New year, new sessions of the Pennsylvania General Assembly
ABOVE PHOTO: Reps. (from left) James Clay, Vanessa L. Brown, Stephen Kinsey,Sen. LeAnna Washington, unidentified person, and Ronald G. Watersat the PA Assembly Swearing-in ceremonies in Harrisburg.
Waters set to begin seventh term in state House
HARRISBURG--State Rep. Ronald G. Waters was sworn in Tuesday during a ceremony at the state Capitol to begin his seventh term representing the 191st Legislative District, which is made up of parts of Philadelphia and Delaware counties.
"I am extremely grateful for another opportunity to serve my constituents and represent them in Harrisburg for the seventh time," Waters said. "The newness of the office never leaves because we have to earn the people's approval and their vote every two years."
Waters recently was voted secretary of the Democratic Caucus, and he stressed the excitement he has to begin operating in this capacity.
"My plan is to resuscitate the office of the secretary so that it is better utilized," Waters said. "I truly want to be an asset to the caucus and to perform the duties of the secretary with excellence.
"Even though I am stepping into a new role, my passions have not changed, and I will use this new position to be even more fervent in my pursuits of addressing key issues in the commonwealth," he continued.
Waters has long been an advocate of public safety and has worked diligently during his time in the House to address a variety of public safety issues. In the wake of the tragedy in Newtown, Waters plans to reintroduce his assault weapons ban legislation during the 197th legislative session.
"Now that the dust has settled a bit, I believe it is time that we as a commonwealth come together to have a serious discourse about gun violence and sensible gun laws," Waters said. "I believe that this will be a key issue in the upcoming session."
Waters' constituent service office is located at 6027A Ludlow St., Philadelphia, PA 19139. The telephone number is (215) 748-6712.
Brownlee sworn in to Pa. House of Representatives
HARRISBURG--State Rep. Michelle Brownlee, D-Philadelphia, was sworn in to the House of Representatives, beginning her second term as a legislator.
Today's swearing-in ceremony marks the beginning of the 2013-14 legislative session and the 197th of the Pennsylvania General Assembly.
"I believe our community and its people deserve nothing less than steadfast and enthusiastic leadership at home and in Harrisburg. That principle will drive me in the coming years as we prepare for another tough budget season and the challenges that come with it," Brownlee said.
Brownlee was elected vice chairwoman of the House's Philadelphia County Delegation of the Democratic Caucus going forward in 2013.
"I feel that our delegation and caucus are poised to carry us into even stronger positions, even as the minority party," she added. "We had many successes last session. I believe chief among them was crippling the voter ID law, but even there, we still have work to do. We also need to find a way to get meaningful transportation projects off the ground, fight this drumbeat for mass privatizations and get out in front of education funding. Pennsylvania simply can't suffer the full effects of another Corbett budget."
Jordan Harris sworn in
Rep.-elect Jordan Harris lives with his wife Amber in the home he grew up in, right in the heart of the 186th District he now serves. The lifelong Philadelphian has worked in his community to remove dangerous weapons from the streets and helped to design summer and sports programs for local youth.
Youngblood sworn in to start 10th House term
HARRISBURG--The Democratic chairwoman of the state House Gaming Oversight Committee, Rep. Rosita C. Youngblood, D-Phila., was sworn in to begin her tenth term today as the House convened for the 2013-14 legislative session.
"I am honored to once again represent the citizens of the 198th Legislative District," Youngblood said. "The last two years have been a battle in the state House, no doubt, and I expect the same this session. We, as Democrats in the minority, were successful on many fronts -- delaying the Voter ID law, stopping attacks on our workers through aggressive anti-union proposals, and fighting for common-sense laws that help folks while improving our economy.
"But we have more work to do, and I anticipate the same aggressive attacks on our working families this year. We need to get back to policies that fund our kids' education, protect the poor and lift up our communities."
Youngblood, who was first elected in 1994, said a key focus of hers in the upcoming two-year session will involve monitoring casino licensing in Philadelphia, which has a direct correlation to her committee chairwomanship.
"Aside from protecting the rights of workers and helping families survive the attacks on social programs, I will be paying close attention to the process of awarding Philadelphia's second casino license," Youngblood added. "This is a huge opportunity for the citizens of Philadelphia to see an increase in job opportunities and tourism, as well as providing a much-needed additional source of tax revenue."
Youngblood said she feels privileged to continue serving the constituents of the 198th Legislative District, and intends to continue making community outreach programs and activities a centerpiece of her legislative agenda.
Parker sworn in to fourth term as state representative
HARRISBURG--At a ceremony at the state Capitol today, Rep. Cherelle Parker was sworn in to her fourth term representing the 200th Legislative District.
The swearing-in ceremony in the House chamber marked the beginning of the 197th legislative session. The state constitution mandates that the legislature convene at noon on the first Tuesday of January.
"As I begin my fourth term in office, I am honored and eager to continue to serve my constituents in the 200th Legislative District," Parker said. "I look forward to working to pass legislation and other vital initiatives that will enhance the quality of life for all Philadelphians and residents of our Commonwealth."
Parker also will continue as chairwoman of the Philadelphia Delegation.
The 200th Legislative District includes most of Mount Airy, Chestnut Hill and Roxborough.
Roebuck sworn in to new term, reappointed as education chairman
State Rep. James Roebuck, D-Phila., was sworn in last week to a new term in the House of Representatives. He has also been reappointed as Democratic chairman of the House Education Committee for the 2013-14 session by House Democratic Leader Frank Dermody.
Roebuck said, "My priorities for the new session include reforming special education funding, working to restore funding that was unwisely cut from K-12 and higher education in the last session, addressing overfunding of some charter schools and requiring the same transparency at charter schools that we require of other publicly funded schools."
Roebuck was first elected in 1985 to represent the 188th Legislative District, which includes portions of west and southwest Philadelphia.
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