Merski: We Must Put Children's Health First

(Jan 23, 2019)

Pa. state Rep. Robert Merski participated in a hearing to discuss the dangers of lead levels for children and the importance of getting them tested early to protect them from dangerous health issues down the road. Read more


Harkins, Merski: $70,000 in grants will bring computer science to the classroom

(Jan 17, 2019)

HARRISBURG, Jan. 17 – The Erie County school curriculum is about to become broader and more tech-oriented thanks to $70,000 in grants that will introduce computer science into the classroom, state Reps. Pat Harkins and Bob Merski, both D-Erie, announced today. The Erie City School District and the Erie Rise Leadership Academy Charter School will each receive a $35,000 grant to fund the training and equipment needed to ready teachers and students to embrace the new, tech-oriented classes. “As a former educator, I’m really excited to hear about these grants,” Merski said. “Although many people automatically think of coding when they hear the phrase ‘computer science,’ it’s actually a subject that goes far beyond programming. With studies and exercises that teach kids how to think critically, it’s a discipline that introduces concepts of logic, problem solving and creativity – lessons for which kids of all ages are ready.” Harkins agreed, noting, “The skills computer science teaches cut across so many different fields. CS teaches students how to attack problems in a computational way, by breaking them down into smaller parts, and it helps older students become comfortable working with large amounts of data. It also gives them a chance to create technology, not just use it. It readies them for the modern workforce.” Merski noted that the grants are targeted at schools with little or no Read more


Merski elected treasurer of Northwest Delegation

(Jan 16, 2019)

HARRISBURG, Jan. 16 – State Rep. Bob Merski will be taking on a leadership role as he starts his first term in the House: Merski announced today that he has been elected treasurer of the House Democratic Northwest Delegation. “I’m honored and excited to be a part of the group’s leadership,” Merski said. “The delegation is key to providing a unified voice on the issues that matter to our region’s working families. It’s a way for us to join forces as legislators and bring attention to goals, interests and challenges that are shared by families throughout our area of the state. Collective voices speak louder, and being a part of that effort is a terrific opportunity.” Merski added that he is looking forward to strategizing with other members of the Northwest leadership team, including chairman Rep. Frank Burns of Cambria County; vice chairman Rep. Ryan Bizzarro of Erie County; and secretary Rep. Pat Harkins, also of Erie County. Read more


Merski: Wolf’s priorities right for commonwealth

(Jan 16, 2019)

HARRISBURG, Jan. 15 – Attending Gov. Tom Wolf’s inauguration today, state Rep. Bob Merski, D-Erie, said he was encouraged by the priorities the governor expressed for his second term. “I’m excited for Governor Wolf’s second term,” Merski said. “His address today – and particularly his emphasis on education, workforce development and jobs – made clear that the commonwealth’s working families are front and center in his agenda. It’s good to know that we share the same central priority – a commitment to the needs of Pennsylvania’s families – because we accomplish more when we work toward a shared agenda. “I was especially glad to hear the governor emphasize the importance of investing in our schools. From my years as an Erie educator, I understand the critical role education – from pre-K through career training and higher education – plays in equipping our next generation to take on the demands of the modern workforce. It’s good to know we’ll be working together to enact laws and promote programs that give our kids the start they need so they can stay and raise families in the state, invest back into the economy and ensure that the commonwealth continues to prosper. “Being at the state Capitol for the inauguration also reminded me how fortunate I feel to be representing the people of Erie, and how I can’t wait to roll up my sleeves and start Read more


Harkins, Merski: $157,160 grant will allow students to explore career pathways in manufacturing, health care

(Jan 10, 2019)

HARRISBURG, Jan. 10 – Students from low-income families will have a chance to explore career pathways in the manufacturing and health care industries, thanks to a $157,160 grant to a local workforce development board, state Reps. Pat Harkins and Bob Merski, both D-Erie, announced today. The funding to the Students in the Workplace project will offer about 400 low-income middle and high school students a real-world look at jobs in manufacturing and health care through programs such as job shadowing and career tours. “This grant is going to open doors for area students by bringing them into a real-world setting and letting them envision the possibilities,” Harkins said. “When it comes to career planning, there’s no better way to stimulate kids’ minds than to let them see and experience the real working world beyond the classroom.” Merski agreed, noting, “As essential as classroom learning is, there’s no substitute for letting kids interact with employers and employees in the field. This grant is going to provide for experiences such as job shadowing, soft-skills training and career tours, which will allow students to determine what careers truly excite them and how their own skills match up with real-world opportunities.” Harkins and Merski noted that in addition to providing students a real-world look at manufacturing and health care careers, the project aims to help area businesses and schools partner to Read more


Bizzarro, Merski: $141,900 grant will help workers break through transportation barriers

(Jan 10, 2019)

HARRISBURG, Jan. 10 – A $141,900 grant to a northwest Pennsylvania employment and training program will help working families retain jobs by providing reliable transportation assistance, state Reps. Ryan Bizzarro and Robert Merski, both D-Erie, announced today. The Northwest Workforce Investment Act funding will benefit St. Benedict Education Center EARN participants by removing transportation-related obstacles that can affect their ability to maintain employment. “A reliable means of getting to and from work is critical for working families,” Bizzarro said. “This grant will provide essential support for program participants by helping them with the costs of getting a license reinstated, paying for car repairs or footing the bill for other transportation-related services. The funding will go a long way toward bringing stability in this area for families needing it.” “Programs like this one are all about helping hardworking families succeed as they work to give themselves and their children a better life,” Merski said. “If this funding helps break down the barriers that stand in that way of that, it’s hard to imagine a more worthwhile investment.” Participants become eligible for transportation assistance under the program once they obtain a minimum 20-hour-a-week job. The grant is part of a package of more than $1 million the state Department of Human Services is dispersing to provide greater support to Read more


Merski sworn in for first term as state representative

(Jan 01, 2019)

HARRISBURG, Jan. 1 – State Rep. Robert Merski, D-Erie, was sworn into office today during a Capitol ceremony for his first term as state representative for the 2 nd Legislative District. The Pennsylvania House of Representatives swearing-in corresponds with the first Tuesday in January, every two years. This is Pennsylvania’s 203 rd legislative session. “I’m very excited to begin serving the people of Erie County,” Merski said. “There are many issues facing Pennsylvania this legislative session, and I am looking forward to working with House Democrats and across the aisle to enact positive change in the commonwealth.” Prior to being elected in the state House, Merski was immersed in public service. He served on Erie City Council for the past seven years, including a year as president of council. His career has focused on educating Erie’s youth, teaching in the Erie City School District for the past 16 years. As a legislator, Merski is committed to focusing on expanding access to quality pre-K programs for children and their families, job retention and workforce development, and strengthening and expanding programs for seniors and veterans in Pennsylvania. The district telephone number is 814-455-6319. Those interested can learn more about Merski by visiting his website at , or by following him at and . Read more


Erie area revitalization projects to receive nearly $2 million in funding

(Dec 17, 2018)

Two dozen community redevelopment projects in the Erie region will benefit from nearly $2 million in tax credits. Read more


Veterans services

(Dec 01, 2018)

Below are a number of programs and services available to help veterans and their families. Please share this list with any veterans in your life. Veterans Temporary Assistance Temporary help is available for veterans and their beneficiaries who need aid for essentials such as shelter, fuel, clothing and food. If eligible, a veteran or their beneficiary can qualify for up to $1,600 in a 12-month period. The Disabled Veterans Real Estate Tax Exemption Program Any honorably discharged veteran who is 100 percent disabled, a resident of Pennsylvania and has financial need can apply for this program, which provides real estate tax exemption on principal dwellings. Educational Gratuity Program Children of honorably discharged veterans with service-connected disabilities or children of veterans who died in service during a period of war or armed conflict qualify for up to $500 per semester/term to help defray educational costs. Military Family Relief Assistance Program Eligible Pennsylvania service members and their family members who have a direct and immediate financial need as a result of circumstances beyond their control can apply for up to $3,500 in grants. This program is available for active and past service members. Veterans’ Trust Fund Grant Program Grants are available for veterans’ services organizations, non-profit organizations with a mission of serving Pennsylvania veterans, individual eligible counties and the State Read more


Heating aid via LIHEAP now open

(Dec 01, 2018)

The 2018-2019 Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program – LIHEAP – is accepting applications for heating assistance grants. LIHEAP offers cash grants of $200 to $1,000 that are sent directly to the utility company to defray heating costs for eligible households, and crisis benefits of up to $600 for households in immediate danger of being without heat. Remember: These are grants and do not have to be repaid. This season’s income guidelines for both LIHEAP cash and crisis grants are $18,210 for an individual, $24,690 for couples and increases for each additional person in the household. Please click here for more LIHEAP information. Please consider visiting my office if you need help filing a LIHEAP application. Besides my office, LIHEAP information is available by: Contacting local County Assistance offices by phone or in person. Calling the LIHEAP Client Helpline at 1-866-857-7095 or PA Relay at 711 for the hearing impaired. Applying online at . Read more