around the state come here and see what we are building and garnering their support for future growth is a very satisfying part of my job and one that I will continue to vigorously attend to.
Ryan Bizzarro has represented Pennsylvania's 3rd Legislative District since 2013. He can be reached at PAHouse.com/3/contact