Harkins sworn in to ninth term representing state’s 1st Legislative District

Worker rights, safety among top priorities

HARRISBURG, Jan. 3 – State Rep. Pat Harkins, D-Erie, took the oath of office today in the state Capitol to begin his ninth term representing Pennsylvania’s 1st Legislative District.

Harkins said stronger protections for workers will be among his top priorities in the year ahead.

“The new session brings a new chance to accomplish legislative priorities, and for me, protecting workers’ rights and safety is high on that list,” Harkins said. “In the year ahead, I will be reintroducing legislation that would require the state to provide public workers with the same safety protections already available to workers in private companies. Public employees in many other states already have those protections, and Pennsylvania workers are no less deserving.

“I will also be introducing legislation to punish dishonest employers who misclassify workers as independent contractors to avoid paying them benefits and to protect employees victimized by workplace bullying.

“Fixing our broken mental health system is another top priority, and I will be introducing a bill to start reforming the system, whose failings leave our prisons to take up the slack, force police officers to act as case workers and put lives at risk.” 

Harkins said that in addition to pursuing these and other legislative priorities, he is looking forward to resuming a leadership role in the Northwest Democratic Delegation, where he will serve as secretary of the coalition of House Democratic lawmakers representing Erie and northwest Pennsylvania.

“The delegation understands our region’s unique strengths and challenges, and our collaboration leads to good strategies to benefit Erie and our corner of the state.”

Harkins – who was first elected in 2006 and took office at the start of the 2007-08 session – encourages residents with questions or problems involving state-related matters to contact his district office at 814-459-1949 to schedule an appointment. More information is available at RepHarkins.com.

Today’s swearing-in ceremony marked the beginning of the 2023-24 legislative session of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives, its 207th. Court of Common Pleas Judge John McNally administered the oath of office.