Merski, Harkins assume new leadership roles in Northwest Delegation

Merski elected vice chairman; Harkins elected treasurer

ERIE, Jan. 28 – State Reps. Bob Merski and Pat Harkins are taking on new leadership roles in the state legislature’s Northwest Delegation, with Merski elected vice chairman and Harkins elected treasurer for the 2021-22 legislative session.

As they embrace their new roles, the lawmakers, both D-Erie, said they are mindful of the challenges that lay ahead.

“Restoring the economic health of our region will require the Northwest Delegation to play an active role in speaking out for Erie and the needs of our region, and I am looking forward to helping lead that effort as vice chairman of the delegation,” Merski said. “Being Erie’s voice in Harrisburg means understanding the specific challenges residents are facing here in our corner of the state, from a need for greater job opportunities and career training to reliable childcare and affordable health care.

“Working families and small business owners in our region are looking to us for answers, and their needs will be front-and-center as we work to develop solutions that recharge our economy and restore quality of life.”

Harkins said: “We know that it will not be an easy road ahead as Erie continues shaking off the economic impacts of the pandemic, and the delegation will need to be a stronger voice than ever as we work to get our region back on its feet. As the new delegation treasurer, I will be doing everything in my power help guide our small businesses back on the path to economic recovery and – as those signs of life return – to expand the kinds of opportunities and resources our small business owners and working families need to start thriving again.

“Fortunately, we have a strong, talented and resilient community, and we will be keeping close contact with residents and business owners to ensure our work in Harrisburg reflects their needs and priorities.”

In addition to Merski and Harkins, the Northwest Delegation includes state Reps. Frank Burns, D-Cambria, who is chairman; Chris Sainato, D-Lawrence, who is secretary; and Ryan Bizzarro, D-Erie; Mark Longietti, D-Mercer; and Scott Conklin, D-Centre.