Southwest Pennsylvania, especially the 49th District, is a great place to raise a family, work and enjoy a high quality of life. Our greatest asset is our community that feels like a tight-knit family. On top of that, we have the Mon Valley Hospital, California University, Monongahela River and many outdoor recreation activities to offer. Who wouldn’t want to live here?
We have nine school districts in the 49th District, and there is a trout stream in every one of them. There are 19 sportsman/outdoor clubs that are extremely popular among residents. Every town has a local park, and many have multiple outdoor facilities. We’ve even begun the process to create biking and walking trails throughout the district.
Not only is our present and future great, but we have a rich history. The Whiskey Rebellion started right here in 1794. During that time, the U.S. government decided to raise money for the national debt by creating a liquor tax. Distilleries refused to pay and attacked federal revenue officers who attempted to collect.
There are many things we do not have in Southwestern PA; however, we need to embrace the things we do have that make us unique. Those assets are what will draw families and businesses to our great area. It is my mission to lead our district in taking three actions: identifying our local assets, attractions and activities; creating action plans by county officials; and working as a community to promote Southwestern PA’s five-county area as a destination for tourists.
Four years ago, my office started to ask each town to identify the assets, attractions and activities that made them stand out. In the 49th District, there are 33 boroughs and townships, and the City of Monongahela. We have requested a contact point for each community to help us identify unique aspects of their area. A single community may not offer much, but as a district, we have a lot to be proud of that would label us a destination.
Also over the last four years, we have attempted to partner with leaders in Fayette and Washington counties. The Fayette County Commissioners have been a joy to work with – beneficial and productive meetings have taken place. It has been more of a challenge to work with the Washington County Commissioners as they have been reluctant to assist in our efforts since July 2017; however, we will not stop trying. We are still requesting that Washington County Commissioner Diana Irey Vaughan takes a meeting with the state representatives of Washington County to discuss travel and tourism plans and opportunities. I serve as secretary of the House Tourism and Recreational Development Committee, and I understand how implementing attraction plans can be successful.
The Speers/Belle Vernon Bridge is the heart of the 49th District, which includes parts of Fayette and Washington counties. But also connected are the counties of Westmoreland, Allegheny and Greene. These five counties make up Southwestern Pennsylvania and I want to lead the charge in getting us all to work together in making our area the place to be in PA.
I am committed to putting progress ahead of politics and encouraging leaders and constituents in my area to do the same. When working towards one goal, it is important to work together across geographic lines AND party lines – and that goal is attracting businesses and families to our area. After all, why not here?