Cephas: Store closure devastating to local neighborhood

(Jan 03, 2019)

PHILADELPHIA, Jan. 3 – State Rep. Morgan Cephas, D-Phila., said she is disheartened over the community impact following the announcement of a grocery store closing due to the city’s soda tax . “It is disappointing to see the Shoprite store along Haverford Avenue closing its doors,” Cephas said. “Not only is it a hit to the local economy and a loss of jobs in the immediate area, it will add to the already overwhelming amount of food deserts in our Middle Neighborhoods. “While there are other stores in the immediate area where people can shop, the lack of access to fresh foods and produce in the community where this Shoprite exists could become a burden for those who may be unable to get to those stores. I will work with area stakeholders and residents to bring a grocery store to the soon-to-be vacant site in an effort to benefit the community’s overall needs. “With a new legislative session underway in Harrisburg, the general assembly must work together to provide adequate funding for our schools and infrastructure needs across the commonwealth, no matter the zip code. By fairly distributing sufficient appropriations for education and recreation centers, municipalities and cities, including Philadelphia, would not need to create alternative means of funding, such as a soda tax, which could ultimately have a devastating impact on businesses and our neighborhoods.” Read more

 

Lee sworn in to Pa. House of Representatives

(Jan 01, 2019)

HARRISBURG, Jan. 1 – State Rep. Summer Lee, D-Allegheny, made history today as she was sworn in as the first black woman to be elected to the state House from Western Pennsylvania. As she begins representing the 34 th Legislative District, Lee said she will call on her experience as a community organizer, activist, lawyer and advocate for social justice to accomplish her legislative priorities. For Lee, those priorities include greater economic justice for working families and reforms in the areas of education, health care, energy policy and criminal justice. “I’m so excited to roll up my sleeves and start working for meaningful change for residents in our district,” Lee said. “It’s time for a tax structure that benefits all Pennsylvanians – not just the wealthy. We need to level the playing field, and I plan to work to make that happen.” Another of Lee’s priorities is enacting a living wage – a move she sees as fundamental to giving hardworking families a fair chance to succeed. It’s also an important part of the House Democrats’ Plan for PA , which puts Pennsylvania’s working families first by focusing on good jobs, affordable health care, quality schools and an economy that ends corporate handouts and ensures that everyone pays their fair share. The 34 th Legislative District includes parts of Allegheny County, including parts of Pittsburgh, the township of Wilkins, and the boroughs Read more

 

Gainey sworn in for fourth term as state representative

(Jan 01, 2019)

HARRISBURG, Jan. 1 – Vowing to continue fighting for the interests of Pennsylvania’s working families, state Rep. Ed Gainey, D-Allegheny, was sworn into office today to serve his fourth term representing the 24th Legislative District. “I’m excited to start this new term, and like always, my inspiration comes from serving my district and the hardworking people who live here," Gainey said. “They rise to any challenge to support their families and give our children a rightful head start. They are who make our community what it is, and they deserve every opportunity the commonwealth has to offer. “A special priority of mine is gun violence. The tragic events that happened in our streets, churches, synagogues and schools should never happen. And at no time should a family have to bury a relative killed by senseless gun violence. I’m committed to sponsoring and supporting commonsense gun legislation.” Gainey noted that education is another top priority. “The greatest investment the state of Pennsylvania can make is in the education of our children. The data is clear that our children benefit when they can attend Pre-K and Head Start schools. We must continue to increase funding for Pre-K and Head Start, as well as advocate for universal Pre-K. The more prepared our children are, the better our future looks.” Gainey vowed to continue pursuing his other legislative priorities in the upcoming session. He said Read more

 

Youngblood sworn in for 13th term as state legislator

(Jan 01, 2019)

HARRISBURG, Jan. 1 – State Rep. Rosita C. Youngblood, D-Phila., was sworn in today to serve her 13 th term as state representative for the 198 th District. Additionally, she will continue her service as the Democratic Caucus secretary for the third term, helping to implement strategy and direction for House Democrats for the upcoming session. “I am honored to represent the people of the 198 th District and to continue advocating for meaningful change,” Youngblood said. “I will continue to push for legislation that puts people first and gives them the tools they need to succeed, from access to affordable health care, to a quality education in our Philadelphia schools and a fair economy for our future. It's all part of the Plan4PA .” Youngblood has served as the representative for the 198 th Legislative District since 1994. In that time, she has sponsored and co-sponsored legislation on mass transit funding, domestic violence prevention, and public welfare and health services, among others. Last session, she was a leader in the effort to increase penalties and enforcement against “stop-and-go” nuisance alcohol-selling businesses that are a burden on many Philadelphia neighborhoods. She also played a critical role in diaper needs awareness, introducing a host of measures aimed at helping families afford the cost of diapers. Youngblood is one of 91 House Democrats starting the 2019-20 legislative session, including 29 Read more

 

Dawkins takes oath of office for start of 2019-20 session

(Jan 01, 2019)

HARRISBURG, Jan. 1 – State Rep. Jason Dawkins today was sworn in to office to represent the 179 th Legislative District during a ceremony that ushered in the 2019-20 legislative session at the Pennsylvania Capitol. “I am excited and honored to continue to serve my community and district as its state representative,” Dawkins said. “I am looking forward to working with my colleagues to continue our efforts to make Pennsylvania a safe place to live, work and raise a family, including efforts to reform our state’s criminal justice system, promote workforce development and further education opportunities for all.” Dawkins was re-elected to his third term in office Nov. 6. He was recently elected as chairman of the Philadelphia County Delegation and is a member of the Pennsylvania Legislative Black Caucus. Dawkins is a member of the PA SAFE Caucus, a group of legislators dedicated to reducing all types of violence in society through adequate mental health services funding, enforcing existing and creating stronger tools for law enforcement, and resources to deal with the effects of addiction and illegal drug trade, and solutions to reduce gun violence and promote public safety. The 179 th Legislative District stretches throughout lower northeast Philadelphia and comprises the neighborhoods of Frankford, Wissinoming, Mayfair, Olney and Oxford Circle. The district office telephone number is 215-744-7902. Read more

 

Kinsey sworn in for fourth term as state representative

(Jan 01, 2019)

HARRISBURG, Jan. 1 – During a ceremony at the state Capitol to open the 203rd legislative session, state Rep. Stephen Kinsey took the oath of office to begin his fourth term in the Pennsylvania House of Representatives. “It’s an honor to be able to serve the people back home in the 201st district of Philadelphia,” Kinsey said. “I reaffirm my commitment to my community. I will push for more legislation to answer the needs of my district and their families, and bring awareness to the issues affecting us most.” During his third term, Kinsey secured state money to protect children from bullying and rid classrooms of dangerous toxins. He also helped to pass a law that offered a clean slate to those trying to turn their lives around. “As we head into the New Year, I plan to stand up to senseless gun violence, push for quality schools, rally to create jobs, and work to increase the minimum wage. We continue to make progress, but we cannot stop fighting to achieve our goals. Only by working together can we make the change that we want to see a reality,” Kinsey said. The 2019-20 legislative session marks Kinsey’s first term as chairman of the Pennsylvania Legislative Black Caucus, a position his colleagues elected him to serve in November. Kinsey said, “I’m proud to serve in this new capacity, and I will continue my fight to make sure no one feels left behind in the fight for equality, tolerance and Read more

 

Kenyatta sworn in as state representative for first term

(Jan 01, 2019)

HARRISBURG, Jan. 1 – In the presence of family and friends, state Rep. Malcolm Kenyatta took the oath of office to begin his first term in the Pennsylvania House of Representatives, where he will represent the 181st Legislative District . He was recently elected vice-chairman of the Philadelphia County Delegation. Kenyatta, a 28-year-old native of the north Philadelphia community that makes up part of his district, is a 2012 graduate of Temple University. He is the first openly LGBTQ person of color to be elected to the General Assembly. Before being elected, Kenyatta led the Diversity & Inclusion Initiatives for the Chamber of Commerce for Greater Philadelphia. He also worked in Graduate Medical Education at Hahnemann Hospital and food service for a number of years. In addition, Kenyatta served as the campaign manager for a Philadelphia City Council candidate and served on the board of Equality Pennsylvania. “I am proud to be a part of history and to represent the community where I was born, raised and received my degree. I’m forever grateful to my constituents for allowing me to be their voice in Harrisburg,” Kenyatta said. “Becoming a state representative is a victory for north Philadelphia and for anyone who feels left out or left behind. We need to deal with the moral and economic crisis of poverty, fully and fairly fund schools, raise the minimum wage and provide a better quality of life for all Pennsylvanians.” Read more

 

Kenyatta & Isaacson Helping Less Fortunate

(Dec 21, 2018)

Pa. state Reps.-elect Malcolm Kenyatta and Mary Isaacson helped wrap gifts for less fortunate families in their Philadelphia districts, along with the Northern Liberties Neighborhood Association. Kenyatta and Isaacson jointly represent the Northern Liberties community in Philadelphia. Read more

 

Philadelphia Delegation lauds passage of Federal First Step Act

(Dec 19, 2018)

PHILADELPHIA, Dec. 19 – State Rep. Jason Dawkins, D-Phila., chairman of the Philadelphia Delegation in the House of Representatives, applauded the passage of “First Step Act,” which is designed to reform the criminal justice system and ease punitive prison sentences at the federal level. “The First Step Act will change criminal justice reform in the United States as we know it. Even though there is lot more to accomplish when it comes to criminal justice reform, this is definitely a step in the right direction,” Dawkins said. “This legislation was long overdue – for too long we have only been tough on crime. It is past time to take a step back and reevaluate what works better for our communities, our states and the nation. “I’m glad to see action on mandatory minimums. As we all know they drive up the cost of the system by imposing longer prison terms on more offenders, in many cases nonviolent offenders, and they provide little enhancement to public safety. “Pennsylvania took the lead on criminal justice reform in the nation, when we passed the Clean Slate legislation and we’re eager to see more change happen across the country.” The U.S Senate passed the “First Step Act” (87-12) last night. The House is expected to take up the Senate version of the bill at a later date. The House passed a similar version of the bill back in May by a wide margin, 360-59. Read more

 

McClinton makes history in House Democratic leadership elections

(Dec 13, 2018)

HARRISBURG, Nov. 13; State Rep. Joanna McClinton today was selected by her peers to serve as the chair of the House Democratic Caucus for the 2019-20 legislative session. Read more

 

Taking Clean Slate Nationwide as First Step

(Dec 03, 2018)

Host and KYW Newsradio community affairs reporter Cherri Gregg asks the burning questions about the First Step Act, a criminal justice reform bill supported by President Donald Trump. Jordan Harris, Pa. State Rep- 186th Dist., Jules Epstein, law professor at Temple University and Sameerah Shabazz, policy director at Ardella's House walk us through the issues from a local perspective. Read more

 

Davidson makes history again as the first African-American woman elected Southeast Delegation's Chair with the new leadership team

(Nov 16, 2018)

HARRISBURG, Nov. 15 – The Southeast Delegation of the state House Democratic Caucus has elected the first African-American woman to chair the delegation, Rep. Margo Davidson, D-Delaware. Davidson is the second-most senior legislator in Delaware County. She was elected in 2010 as the first female, the first African-American and the first Democrat ever elected to represent her district. She is also the first Democratic woman ever elected from Delaware County in the history of the commonwealth. Davidson will continue to make history as chairwoman, leading the 33-member delegation which is the largest and fastest-growing delegation in the Democratic Caucus, including 16 women and five people of color. The delegation serves the people in the eight counties that make up the delegation: Berks, Bucks, Chester, Dauphin, Delaware, Lancaster, Montgomery and York. Davidson and the delegation will be selecting vice chairpeople and other officials by the second session day in January 2019. Davidson said the recent election in which the delegation gained 14 new representatives showed that people in the Southeast want legislators who will fight for what matters most to them -- good jobs, affordable health care, a clean environment, quality schools and a fair economy for everyone. “I look forward to working with my colleagues on legislative initiatives that will improve the lives of all Pennsylvanians,” Davidson said. “Now is the time to fight for social Read more

 

Pennsylvania Legislative Black Caucus selects new leadership

(Nov 14, 2018)

HARRISBURG, Nov. 14 – Calling it a great opportunity to continue to be the voice for African-Americans and minorities across the commonwealth, state Rep. Stephen Kinsey, D-Phila., was elected Wednesday to serve as the chairman of the Pennsylvania Legislative Black Caucus. “Being chosen by my colleagues to serve as the chairman of the PLBC is truly an honor. It is a tremendous responsibility that I will not take lightly,” Kinsey said. “It is the job of the PLBC to be a voice for African-Americans and people of color across Pennsylvania. As we have witnessed in recent years, minorities are facing injustice and discrimination more than ever, not only in the commonwealth but across our nation. I look forward to advancing the discussion to ensure African-Americans and people of color are equally respected and represented in Pennsylvania.” The PLBC leadership team is further made up of Rep. Donna Bullock, D-Phila., vice chairwoman; Rep. Carol Hill-Evans, D-York, secretary; and Rep.-elect Summer Lee, D-Allegheny, treasurer. “I am honored to be reelected as vice chairwoman of the PLBC and will continue working to create opportunities and reduce barriers for black Pennsylvanians,” Bullock said. “I will keep having tough conversations with my colleagues in the House to make sure that our communities are heard and that legislation and policies from Harrisburg are inclusive of all communities.” “I am extremely honored Read more

 

PA Dept. of Corrections Secretary answers your questions

(Nov 09, 2018)

The Pennsylvania Legislative Black Caucus recently hosted a Town Hall Meeting with PA Department of Corrections Secretary John Wetzel to discuss the recent lockdowns and its police changes within the prison system. Secretary Wetzel provided answers to the following submitted questions. His responses are in bold . Your new mail and visiting policies will severely affect my family. I feel hopeless that I cannot now send my brother a photo of a family event with a personal message written on it. A photo is a visit from a loved one far away. A photo speaks a thousand works, a scanned image does not. A scanned image is boot leg. I pay for the photos not a bootleg. Thank you for your comment. Although a duplicate of the photo is not on photo paper, the image copied is identical, in color and would capture any message that is written on it. In addition, we are pursuing the ability to send photos electronically on the tablets as well as other methods. This year (in Feb 2018), the PA DOC’s contract with GTL has an incentivized revenue structure; the more revenue from music, email, games, and books the DOC can get prisoners to generate from purchases, the higher the DOC’s commission rate. The contract was signed 6 months before the new policy that makes e-books people’s primary access point to reading materials. Why is the DOC profiting off limiting book access? E-books are not the primary access point to reading. It was an option that inmates had Read more

 

Rabb Honors the late Rep. David Richardson

(Nov 01, 2018)

Pa. state Rep. Chris Rabb speaks about the legacy of the late state Rep. David P. Richardson from the neighboring Germantown area of Northwest Philadelphia. The Pastorius Elementary School which Richardson attended as a boy was recently renamed in his honor as the Pastorius-Richardson Elementary School in honor of his lifetime of public service. Read more

 

Youngblood to host fall open house

(Nov 01, 2018)

PHILADELPHIA, Nov. 1 – State Rep. Rosita Youngblood, D-Phila., today announced she is hosting a fall open house for constituents of the 198th Legislative District . It will take place from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 10 at her district office, 310 W. Chelten Ave., 19144. Youngblood said she looks forward to seeing everyone and is excited for constituents to stop by and learn about state programs that may benefit them while discussing issues important to the community. Refreshments will be served. For more information, call Youngblood’s office at 215-849-6426. Read more

 

Heating aid via LIHEAP now open

(Nov 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 https://www.compass.state.pa.us . Read more

 

Kinsey Honors the late Rep. David P. Richardson, Jr.

(Oct 31, 2018)

Pa. state Rep. Stephen Kinsey honored the legacy of public service of the late Honorable David P. Richardson, Jr., a giant in the Northwest Philadelphia community of Germantown, with the addition of his name to the now Pastorius-Richardson Elementary School. Richardson was one of the founders of the Pennsylvania Legislative Black Caucus in 1973. Read more

 

Harris Working for Good Jobs

(Sep 26, 2018)

Chairman of the Pennsylvania Legislative Black Caucus, state Rep. Jordan Harris, is working with the Pa. Public Utilities Commission to help people find good jobs in the utility sector with the website http://www.pautilitycareers.com. Read more

 

Harris: Punishment Does Not Fit the Crime

(Sep 25, 2018)

Chairman of the Pennsylvania Legislative Black Caucus, state Rep. Jordan Harris, argues in a meeting of the House Environmental Resources & Energy Committee that a bill which would level a felony charge for criminal trespass in a critical infrastructure facility equates that crime to premeditated murder which seems unjust. Read more