Open Seat 48th E-Newsletter

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Week of February 18, 2019 

Budget Hearings

Both the House and Senate are in recess to conduct public hearings on the Governor’s proposed 2019-2020 state budget.  While I’m not a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, I will be participating as chair of the Senate State Government Committee for those agencies under the jurisdiction of the Committee:

All hearings will take place in Hearing Room One, North Office Building.  Click here to watch the hearings live.  A schedule of the agencies appearing before the Senate Appropriations Committee can be found here. 

Art of the State Call for Entries

Art of the State is an annual exhibition open to PA artists held at the State Museum of PA, in cooperation with the PA Heritage FoundationArt of the State is currently seeking entries for the 2019 exhibit, which will run from June 23 to September 8.  The submission deadline is February 28, and entries can be submitted online here.  Categories include painting, work on paper, photography and digital arts, sculpture, and craft. 

York County Tourism Grant

The York County Convention & Visitors Bureau and the York County Commissioners established a matching grant program aimed at boosting tourism (visitation from beyond a 50-mile radius) in York County.  The program, funded through a room tax enacted by the York County Commissioners, provides financial support to initiatives to generate broad and substantial benefit to York County tourism. 

The application period for round one of the 2019 York County Tourism Grant is open until 5 p.m. on February 28.  Questions can be directed to Denise Restuccia at or (717) 852-9675 ext. 113.  More information and the grant application can be found here.

Central PA Congressional Internship Association Accepting Applications

The Central PA Congressional Internship Association is currently accepting applications from local undergraduate college students with an interest in growing their leadership skills through public service during a 10-week paid summer internship program from May to August with Congressman Scott Perry (PA-10, Dauphin County and parts of York and Cumberland Counties).

Students who are residents of the 10th Congressional District and have completed their freshman year by the beginning of the internship are eligible to apply.  Each intern spends five weeks in Washington, D.C. assisting with legislative projects, and five weeks in one of the Harrisburg-area district offices assisting with constituent casework.

Interns are selected, in a non-partisan way, based on academic performance, extracurricular activities, and their demonstrated commitment to public service.  Applications can be downloaded here, and mailed to Central PA Congressional Internship Association, P.O. Box 1961, York, PA 17405.  The deadline to apply is March 1.

PAsmart Computer Science Grants Awarded in 48th District

The PA Department of Education recently announced $8.7 million in PAsmart targeted grants to bring high-quality computer science and STEM education to PA schools, and professional development for teachers.  Six school districts within the 48th Senatorial District were awarded $35,000:

Dauphin County:

  • Steelton Highspire School District – Steelton Highspire Elementary and Steelton Highspire Junior Senior High Schools

Lebanon County:

  • Eastern Lebanon County School District – Fort Zeller Elementary, Jackson Elementary, and Eastern Lebanon County Intermediate Schools
  • Lebanon School District – Northwest Elementary, Southeast Elementary, and Harding Elementary Schools
  • Northern Lebanon School District – Jonestown Elementary, Lickdale Elementary, Fredericksburg Elementary, East Hanover Elementary, and Northern Lebanon Middle and High Schools
  • Palmyra Area School District – Palmyra Area High School

York County:

  • Northeastern York School District – York Haven Elementary, Conewago Elementary, Mount Wolf Elementary, Orendorf Elementary, Spring Forge Intermediate, and Shallow Brook Intermediate Schools 

Column:  Remembering Lincoln

In these times of extreme rhetoric and deep political divisions, consider the words of President Lincoln, whose birthday we celebrated February 12:  “Folks are usually about as happy as they make their minds up to be.”

Abraham Lincoln’s contemporaries attacked him in editorials, speeches, journals, diaries, and private letters.  Even without Twitter and social media, they criticized his upbringing, his lack of formal education, and even his appearance.

Harper’s Weekly told readers:  “He is not a brilliant orator; he is not a great leader.”  An Ohio Congressman agreed:  Lincoln “is universally an admitted failure, has no will, no courage, no executive capacity . . . .”

A New Yorker wrote Lincoln was “a barbarian, Scythian, yahoo, or gorilla.”  After a Cabinet meeting, Lincoln’s own Attorney General wrote in his diary:  “I greatly fear he has not the power to command.”

Union commanding general George McClellan called him “a coward,” “an idiot,” and “the original gorilla.”  McClellan once slighted Lincoln who was waiting in the general’s house:  McClellan ignored the President and went to bed, leaving him in the parlor.

Lincoln shouldered the blame as McClellan’s and other generals’ failures mounted and Republicans turned on him.  Michigan Republican Senator Zachariah Chandler said he was “timid, vacillating and inefficient.”  Maine Republican William Fessenden called Lincoln “weak as water.”

Abolitionist Wendell Phillips lamented:  “Abraham Lincoln sits today a more unlimited despot than the world knows this side of China.”  Fellow abolitionist Elizabeth Cady Stanton called him “Dishonest Abe” and opposed his renomination.

Republican Senator Charles Sumner also opposed the President’s renomination:  “There is a strong feeling among those who have seen Mr. Lincoln, in the way of business, that he lacks practical talent for his important place.”

Some Northern newspapers actually called for Lincoln’s assassination.  In the days after the assassination, William Lloyd Garrison Jr. called his murder “providential.”

Nonetheless, Lincoln was gracious in dealing with his critics:  “Do I not destroy my enemies when I make them my friends?”  He would add:  “Let us speak no more of these things.”  He also met with detractors, asking:  “Why does he not come and have a talk with me?”

Meetings were important to Lincoln.  No matter how busy he was, he found time to meet, often using stories to make points:  “They say I tell a great many stories.  I reckon I do; but I have learned from long experience that plain people, take them as they run, are more easily influenced through the medium of a broad and humorous illustration than in any other way.”

While contemporary criticisms of Lincoln have long been forgotten, his words haven’t, like the conclusion of his Gettysburg Address:  “. . . government of the people, by the people, for the people shall not perish from the earth.”

Likewise, his second Inaugural Address (with future assassin John Wilkes Booth in attendance):  “With malice toward none; with charity for all; with firmness in the right, as God gives us to see the right, let us strive on to finish the work we are in; to bind up the nation’s wounds; to care for him who shall have borne the battle, and for his widow, and his orphan – to do all which may achieve and cherish a just, and a lasting peace, among ourselves, and with all nations.”

Despite the attacks on him, Abraham Lincoln always remained focused on the good of the county:  “America will never be destroyed from the outside.  If we falter and lose our freedoms, it will be because we destroyed ourselves.”

Hopefully, we can do the same in the face of our critics.

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