What are your top three legislative priorities in 2021? My top three legislative priorities for 2021 are sustainable recovery from the pandemic with a specific focus on job creation, education and agriculture/environmental issues.
More specifically, as we come away from the pandemic, I want to be sure to restore our colleges and universities to their full capacities in terms of learning as well as addressing learning loss and education funding from grades K-12. With agriculture issues, we need to focus on food insecurity and improving our food system. I also hope to focus on how we can promote a more sustainable economy and environment.
What are the important issues facing your district? The most important issues facing the 11th senate district are our recovery from COVID-19, lingering unemployment issues and education equality issues.
Where do you shop locally for food? I visit multiple grocery stores, both large chains as well as some of the regional stores. I go to farmer’s markets and, as soon as produce stands are open, I shop those as well. I’m constantly amazed and gratified by the ample availability of high-quality food products in our markets.
Even before the pandemic, I noticed a trend of more families cooking meals at home. ...I’m hopeful this lasts as sharing a meal is good for families, however one defines family. It’s great bonding time.
What is your favorite vacation destination, and why? Colorado, as I love the landscape and outdoor activities available, but primarily because my daughter and grandchildren reside there.
What are the biggest challenges for grocers in your district? Recovering from the pandemic, most certainly the biggest challenge was the unpredictability of the food supply and preparing for unimaginable disruptions. Consumer education is also a challenge as prices have gone up. Education to help consumers understand these issues would be useful.
Even before the pandemic, I noticed a trend of more families cooking meals at home. It’s likely that trend will continue and many of our markets are responding by having a wider array of fully prepared meals for consumers to take home and reheat. I’m hopeful this lasts as sharing a meal is good for families, however one defines family. It’s great bonding time. But it also presents a new challenge for grocers. How will they respond to these new consumer habits?
What are your biggest challenges and successes as a legislator? The greatest challenge of being a legislator is getting your bills considered by the full assembly and working across the aisle to promote legislative initiatives. I consider the recent expansion of the hemp industry as one of my greatest successes, as well as legislation to help individuals returning to the workforce after incarceration obtain occupational licenses. I’m also proud of the work I did to help Pennsylvania voters more easily and conveniently exercise their right to vote.
What is your favorite food or meal to cook? Anything with ground turkey. I’m a miracle worker with ground turkey! I love to cook, and I focus a lot on ethnic recipes. I have a bookshelf full of cookbooks and a drawer full of clipped recipes that I cycle through. I have a magnet on my kitchen refrigerator with the message “Cooking is love” and I truly believe that.
What do you like to do for fun? Gardening, traveling, reading and, honestly, working as a State Senator. This job is something that I really enjoy doing. It’s an honor to be able to serve my constituents.