Good afternoon and welcome to our weekend update.
Yesterday, we celebrated Women Veterans Recognition Day and I again want to honor the brave women who have served our nation in the armed forces. Thank you for your sacrifice in defending our freedom.
As it has been dominating the news, I want to address the latest on the new policy plank adopted by the extreme left advocating for defunding the police. The left has adopted some extremely radical positions over the last few years... including a push for government-run health care, the federal government takeover of elections, no border security and the “ganGreen New Deal” that will kill tens of thousands of jobs. Still, no policy has been more radical than the push to defund law enforcement.
What occurred with Mr. George Floyd was reprehensible. Witnessing what is happening in our cities across the country is also reprehensible. While the overwhelming majority of our police officers are excellent, we must improve our law enforcement through transparency, accountability and information exchange to root out bad cops like Derek Chauvin. However, burning down cities and businesses, hurting citizens and police officers, will not solve the problem but makes them a lot worse. Our law enforcement officers serve as the thin blue line that protects our communities and our families. These officers leave their homes every day not knowing if they are going to come home when their shift ends.
One of the worst scenes playing out in the nation is occurring in Seattle. Protestors have taken over a section of the city, including the illegal seizure of a police precinct. This has not allowed law enforcement to respond to the calls in a timely fashion and report to calls from citizens dealing with violent crimes, including rapes and assaults. Seattle Police have confirmed that the number of 911 calls has tripled in the occupied area since the police precinct was seized. This is lawlessness and is doing nothing to advance reforms for law enforcement.
In efforts to continue to keep our district updated on the latest happenings, I conducted a number of interviews this week. I appeared on Fox News Business to discuss the protests. Watch my interview by clicking here or below.
Additionally, I conducted an interview on Newsmax TV, where we touched on similar topics and discussed the SCAM Act, legislation I have sponsored to punish those individuals praying on our seniors and the most vulnerable during the COVID-19 pandemic. The moderator raised the push by some in Democratic leadership, particularly Speaker Nancy Pelosi, to remove the statues of historical figures. I said that Democratic leaders should be careful assigning blame, particularly when all of the symbols they are discussing are Democrats. Granted yesteryear Democrats, as is all history. That's the point. It's history.
I am a Republican, but more importantly, I am an American that believes in our Declaration of Independence, which can be said is the 'Why' of the birth of our nation and a believer in the Constitution, which describes the 'How.' My interview can be watched by clicking here or below.
This week, Congressman Fred Keller and I visited Brian Campbell's farm in Berwick, who is participating in the new USDA Farmers to Families Food Box Program to benefit the Central PA Food Bank and the countless families they serve. This program allows the USDA to purchase up to $3 billion of fresh produce, dairy and meat products. This new program has been vital to both our agriculture partners as well as the charitable food network as we have seen over a 45% increase in demand since the beginning of the COVID crisis throughout our network.
We conducted a Zoom call with leaders in the construction industry for a status update on their activities now that they have been able to get back to work and ways we can support their efforts to hire employees and build important infrastructure for our communities.
I participated in a Veterans Affairs Committee meeting regarding the coronavirus and I want to thank the Veterans Administration for the great job they did during the Covid-19 pandemic to help support our veterans. The VA didn't just talk about following the data, they actually did it. They saw who was high risk and the factors that were contributing to those situations and focused their resources there. They have achieved excellent results supporting our veteran community during this crisis.
On Thursday, I spoke at the Carbon County Chamber's "State of the County" presentation at Blue Mountain Resort in Palmerton. Thank you to the many stakeholders from the private and public sectors who work hard to make Northeast PA a great place to live and work. Together, we will get through this crisis and back on a path towards prosperity. We also appreciate their ingenuity in presenting an in-person/virtual event that was safe and well-attended.
Later, I participated in a Pennsylvania Trump Team Zoom call with our new Republican nominee for Congress in the 8th District, Jim Bognet. Lastly, I want to address some news in Harrisburg. Speaker of the House Mike Turzai announced his decision to resign on June 15. Over the course of my service as the former Secretary of the Department of Revenue and now as Congressman, I was fortunate to work closely with Mike on many important issues for our Commonwealth. Mike is a leader, problem-solver and shares our conservative values. I want to thank Mike for his service and wish Mike and his family the best in their future endeavors. (Below pictured with Speaker Mike Turzai at an event last year in Berks County)
Have a great weekend, stay safe and we will see you soon.