House Democrats pledge ‘People over Partisanship’ in 2021-22 session

HARRISBURG, Jan. 5 -- The PA House Democratic Caucus leadership team issued a joint statement today as state legislators formally began the 2021-22 Legislative Session:

“With 202 members of the House of Representatives due to be sworn in, we celebrate the diversity of our great state and reflect on the shared values common to almost all Pennsylvanians. Yet we also mourn the tragic loss of Representative Mike Reese, whose sudden passing reminded all of us how precious life is. 

“The importance of the top priorities that House Democrats have consistently promoted -- good jobs with fair pay, quality schools, affordable housing, accessible health care, a safe environment and protection of democracy -- are being highlighted and tested in many ways during this devastating pandemic.

“We see the beginning of this new legislative session as a chance to elevate people over partisanship and make gains toward these common goals in all of Pennsylvania’s unique communities – east and west, large and small, urban, suburban and rural.  

“Democrats in the House hope that our Republican partners will work with us to help people stay in jobs, get back to work and go to school safely; equip healthcare workers properly to battle this pandemic; ensure Pennsylvanians are not evicted from their homes in the middle of a public health crisis; and send targeted relief to the many businesses ravaged by this pandemic. 

“We saw firsthand in 2020 what can happen when parts of the government don’t work efficiently for the people. Unacceptable delays to working people who needed the safety net of unemployment compensation, failure to get available federal funds to those at risk of losing their homes, and insufficient aid for small-business owners forced to suspend operations.

“With more bipartisan cooperation in 2021, aided greatly by a new administration leading federal efforts, we can craft better policies for those who are relying on this kind of help to survive. With more collaboration and less confrontation, we look forward to acting with our colleagues to help people get back to work, fully reopen schools sooner, and provide crucial support to the many individuals and local businesses that are pillars of our communities. 

“Prioritizing the success of our students and teachers is more important now than ever. Regardless of Zip code, students and teachers deserve access to resources that help them acquire the skills to grow a strong work force of the future. This pandemic highlighted inequities in our system and we must work toward fairly funded Pennsylvania schools, especially as teachers struggle to keep students in the classroom both virtually and physically.  

“Our frontline workers remain at the forefront of this pandemic, ensuring that we all receive medical care and have access to the supplies and transportation necessary to maintain as normal a life as possible during one of the most challenging times in our nation’s history. We are eternally grateful for the sacrifices they make to do their jobs and will strive to ensure they are adequately compensated and appreciated for the contributions and sacrifices they make. 

“In time, there will be an end to this pandemic, with the help of vaccines and maintaining the practices of masking up, handwashing and social distancing.  

“The beginning of a new session is a reminder that people from across the state elected 203 of us to work together in Harrisburg to find meaningful solutions to many problems and to make our communities stronger. Let’s do that work. House Democrats proudly embrace this challenge as we embark on a new year. It is no exaggeration to say lives and livelihoods depend on it.”

The PA House Democratic Caucus leadership team includes:

Leader Joanna McClinton, Philadelphia and Delaware County

Whip Jordan Harris, Philadelphia

Appropriations Chairman Matt Bradford, Montgomery County

Caucus Chair Dan Miller, Allegheny County

Caucus Secretary Tina Davis, Bucks County

Caucus Administrator Mike Schlossberg, Lehigh County

Policy Chairman Ryan Bizzarro, Erie County