In this update:
Laughlin Named Senate GOP Policy Committee Chair
As part of the new Senate Republican Caucus leadership team for the 2023-24 legislative session, I was appointed by Senate President Pro Tempore Kim Ward (R-39) to serve as the Chairman of the Senate Majority Policy Committee.
The Policy Committee often serves as a staging ground where legislative ideas can be dissected, critiqued and improved. As chairman of this body, I look forward to vetting those ideas so that legislation approved by the Senate helps Pennsylvanians and ensures the prosperity of our commonwealth. I plan to be active across the state holding hearings and gathering input on policy issues important to our both our caucus and the people of Pennsylvania.
The last known record of a senator from the 49th District in a Republican leadership role dates back to 1907, when Sen. Albert Everton Sisson was Senate President Pro Tempore from 1907 to 1908. Considered a statesman respected among all his colleagues, Sisson was perhaps best known for his work to commemorate the victory won by Commodore Oliver Hazard Perry and his fleet at the Battle of Lake Erie in the War of 1812. He was instrumental in securing state funding for finding, raising and restoring the brig “Niagara,” which is still a massive tourist attraction for Erie today.
It’s very interesting to see the similarities between Sen. Sisson and myself. From both being Republicans representing the 49th District in leadership, to serving as chair of the Senate Game and Fisheries Committee and our affinity for the Flagship Niagara, which I have been working to secure funding to build a new replica.
The new legislative session technically begins Dec. 1, but practically doesn’t start until legislators are sworn into office on Jan. 3, 2023.
Six Years of Service to the 49th District
I am grateful for the opportunity the voters of the 49th District gave me to serve as your state senator.
During the past six years, I have worked to try to make the lives of those in the 49th District, as well as the rest of the state, better.
You can read here about what I’ve accomplished during my six years of service to the district and the commonwealth.
Giving Thanks for Our Blessings
“Let all of us, in accordance with our hallowed custom, foregather in our respective places of worship or in our homes and offer up prayers of thanks for our manifold blessings. Let the happiness which stems from family reunions on Thanksgiving Day be tempered with compassion and inspired by an active concern for those less fortunate in our own country and in other lands; and let us ask God’s continuing help and guidance in our conduct, both as individuals and as a Nation.” — President Dwight Eisenhower, Thanksgiving Day 1957
I wish you and your loved ones a happy Thanksgiving filled with warmth and gratitude.
Local Food Banks Benefit from Hunters Sharing the Harvest
In 2021, Pennsylvanians participating in Hunters Sharing the Harvest donated 187,000 pounds of venison to families in need, helping to make their holidays brighter.
Hunters Sharing the Harvest allows hunters to donate their extra venison to food pantries and community assistance centers across Pennsylvania via a statewide network of butchers. Over the last 31 years, the program has distributed nearly 2 million pounds of donated meat.
An average-sized deer will provide enough high-protein, low-fat meat for 200 meals. Hunters Sharing the Harvest is a registered 501(c)(3) nonprofit charity funded by public and private sources. Hunters wanting to help can find the nearest participating meat processor here.
Limiting the Hassle of Thanksgiving Travel
Nearly 55 million Americans are expected to travel 50 miles or more from home this Thanksgiving. That’s a 1.5% increase over 2021 and 98% of pre-pandemic volumes.
One way to get the most current and relevant Pennsylvania traffic information without taking your eyes off the road or your hands off the wheel is the 511PA app. 511PA provides real-time, hands-free traffic advisories for every state roadway in Pennsylvania, and for major roadways in neighboring states of New Jersey and West Virginia.
The Historic Holiday Traffic page allows users to see how traffic speeds on the Wednesday before and Sunday after Thanksgiving in 2019 and 2021 compare to traffic conditions during a typical, non-holiday week. Users can choose their region and view an hour-by-hour, color-coded representation of traffic speeds to help them decide the best times to travel during the holiday.
AAA says traffic will be lighter before 8 a.m. and after 8 p.m. on Wednesday. On Thanksgiving, the best travel times are before 11 a.m. and after 6 p.m.
Please Support Small Businesses with Holiday Shopping
While online shopping has its place, local small businesses with brick-and-mortar stores and owners who live nearby are a huge asset to communities.
Small Business Saturday is a reminder that these businesses create 65% of jobs in Pennsylvania, and the holiday shopping season is a great opportunity to support them.
Many of the goods and services offered by these businesses are locally sourced or crafted, so the effect of buying local is multiplied. Please support our local employers this season and year round.
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