Working For Safer Streets
At the Summer of Peace - Family Fun Day in Southwest Philadelphia
Last Saturday, State Senator Tony Williams invited me to join him in Southwest Philadelphia at the Francis J. Myers Recreation Center to kick off the Summer of Peace - Family Fun Day. Sen. Williams hosted the event to bring the community together and to raise awareness of the need to stem violence in the city during the summer months. I cheered on participants in the annual Peace Walk and discussed with neighborhood families the steps we are taking to keep our streets safe.
Tipping off the basketball tournament with State Senator Tony Williams, Rep. Bob Brady and State Rep. Jordan Harris
Family Fun Day also included a basketball tournament featuring several local youth teams, workshops on conflict resolution, peace mediation classes and an anger management seminar. Neighbors also had a great time swimming, playing games and enjoying a barbecue lunch.
Joining me were Congressman Bob Brady, State Rep. Ronald Waters, State Rep. Maria Donatucci, State Rep. Jordan Harris, Councilman Kenyatta Johnson and Sheriff Jewell Williams. The Philadelphia Police Department also attended, along with representatives from the offices of the Philadelphia Mayor and the District Attorney.
Listening To Veterans In Westmoreland
I was recently in Greensburg in Westmoreland County for a roundtable discussion on veterans' issues. At VFW Post 33, I heard from concerned veterans about the backlog of health and disability claims.
This backlog is out of hand despite a major funding increase for the Department of Veterans Affairs over the past few years and personnel increases. The bottom line is vets aren't getting the care they need in a timely fashion. And the backlog must surely add unneeded frustration and red tape to these heroes' lives.
When I was in Greensburg, my office also held a casework day for area vets to give them an opportunity to get help with federal agencies and programs. We need to get through this backlog more quickly. Our vets shouldn't be waiting over a year for resolution of a claim.
Expanding Gettysburg National Military Park
As we approach the 150th anniversary of the Battle of Gettysburg, I have urged leaders of the Senate committee with oversight of our national parks to consider my bill to include the historic Railroad Station and the southern end of the battlefield as part of the park.
In my letter to Energy & Natural Resources Committee Chairman Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) and Ranking Member Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), I call for speedy consideration of the bipartisan Gettysburg National Military Park Expansion Act (S. 782) "so that we can move forward in realizing this expansion ahead of the 150th anniversary of the battle starting July 1, 2013."
The historic station served as a field hospital for wounded soldiers and was where President Abraham Lincoln first arrived to deliver the Gettysburg Address. The southern end of the battlefield was the location of cavalry skirmishes and is currently a wetland and wildlife habitat overseen by the Gettysburg Foundation.
I invited President Obama to participate in the 150th anniversary of the Gettysburg Address in November. For more, read the York Daily Record editorial.
Welcoming PA's History Day Contestants To D.C.
I was happy to welcome Pennsylvania students from grades 6-12 for the National History Day contest in Washington.
The Army Heritage Center Foundation's Education Department sponsors and manages the statewide National History Day in PA program - a year-long, classroom based event that engages students in hands-on historical research. The theme for this year's History Day was "Turning Points In History: People, Ideas, Events."
Students worked as individuals or in groups to develop websites, documentaries, papers, performances or exhibits to showcase their findings.
Spotlight on Members of Pennsylvania's Team: Summer Interns
I am pleased to introduce the students who will spend the summer assisting my staff in responding to your concerns and researching issues to help me craft legislation in Washington. You can read a little about two of our new interns, Cole Goodman and Kevin Lair, below.
Cole Goodman of Harrisburg, Pa.
Cole Goodman is interning in my Harrisburg office this summer supporting staff with constituent inquiries and outreach efforts. Cole graduated from Harrisburg Academy and is a rising sophomore at Elizabethtown College.
Kevin Lair of Wilson, Pa.
Kevin Lair is interning in my Allentown office this summer and also assisting staff with constituent inquiries and outreach efforts. A graduate of Wilson Area High School, Kevin is a rising junior at Washington College studying political science, economics, and pre-law.