What are your top three legislative priorities in 2021? My top priority remains closing Pennsylvania’s digital divide by bringing high-speed broadband internet to every home across the Commonwealth. I’m also focused on protecting our energy jobs in the coal and gas industries and fixing our broken property tax system so we can fairly fund education.
What are the important issues facing your district? As highlighted in the most recent Census data, the rural and industrial areas of Pennsylvania are losing population. It’s imperative that we find a solution to grow our tax base and keep people here with good paying, family sustaining jobs. We can do that by investing in our infrastructure, expanding broadband service and running new water and sewer lines to keep the next generation here in older portions of the Commonwealth that once relied heavily on the coal and steel industries. It starts with keeping the coal and steel jobs we still have, and then diversifying our economy to include new business growth.
Where do you shop locally for food? My family has shopped at the locally owned Giant Eagle in Dry Tavern, Greene County, for many years. The Throckmorton family owns two Giant Eagle’s in my district, and my family sometimes makes a stop several times a week to pick up what we need. I grew up in the Dry Tavern community and having this grocery store here is a major asset to all of us.
What is your favorite vacation destination? The beach! My husband Jack and I love to take our kids and grandkids to the Carolinas in the summer for a family vacation. There is nothing more relaxing than a quiet afternoon listening to the waves and a giggle or two from the grandkids. With the COVID-19 pandemic, we have canceled our vacations, but we are itching to get back to the water next year.
I’m proud to say I’m a middle-of-the-road legislator that works with both sides of the aisle on any issue.
What are the biggest challenges for grocers in your district? The grocery store owners are quick to tell you that they need employees. Most people know that it has been difficult for many small businesses to find employees to run their stores over the last several months. When the COVID-19 pandemic began, grocery stores were slammed as restaurants closed and people were afraid to dine out. Those essential workers are now facing fatigue and burn-out, and there isn’t a line of workers waiting to relieve them. I’m hopeful, as we continue to conquer the pandemic and the economy recovers, that people will be looking for work and can fill these roles.
What are your biggest challenges and successes as a legislator? I have several achievements of which I’m proud, but I’m particularly proud of my legislation for corrections officers. My district contains two state prisons that employ thousands of corrections officers and staff. On a tour of SCI-Fayette, the corrections officers asked me to get them a pepper spray mechanism to combat violent prisoners. We passed legislation that gave those officers that spray and they say it’s made their jobs safer, protected them, and curbed violence inside the walls.
The biggest challenge remains the partisan politics that haunt the Capitol. I’m proud to say I’m a middle-of-the-road legislator that works with both sides of the aisle on any issue. Too often, my colleagues get caught up in talking points, speeches and what plays best on social media for them back home. I wish we could turn the cameras off and just get some work done. That’s what the people who elected us sent us here to do.
What is your favorite food or meal to cook? My husband Jack is the cook in our house. The man can whip up just about anything, but his chicken and noodles from scratch are to die for! I’m thankful that with my schedule, he makes sure there is dinner on the table. I love to make my mother’s homemade bun recipe. You can use those buns with just about anything. At Christmas time, the family can’t wait for my peanut butter balls and nut rolls.
What do you like to do for fun? We live on my husband’s century-old family farm. Our daughters have built houses on the property and have raised their kids there. We just love having them so close, spending time with them and our grandchildren whether in the barn or in the pool.
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Liz Kemmery, director of communications