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22 News & Views from State Senator John Blake

Senator Blake to Host Live Telephone Town Hall Monday at 6:30

Telephone Town HallI am looking forward to hosting my second Telephone Town Hall meeting on Monday, June 20 at 6:30 p.m. The hour-long Telephone Town Hall will give constituents an opportunity to pose questions to in a live forum via phone on any topics of state or local interest.

This medium of communication is meant to be convenient for citizens of the 22nd District. It enables them to connect with me without having to travel to some location not convenient to all who I represent.

Anyone interested in participating in the Telephone Town Hall must sign up at www.senatorblake.com/townhall.

It is important when I am in Harrisburg, that I am properly addressing the issues and concerns that matter most to my electorate. The Telephone Town Hall is a great way to inform my decisions and to answer questions on the many local and state issues affecting our schools, our communities and our citizens. Our first Town Hall was very insightful and I look forward to another engaging discussion on Monday night.

Constituents can submit questions through the www.senatorblake.com/townhall until noon on Monday. Constituents can also listen in live and submit questions on a computer or tablet during the Town Hall on Monday at http://vekeo.buzz/f1F

For more information on the upcoming Telephone Town Hall, call my Scranton District Office at 570-207-2881.

Blake Joins Governor Wolf for Opioid Roundtable at TCMC

Opioid Round TableI recently joined Governor Tom Wolf and a number of local and elected officials at The Commonwealth Medical College to discuss local and statewide efforts to combat the opioid abuse and heroin use epidemic in Pennsylvania.

In an effort to confront this epidemic collaboratively, Governor Wolf is conducting roundtables statewide to discuss the initiatives of his administration, the state legislature, county agencies, treatment centers, hospitals, and medical schools.

I want to thank Governor Wolf for his visit to The Commonwealth Medical College in Scranton to discuss the opioid and heroin epidemic that is gripping our state. And I would also like to thank TCMC Dean, Dr. Steven J. Scheinman, for opening the doors to our beautiful medical college for this important discussion. The Governor engaged several people from law enforcement, health care, education, the judiciary, pharmacists and local government officials to hear what we are doing here in Northeast PA to combat this illness and to treat those afflicted with opioid addiction.

Governor Wolf also explained the multi-pronged initiatives his administration is taking up to help Pennsylvanians including more funding for treatment and beds; an electronic prescription drug monitoring system; expanding access to Naloxone to save lives; enhancing methods in medical education; providing school-aged children opioid awareness programs; and establishing a statewide prescription drug take-back program. I commend Governor Wolf for his statewide emphasis on this problem and I'm glad to join him in the fight against addiction and for our families.

In addition to the initiatives being developed by the Wolf Administration, Senate Democrats recently introduced a package of legislation that focuses on providing new opportunities for education and treatment as well as expanded support options in the community for addicts, professionals and families.

For more information on the bills introduced by the Senate Democrats, click here.

Blake, Hughes Discuss School Construction Funding at West Scranton

Sen. Blake and Sen. HughesIt was a great pleasure to host our Senate Democratic Appropriations Chairman Senator Vincent Hughes in Lackawanna County for a tour of West Scranton High School. West Scranton is one of thousands of schools across our Commonwealth that is in dire need of repairs and upgrades to their aging infrastructure and technology.

Senator Hughes is in the process of touring the state to better inform legislation that will address the funding gap and allow our public schools to upgrade their facilities so that Tour of West Scrantonthey can continue to provide quality education to our children far into the future.

Thank you to Scranton School District Superintendent Dr. Alexis Kirijan and the administration at West Scranton High School for opening your doors and discussing the needs of your district with myself and Senator Hughes.

For media coverage of our tour, click here.

Around the District

Lackawanna State Park Pool

It was an honor to join DCNR Secretary Cindy Adams Dunn; Senator Lisa Baker; former Lt. Gov. Bill Scranton and his wife Maryla to officially dedicate Lackawanna State Park's beautiful, new $4.6 million pool complex in memory of the late Gov. William W. Scranton.

Sen. Blake and Pastor Terry Drost

I was proud to introduce Pastor Terry Drost from the Peckville Assembly of God as the guest chaplain on the floor of the Senate recently. The Peckville Assembly of God is in the midst of their 100th anniversary celebration and I was inspired to celebrate the occasion with the congregation and to present the church with a Senate citation recognizing this historic event a few weeks ago.

   
Indicators Forum

Thank you to Teri Ooms and The Institute for Public Policy & Economic Development for the opportunity to present the findings of the financial literacy research study completed by the Institute's Jobs, Economy, and Economic Development Task Force at the annual Lackawanna & Luzerne Regional Indicators meeting at Mohegan Sun Pocono

Mayor's Conference

It was a pleasure to join my friend and colleague Congressman Matt Cartwright for his annual 17th Congressional District Mayor's Conference at King's College. The discussion covered a number of very important topics concerning downtown development but the majority of the focus was on blight in our communities.

   

Student Ambassador Program Closes with Legislative Competition

Student AmbassadorsI recently hosted high school seniors from 10 local school districts for a legislative competition at the University of Scranton as the final event of this year’s Student Ambassador Program.

The student ambassadors from schools across the 22nd Senatorial District were given an opportunity to make a presentation on a legislative or policy issue to a panel of judges that included myself; State Representative Eddie Day Pashinski; Dr. Jean Harris, Professor of Political Science and Women’s Studies at the University of Scranton; and Kyle Mullins, legislative director.

This is the third year that we have hosted the Student Ambassador Program and each year I come away more and more impressed with our students and particularly their knowledge and intellect. Congratulations to all of the students who participated throughout the year. This program is a great opportunity for the students to get an insider’s view of my work as a state Senator, but it is also a great chance for me to work with our bright young students and hear about the issues and policies that matter most to them, their families and their peers to better inform my decisions in Harrisburg.

The team of Holy Cross senior Sarah Sporko and Dunmore senior Riley McNally were the winners of the legislative competition. Another team, Valley View senior Kyle Kolcharno and Lakeland senior Antonio Cerminaro were the runners-up. Senator Blake has awarded the two top scoring teams scholarship assistance for their post secondary academic pursuits.

Students interested in participating in Senator Blake’s Student Ambassador Program next year can begin applying in September. All information related to the application can be obtained at their schools or by calling Senator Blake’s office at 570-207-2881. Student ambassadors are nominated and recommended for participation in the program through an interview process with their school administrators, teachers or guidance counselors.

National Championship TrophyNational Champion Villanova Wildcats Visit the State Capitol

It was a great honor to welcome Coach Jay Wright and the 2016 National Champion Villanova Wildcats basketball team to the state Capitol earlier this month! As a Villanova University alum, I could not be more proud of Nova nation and this unbelievable team and coaches.

Villanova Group Sen. Blake and Jay Wright

Property Tax/Rent Rebate Program Deadline Extended to December 31 Property Tax Rent Rebate Program

The Pennsylvania Department of Revenue has recently extended the application deadline for the 2015 Property Tax/Rent Rebate program to December 31, 2016. If you have already applied for this great program, the Department of Revenue will begin distributing rebate checks beginning July 1st.

If you did not receive an application, or did not apply last year and wish to apply this year, applications can be obtained from my district office and my staff would be happy to assist you in preparing your application.

The Property Tax/Rent Rebate program benefits eligible Pennsylvanians age 65 and over; widows and widowers age 50 and over; and people with disabilities age 18 and over.  Homeowners with a maximum yearly income of $35,000 and renters with a maximum yearly income of $15,000 are eligible for a rebate.  Keep in mind that half of Social Security income is excluded.

For more information and eligibility requirements for the Property Tax/Rent Rebate program, click here.

Facebook Stay Connected

For updates on this and other legislative initiatives, stay in touch with me on the Internet through my website or on Facebook and Twitter

Offices to Serve You

 

District Office
Oppenheim Building
409 Lackawanna Ave., Ste. 210
Scranton, PA 18503
Phone: (570) 207-2881
Fax: (570) 207-2897
Toll free: 1-877-346-5721
Hours: 8:00 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.

Harrisburg Office
Room 17 East Wing
The State Capitol
Senate Box 203022
Harrisburg, PA 17120-3022
Phone: (717) 787-6481
Fax: (717) 783-5198
Hours: 8:30 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.