News from Representative Smucker

   

Preparing Workers for the 21st Century Economy

I believe one of the best ways to lift people out of poverty and provide more opportunity is to connect them with a good-paying, family-sustaining job. When I was operating a small construction company for 25 years, I saw the skills gap firsthand. There were times when we couldn’t expand our business and create jobs because skilled workers were simply unavailable. 

That’s why I introduced the USA Workforce Tax Credit Act  legislation establishing a new federal tax credit that will encourage charitable donations for community-based apprenticeship programs, career and technical education, workforce development, and education preparedness. I was glad to participate in a panel discussion recently (pictured above) that included Corporal Jeffrey Cleland (pictured right), a retired Marine and the current director of the George W. Bush Institute’s Military Service Institute. He shared with the group the importance of workforce development programs for veterans, and how they can help in the transition back to civilian life.

You can read more about this new legislation here. And if you have any input you’d like to share with me about how we can close the skills gap, feel free to email me here.

Bipartisan Effort to Combat the Opioid Epidemic

Now more than every we must prioritize federal funding to combat the opioid epidemic that has swept across Pennsylvania and the nation. Everyone in our community has a role to play in this fight, ranging from law enforcement, pharmacies, physicians, insurers, and community groups. That is why I teamed up with my Democratic colleague Betty McCollum from Minnesota to introduce legislation that would authorize $250 million in federal funding over five years to help communities respond to the needs of low-income families and those in crisis because of the opioid epidemic.

Our bipartisan Community Action Opioid Response Act establishes a competitive grant program to expand and support effective community efforts that identify and treat opioid addiction. There are already more than 1,000 Community Action Agencies across the country that would be eligible for this grant program, and the grants will range from $50,000 to $1 million per year.

The opioid epidemic transcends all socioeconomic communities – leaving no demographic immune to the devastating impact of addiction. In 2016, 4,627 Pennsylvanians died from a drug overdose. Working together, I’m confident we can reverse the trend. You can learn more about this important legislation here. If you or someone you know has been impacted by this epidemic, and you’d like to share that story with me, you can email me here.

We Need Common Sense, Not Hyperbole, to Guide Our Conversation about School Safety and Guns

One of the biggest recent issues people are contacting my office about is the shooting in Parkland, Florida. Like everyone, I believe the safety of our children is paramount, especially in schools. Many of the issues before the 115th Congress have bipartisan areas of agreement, like health care, immigration, infrastructure improvements, and how to help ensure our children are safe. Unfortunately, radical political actors on both sides of the aisle and an all-too-complicit media polarize these issues, derailing efforts to provide progress for our community and the American people.

We’ve seen systemic failures compound the devastation of tragedies like the one in Parkland, and we know evidence-based solutions exist that can help keep our children safe. But getting there takes thoughtful discussion that includes all of us. I am committed to that conversation, and am asking for your continued input, because schools should be havens for students to learn and to dream big.

I wrote a column on this topic that appeared in Sunday’s LNP. You can read the full column here, and share your input with me about school safety here.

Celebrating Community Revitalization

I recently brought Congressman Keith Rothfus to Reading to join me in a celebration of the success of homeownership programs that have helped support community revitalization in Reading and the surrounding areas.

We’re really excited about all the wonderful things happening here. Representatives from Habitat from Humanity, Our City Reading, Customers Bank, and other community leaders came together to discuss a number of new initiatives in the city that you can read about here.

After hearing that Congressman Rothfus had never visited Reading, I invited him to our district to see what all the buzz is about. He enjoyed his visit and we were both impressed by the city’s commitment to and progress that’s been made to improve the standard of living for all its residents. 

In 2017 alone, I’ve visited more than 117 schools, businesses, and other organizations. If you’d like to invite me to visit your community, business, school, or other organization, you can do so here.

Here's Lloyd!

We owe our veterans a debt of gratitude we will never be able to fully repay. At the very least, they should have access to the best-quality medical care in the world. I discussed recent Veterans Affairs (VA) reforms and my legislation to increase accountability at the VA with members of the Pennsylvania Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW). 

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When Washington, D.C. is crazy and hectic, sometimes the best thing to do is to have meetings on-the-go! That happened on Tuesday with members of the International Association of Firefighters. We discussed retirement issues for firefighters and the Federal Firefighters Fairness Act. I’m always grateful to be able to spend time with our first responders and will continue to look for new ways to support them.

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I met with representatives from the American Israel Public Affairs Committee this week. We discussed my trip to Israel last August, the AIPAC Policy Conference, and the U.S.-Israel relationship. Thank you to Gil, Paul, Elliot, and Erica for sitting down with me!

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Bonus: Lancaster Named One of "Top Ten Coolest U.S. Cities"

Did you see that Lancaster was named one of Forbes’ 10 Coolest Cities to Visit in 2018? While many of us have known this for quite some times, it’s great to see one of our cities recognized for its thriving business, art, and culinary scenes. In fact, Forbes called Lancaster “one of the U.S.’s best kept secrets.” Check out the full list here.


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Sincerely,

Lloyd Smucker

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