As we all know, investments in infrastructure result in job creation across the board. From direct employment on public works to the manufacturing of the provisions needed to complete the work, employment opportunities abound if infrastructure investment is managed properly.
With unemployment in Pennsylvania now at 8.3 percent and the national economy recovering slowly, we must do all that we can to put people to work immediately. Investing significant dollars in rebuilding our infrastructure is a meaningful way to ignite economic development and reverse a sagging economy.
My Senate Democratic colleagues and I understand that the top priority in many households right now is finding long-term, family sustaining employment. More than a half-million Pennsylvania workers are unemployed. The numbers will only get worse if we fail to act.
It is time to refocus our priorities and do what is right for Pennsylvania’s families, our economy and future.
Pennsylvania is hurting. Putting people back to work should be our number one priority and we have the tools and resources to do that right now.
Senator Hughes and his wife, Sheryl Lee Ralph, have long been advocates for increasing awareness of the HIV/AIDS epidemic throughout communities in Pennsylvania. He has worked tirelessly with the Pennsylvania Department of Health to increase significantly the funding for HIV prevention, testing and education. Hughes has been a tireless activist for HIV/AIDS testing and this issue remains at the forefront of his work in Pennsylvania.
Health Care in Pennsylvania
Health care has been the single most important domestic issue in America. In March 2010, the U.S. Congress passed the Affordable Health Care Act. The measure, suggested by President Barack Obama, was then signed into law. The Affordable Health Care Act drastically overhauls and improves health care in America. It provides better health security, lowers health care costs, guarantees more choice, and enhances the quality of care for all Americans.
Health care is an economic and a personal issue. It’s an economic issue because health care inflation has strangled productivity and used key resources that could have been reinvested.
It is a personal issue because as economic instability continues, more Americans spend a greater portion of their family budgets on health care. As employers grapple with the high cost of health insurance and drop health care from employee benefit packages or, alternatively, as Americans lose jobs families will begin looking at alternatives to supplement gaps in their care. As a result, health care insurance will become increasingly important. Thus, passing substantive health care legislation that is affordable, equitable, and fiscally sound will be imperative.
Each year, approximately 80,000 Pennsylvanians are victims of domestic violence. In 2010, 169 victims of domestic violence in Pennsylvania lost their lives. Pennsylvania lost 1,532 women, men and children to domestic violence between 2001 and 2010. Hughes recognizes that it is time to end the growing number of senseless deaths of women and children. He is a strong advocate for legislation that would focus attention on the problem of domestic violence plaguing the nation. He encourages doctors, health care professionals and the community to be more aware of the crime of domestic abuse, which remains a largely undetected and unreported crime.
Several years ago, I, along with my colleagues in the Senate Philadelphia Delegation provided the School District of Philadelphia with $2 million in state grant funds to bolster school dropout prevention efforts.
Specifically, the Department of Education monies were targeted two strategic priorities. The first addressed dropout recovery in seven of the largest neighborhood high schools that suffer from high dropout rates. This group is comprised of Bartram, Frankford, George Washington, Martin Luther King, Gratz, Overbrook, and University City high schools.
A middle grades dropout prevention plan represented the second priority. It involved instituting the Middle Grades Acceleration Program (MGAP) in all 11 regions of the city to offer added assistance to at-risk middle grades students and the teachers who are dedicated to addressing their needs.