Merski, Harkins co-hosting COVID-19 Virtual Vaccine Town Hall Jan. 25

(Jan 21, 2021)

ERIE, Jan. 21 – Erie residents can find answers to their questions about the COVID-19 vaccine by attending a virtual vaccine town hall at 12:30 p.m. Monday, Jan. 25, state Reps. Bob Merski and Pat Harkins, both D-Erie, announced today. The lawmakers said they are co-hosting the online event with their House and Senate Democratic colleagues and the state Department of Health to bring residents up to date on the latest vaccine information. “The state health department just announced that it is expanding the category of residents eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine to include people 65 and older and those 16 to 64 with serious health conditions,” Merski said. “While that’s good news, most of us still have questions about the timetable and what it means for everyone in the Erie community. “I’m encouraging everyone with questions to register for the event, which will feature a health department official answering questions in an online, live forum.” Harkins said: “The COVID-19 vaccine is bringing cause for hope but also a host of questions -- from how safe and effective it is to when folks can expect to receive theirs. This is new territory for all of us, and we want to make sure the community has access to the latest, most accurate information. Joining the live event will give folks a chance to get that information straight from the best source – the state health department.” Read more

 

Burns, PA DOH to hold virtual COVID vaccine town hall

(Jan 21, 2021)

Public invited to attend to get answers, facts on vaccine rollout Read more

 

Merski, Harkins: More than $41.4 million to Erie schools to support continued learning during pandemic

(Jan 15, 2021)

ERIE, Jan. 15 – Area school districts will receive approximately $41.44 million in federal funding under the CARES Act to ensure students have the resources they need to continue learning during the pandemic, state Reps. Bob Merski and Pat Harkins announced today. The lawmakers, both D-Erie, said the funding to four school districts and three charter schools will help ensure educators have the resources and supports needed to continue a quality, safe curriculum. “Erie is fortunate to have incredibly dedicated school officials, teachers and support staff who are 100% dedicated to keeping quality instruction flowing at all levels K-12,” Merski said. “Throughout the pandemic, they have been working to keep the curricula engaging despite wrestling with tight budgets and strained resources. The funding announced today is going to put more resources into their hands to help them ensure students keep learning and thriving in a safe environment.” Harkins said: “The pandemic has tested the limits of our public education system. This much-needed infusion of funding is going help our talented educators continue inspiring kids and our districts ensure that all the planning and protections are in place to keep them safe. I am encouraging districts to apply as soon as they are able.” The lawmakers said districts will receive the following funding: Erie City School District Read more

 

Merski, Harkins: More than $41.4 million to Erie schools to support continued learning during pandemic

(Jan 15, 2021)

ERIE, Jan. 15 – Area school districts will receive approximately $41.44 million in federal funding under the CARES Act to ensure students have the resources they need to continue learning during the pandemic, state Reps. Bob Merski and Pat Harkins announced today. The lawmakers, both D-Erie, said the funding to four school districts and three charter schools will help ensure educators have the resources and supports needed to continue a quality, safe curriculum. “Erie is fortunate to have incredibly dedicated school officials, teachers and support staff who are 100% dedicated to keeping quality instruction flowing at all levels K-12,” Merski said. “Throughout the pandemic, they have been working to keep the curricula engaging despite wrestling with tight budgets and strained resources. The funding announced today is going to put more resources into their hands to help them ensure students keep learning and thriving in a safe environment.” Harkins said: “The pandemic has tested the limits of our public education system. This much-needed infusion of funding is going help our talented educators continue inspiring kids and our districts ensure that all the planning and protections are in place to keep them safe. I am encouraging districts to apply as soon as they are able.” The lawmakers said districts will receive the following funding: Erie City School District Read more

 

Harkins announces committee appointments for 2021-22 legislative session

(Jan 12, 2021)

HARRISBURG, Jan. 12 – State Rep. Pat Harkins announced today that he has been appointed to the House Professional Licensure, Liquor Control, and Game and Fisheries Committees for the 2021-22 legislative session. Harkins said he is looking forward to playing an active role in developing legislative solutions that speed recovery to the community and small business owners . “Even as we begin the normal committee work of reviewing new legislation, there is nothing normal about this year,” Harkins said. “With community businesses and working families struggling to get back on their feet, we will be laser-focused on moving bills that help return the commonwealth to more stable economic ground. “In the months ahead, I will be working on promoting legislative solutions from the ground level, whether they involve expanding opportunities for licensed employees and constructive use of licensing fees, ensuring the most effective use of liquor sale revenue, or ensuring safe, affordable recreational opportunities for sportsmen and anglers. “Above all, we will be working to ensure that legislation designed to speed recovery and improve life for residents makes it to the full House for a vote.” The Professional Licensure Committee reviews bills involving licensing for qualified employees and businesses and includes Read more

 

Merski announces House committee appointments for 2021-22 legislative session

(Jan 12, 2021)

HARRISBURG, Jan. 12 – State Rep. Bob Merski announced today that he has been appointed to serve on the House Insurance Committee and reappointed to second terms on the Gaming Oversight, Game and Fisheries and Urban Affairs committees. Merski, D-Erie, said he is looking forward to the nuts and bolts of committee work and the opportunity to help shape legislation from the ground level up. “Much of our committee work this year will focus on maximizing revenue and recovery as we rebuild from the pandemic,” Merski said. “Gaming is a vital source of state revenue, and I will be working with colleagues on the House Gaming Oversight Committee to ensure Pennsylvania is positioned to benefit quickly from the reopening of casinos and other gaming venues once the pandemic threat has ended. “Efforts to rebuild will involve new challenges for communities everywhere, and our work on the Urban Affairs Committee will focus on hastening economic recovery for Erie and other cities while improving life for residents. Quality of life depends on affordable recreational outlets, and my work on the Game and Fisheries Committee will focus on expanding those opportunities while bolstering the revenue that supports our state game and fish commissions. “Finally, I am excited to begin my new role serving on the House Insurance Committee. Insurance is an important industry for Erie, and I look forward Read more

 

Harkins, Merski: Erie senior centers to benefit from nearly $50,000 in grants

(Jan 07, 2021)

ERIE, Jan. 7 – State funding of $49,383 will help Erie’s senior centers weather the financial impact of the pandemic so they can continue serving the needs of older adults and resume full-scale operations in the future, state Reps. Pat Harkins and Bob Merski announced today. The lawmakers said the funding from the state Department of Aging will go to the area’s agency on aging – the Greater Erie Community Action Committee Agency – to be divided equally among the county’s senior community centers. “ Our area’s senior centers provide Erie’s older adults with incredibly important connections to the community,” Harkins said. “But like all other businesses and organizations, they are feeling the economic brunt of the pandemic keenly. This funding is going to give them the shot in the arm they need to continue operating so they can safely welcome seniors back to a full range of engaging activities once it is safe to do so.” Merski said: “Our local Erie senior centers offer older adults access to vital services such as nutritious meals and transportation, but they also provide so much more in terms of quality of life –fitness, learning, volunteering and all the other activities that keep seniors engaged. “The funding announced today will be a lifeline for our area centers, which will be able to use the money Read more

 

Merski, Harkins: Nearly $30,000 awarded to Mercyhurst University as part of statewide campaign to combat campus sexual assault

(Jan 06, 2021)

ERIE, Jan. 6 – A $29,250 grant to Mercyhurst University under the state’s “It’s On Us” program will help ensure students remain safe from the threat of sexual violence, state Reps. Bob Merski and Pat Harkins announced today. The lawmakers said the grant will help the school implement strategies to raise awareness about sexual violence and prevention, the reporting process and the resources available for survivors. “Sexual violence has no place in our community, but the reality is that it can happen anywhere –including college campuses – with devastating effects,” Merski said. “College is a place for young adults to learn, thrive and mature, but that’s only possible if they feel safe. The grant funding awarded will help ensure Mercyhurst has the resources it needs to maintain the safest possible environment for all students.” Harkins said: “No student should live in fear, but banishing the threat of sexual violence requires resources and vigilance. This grant will fund programs to raise awareness about this repugnant crime, help prevent campus assaults, and ensure students are aware of protections, reporting procedures and other available resources.” The funding for Mercyhurst University is part of a package of grants to postsecondary schools statewide. The schools use the funding for programs ranging from campus-wide training for students, educators and staff to campaigns to raise Read more

 

Harkins sworn in to eighth term representing state’s 1st Legislative District

(Jan 05, 2021)

HARRISBURG, Jan. 5 – State Rep. Pat Harkins, D-Erie, was sworn in today at the state Capitol in Harrisburg, beginning his eighth term representing Pennsylvania’s 1st Legislative District in the Pennsylvania House of Representatives. Reaffirming his commitment to the Erie community, Harkins said his top priority will be helping residents and business owners overcome the multiple challenges created by the pandemic. “I am deeply committed to fighting for our district and ensuring that residents and small business owners get the funding they need to make it through this period,” Harkins said. “COVID-19 has wreaked havoc on our community, threatening the survival of mom-and-pop businesses, destroying jobs and making it hard for families to meet basic living expenses. “My No. 1 priority in the year ahead will be bringing more money back to our district so we can begin to see meaningful recovery. At the same time, I will be working to expand access to job opportunities, affordable housing, and the quality health care and public education our residents deserve. “Even as the pandemic made life so difficult, Erie residents responded with strength and generosity. I am so proud to represent our district, and I plan to do everything in my power to help us build back quickly and return to a healthy local economy.” Harkins said his Read more

 

Merski sworn in for second term representing 2nd Legislative District

(Jan 05, 2021)

HARRISBURG, Jan. 5 – State Rep. Bob Merski was sworn in today at the state Capitol, taking the oath of office to begin his second term representing the residents of the 2 nd Legislative District. As he outlined plans for the 2021-22 legislative session, Merski, D-Erie, emphasized the importance of economic recovery and a legislative agenda that is guided by residents’ needs and concerns. “I am grateful to the people of Erie for the honor and privilege of representing them in Harrisburg,” Merski said. “This has been an extremely difficult year, but our community has shown strength and courage throughout. “We still have a lot of work to do in combating COVID-19 and building back an economy that works for everyone. My top priority in the year ahead will be fighting to bring as much money back to the region as possible, and I have already signed onto legislation for more COVID relief for our small businesses. As we build back, I will also be working to increase job and career training opportunities and broaden access to high-quality public education and health care. A healthy economy is only half the battle. The other half is ensuring people have the services they need and the opportunities they deserve. “As always, I encourage residents to reach out to me with questions and concerns. Hearing from our community helps me be the strongest Read more

 

Harkins, Merski: More than $162k to launch Erie watershed steward program

(Dec 30, 2020)

ERIE, Dec. 30 – A $162,422 grant to the Pennsylvania State University will help ensure Erie volunteers have the knowledge and resources they need to keep stewardship of the coastal region alive and well, state Reps. Pat Harkins and Bob Merski, both D-Erie, announced today. The lawmakers said the grant from the state Department of Environmental Protection’s Growing Greener Program will fund the Erie launch of the Master Watershed Steward Program, which will train volunteers in watershed management so they can educate the community based on the latest university research and recommendations. “The steward program will broaden the knowledge base of Erie’s many volunteers who are devoted to caring for our coast and protecting our watershed,” said Harkins, who is a member of the Great Lakes Commission. “Armed with the latest information and research, those volunteers can pass this information along at the local level. Launch of the program in our area – made possible by this funding – is going to ensure that our precious lake region benefits from state-of-the-state conservation and management techniques.” Merski said: “Erie has some incredibly talented volunteers who understand our coastal region’s unique needs. But maintaining a balance between use and enjoyment on one hand and preservation of delicate ecosystems on the other is a constant Read more

 

Merski, Harkins: $23 million to fund multiple Erie revitalization projects

(Dec 23, 2020)

ERIE, Dec. 23 – Erie will be receiving an infusion of $23 million in funding from the state Redevelopment Assistance Capital Program, state Reps. Patrick Harkins and Bob Merski, both D-Erie, announced today. The lawmakers said the funding includes major capital investments that will spur growth and economic development for the area. “The funding awarded today brings the promise of major change and revitalization for Erie and our entire region,” Merski said. “The grants will be funding projects that are truly transformative, from a new community college to renovations for Mercyhurst University’s athletic center to new commercial development. We will also see funding to renovate and expand the SeaWolves’ team clubhouse and add a new structure to the park – the kind of investments that help keep our beloved SeaWolves here in Erie.” Harkins said, “The funding announced today will act as a shot in the arm for economic growth and development by building on so many of Erie’s existing resources. We will see funding to expand Liberty Park, development of new industrial facilities, and expansion and upgrades for many facilities and cultural attractions. All the investments help us attract new businesses, residents and visitors to the area. We appreciate Governor Tom Wolf’s assistance in helping bring this money to Erie.” The lawmakers Read more

 

Harkins, Merski: More than $250,000 in Lake Erie coastal grants awarded

(Dec 17, 2020)

ERIE, Dec. 17 – Grant funding of $252,717 from the state Department of Environmental Protection will support efforts to protect and preserve Lake Erie’s coastal zone region and fund related projects, state Reps. Bob Merski and Pat Harkins, both D-Erie, announced today. The lawmakers said the grants will fund technical support and assistance for ongoing efforts to manage and protect the Lake Erie watershed; testing and analysis of algae-based toxins; rehabilitation of the Lakeside Park boat launch ramp, resources for an educational camp, and other projects. “One of the unique aspects of Erie County is that more than three-quarters of our residents live within a coastal zone,” said Harkins, who is a member of the Great Lakes Commission. “Having that concentrated population stresses the ecosystem and creates problems such as nonpoint source pollution, water quality issues and shoreline erosion that threaten the natural environment. This funding is going to help us stave off these threats. “Our district is also receiving nearly $50,000 to restore the Lakeside Park boat launch ramp infrastructure and restore it to its original condition for residents to ensure maximum safe use for residents.” Merski said: “Those of us who grew up along Lake Erie’s shores understand the special joys – and many economic benefits – the lake provides. But Read more

 

Rep. Pat Harkins' Pandemic Help Sheet

(Dec 17, 2020)

Rep. Pat Harkins' Pandemic Help Sheet Read more

 

Merski offers pandemic resource help sheet, announces food distribution event for service industry workers

(Dec 16, 2020)

ERIE, Dec. 16 -- State Rep. Bob Merski announced that his office is providing a free pandemic help sheet for residents and that Second Harvest Food Bank will be hosting a special food-distribution event from 10 a.m. to noon on Saturday, Dec. 19 to benefit service industry workers impacted by layoffs and work reductions. Merski, D-Erie, said he and his staff have been working with area utility providers, the United Way, and Second Harvest Food Bank for solutions to help workers who are temporarily laid off and still experiencing hardships due to the pandemic. “There may be hope on the horizon in the form of a vaccine, but that is not a panacea for the many Erie workers and small-business owners feeling the economic brunt of the pandemic,” Merski said. “Through no fault of their own, workers in the service industry have been especially hard hit. “The Second Harvest food distribution on Dec. 19 is a special event for the many workers laid off from jobs as servers, bartenders, casino workers, fitness industry staff and other positions in the service industry. The event will be held at the food bank’s 1507 Grimm Drive location from 10 a.m. to noon on Saturday Dec. 19, but those who plan to participate must pre-register by 4 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 17, by calling Second Harvest at 459-3663, ext. 114. “I also want to remind all residents that the utility providers in our community offer flexible payment plans and are willing to work with Read more

 

Erie officials debut new firetruck, thank Harkins, Merski for securing funding

(Dec 16, 2020)

ERIE, Dec. 16 – At a news conference this morning, Erie city and fire officials unveiled the latest addition to the Erie Fire Department’s fleet: a new engine acquired with state funding secured by Reps. Pat Harkins and Bob Merski. The lawmakers, both D-Erie, said securing $300,000 toward the purchase of a 2020 Pierce pumper truck – the second truck they helped the department obtain in two years – provided a chance to give something back to the city’s frontline heroes. “Erie firefighters are asked to do so much with such limited resources, and they always rise to the challenge,” said Harkins. “They have worked hard through the years to maintain an aging fleet of vehicles. “Despite those efforts, the older trucks and equipment begin requiring more frequent and costly repairs, to the point where maintenance is no longer cost-effective. Securing funding for fleet upgrades like this one and last year’s new rig for the crews of Engine 6 means less down time for crews, more cost-efficient operations and, ultimately, savings for Erie’s taxpayers.” Merski said: “ As a former Erie city council member, I know there is a need to replace our aging fire apparatus, with many engines at the end of their recommended time as frontline vehicles. Replacing a fire engine is a very expensive line item for the city budget, and financial challenges Read more

 

Rep. Merski's Pandemic Resource Help Sheet

(Dec 16, 2020)

Rep. Bob Merski's Pandemic Resource Help Sheet. Read more

 

Merski, Harkins: Nearly $2.6 million will bring high-speed broadband access to more Erie residents, businesses

(Dec 10, 2020)

ERIE, Dec. 10 – Nearly 3,100 Erie residents and business owners will gain access to high-speed internet, thanks to nearly $2.59 million in funding from the Federal Communications Commission awarded to companies serving the region, state Reps. Pat Harkins and Bob Merski announced. The Erie lawmakers said the funding will bring long-awaited access to many of the region’s underserved residents. “Internet is nearly as critical as power and light these days, yet high-speed, reliable access is still not universally available to families throughout our region,” Merski said. “The ability to connect to the outside world should never depend on a resident’s ZIP code, but unfortunately, that has been the reality for many low-income households. This funding has the prospect of finally leveling the playing field for many area families.” Harkins said: “With the pandemic limiting outings and restricting so many life activities, residents are depending more than ever on the internet – for shopping, working, checking in with relatives, and more. A reliable, high-speed connection is no longer a luxury – it’s a necessity. But for far too long, underserved families in our region have lacked access. The funding announced today is terrific news because it is a step toward leveling the playing field and ensuring all households – regardless of location – have the access Read more

 

Harkins, Merski: $200,000 to enhance Erie building code, permitting operations

(Dec 10, 2020)

ERIE, Dec. 10 – A $200,000 grant will allow the city of Erie to purchase computer equipment and software needed to keep building code enforcement and permitting operations running smoothly, state Reps. Pat Harkins and Bob Merski, both D-Erie, announced today . The lawmakers said the funding from the state Department of Community and Economic Development will also allow the city’s code enforcement office to retain a consultant to guide effective, cost-efficient purchasing. “Building code enforcement and permitting are critically important services that impact both the safety of residents and business patrons and the economic operations of local businesses,” Harkins said. “Equipment and software purchased with this funding will be indispensable to department staff in managing reports and workflow, addressing concerns and following up on compliance.” Merski said: “While computer software can never take the place of hands-on site inspection, computer systems and software can make certain operations – including receiving and processing applications, reviewing plans and tracking code compliance – much more efficient. This funding is going to give code enforcement officers and related staff the tools they need to streamline and enhance operations for the benefit of residents, business owners, builders and the entire community.” The grant was made Read more

 

Harkins, Merski: More than $1.4 million to fund anti-crime, victim support and youth mentoring programs in Erie County

(Dec 09, 2020)

ERIE, Dec. 9 – Grant funding of $1.44 million will bolster programs and services to reduce crime, assist domestic violence and sexual assault victims and support at-risk youth in Erie County, state Reps. Pat Harkins and Bob Merski, both D-Erie, announced today. The lawmakers said the funding – administered by the Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency – includes seven grants to different county criminal justice and social service agencies and will work to improve the lives of those most in danger. “We can’t all thrive as a community unless all of us are safe and free from harm,” Merski said. “The PCCD funding awarded today will help those most in need by providing services, justice, and a second chance at a normal life.” Harkins said: “Victims of domestic violence and child abuse need a voice, and they get that through the terrific advocates who work for our agencies. This funding is going to help those workers provide the best possible support for those who are working to throw off trauma and regain strong, healthy lives.” The grants will go to the following agencies and projects in the following amounts: County Adult Probation and Parole Advisory Committee – improve adult probation services Erie County Improvement of Adult Probation Services $463,030 Victims’ Services Advisory Committee - bolster services for domestic and sexual Read more

 

Merski, Harkins co-hosting COVID-19 Virtual Vaccine Town Hall Jan. 25
Jan 21, 2021

Burns, PA DOH to hold virtual COVID vaccine town hall
Jan 21, 2021

Merski, Harkins: More than $41.4 million to Erie schools to support continued learning during pandemic
Jan 15, 2021

Merski, Harkins: More than $41.4 million to Erie schools to support continued learning during pandemic
Jan 15, 2021

Harkins announces committee appointments for 2021-22 legislative session
Jan 12, 2021

Merski announces House committee appointments for 2021-22 legislative session
Jan 12, 2021

Harkins, Merski: Erie senior centers to benefit from nearly $50,000 in grants
Jan 07, 2021

Merski, Harkins: Nearly $30,000 awarded to Mercyhurst University as part of statewide campaign to combat campus sexual assault
Jan 06, 2021

Harkins sworn in to eighth term representing state’s 1st Legislative District
Jan 05, 2021

Merski sworn in for second term representing 2nd Legislative District
Jan 05, 2021

Harkins, Merski: More than $162k to launch Erie watershed steward program
Dec 30, 2020

Merski, Harkins: $23 million to fund multiple Erie revitalization projects
Dec 23, 2020

Harkins, Merski: More than $250,000 in Lake Erie coastal grants awarded
Dec 17, 2020

Rep. Pat Harkins' Pandemic Help Sheet
Dec 17, 2020

Merski offers pandemic resource help sheet, announces food distribution event for service industry workers
Dec 16, 2020

Erie officials debut new firetruck, thank Harkins, Merski for securing funding
Dec 16, 2020

Rep. Merski's Pandemic Resource Help Sheet
Dec 16, 2020

Merski, Harkins: Nearly $2.6 million will bring high-speed broadband access to more Erie residents, businesses
Dec 10, 2020

Harkins, Merski: $200,000 to enhance Erie building code, permitting operations
Dec 10, 2020

Harkins, Merski: More than $1.4 million to fund anti-crime, victim support and youth mentoring programs in Erie County
Dec 09, 2020