This week, the Pennsylvania Democratic Party hosted two virtual events in the leadup to the Biden Administration’s 100 day milestone featuring Pennsylvania Democratic Party Chairwoman Nancy Patton Mills, U.S. Senator Bob Casey, U.S. Congresswoman Susan Wild and Somerset Commissioner Pam Tokar-Ickesres as well as local business owners and education leaders from across the state. After just 100 days of President Biden’s leadership, speakers highlighted the tangible feeling of hope in their communities thanks to his success combatting the COVID-19 pandemic and the passage of his American Rescue Plan.
See below for local coverage:
The Indiana Gazette: DeLoreto joins Casey for “Back on Track” event marking Biden’s first 100 days[Patrick Cloonan, 04/29/21]
An Indiana restaurateur joined U.S. Sen. Bob Casey, D-Scranton, and other notables from across Western Pennsylvania for a Wednesday virtual press conference highlighting President Joe Biden’s first 100 days in office.
“They reached out and asked me (Tuesday) if I would participate in the conference call,” Spaghetti Benders owner Tony DeLoreto said.
He was invited by the Pennsylvania Democratic Party to join Casey, Somerset County Commissioner Pamela Tokar-Ickes, Greene County teacher and Pennsylvania State Education Association Southwestern Region President Melissa Grant, and Millvale café owner Jenn Saffron for a “Back on Track” event.
Casey said Biden delivered on promises that included the American Rescue Plan passed by Congress on March 10 and signed by the president a day later.
“Every Republican voted against this bill,” Casey said. “They also voted against a lot of our communities in Pennsylvania,” specifically including Indiana County.
“On the Rescue Plan, there is a big goose egg,” Casey said of the lack of GOP support. “Republicans have another chance, there’s a jobs plan coming up, and a families plan,” referring to two other Biden proposals now before Congress.
“I hope our Republican friends will join us,” Casey went on, challenging them to support “not just physical infrastructure … but how about our care-giving infrastructure?”
The PPP effort was expanded by $7.25 billion under the American Rescue Plan. DeLoreto was able to draw on PPP, saying for each loan he received he gave his employees raises.
“As important as the money from the PPP loan was, it gave us peace of mind,” the Spaghetti Benders owner said. “It is hard to comprehend how stressful it could have been for many restaurant owners across the state and across the nation.”
Daily American: Tokar-Ickes invited to speak at Casey conference[Eric Kieta, 04/29/20]
Somerset County Commissioner Pam Tokar-Ickes spoke Wednesday ahead of the president’s speech during a video conference along with Pennsylvania Sen. Bob Casey.
Tokar-Ickes said the American Rescue Plan is the largest infusion of federal money that the county has ever received.
“Thanks to the Biden administration and the unilateral support of our Democratic federal officials in the Senate and House, counties throughout our nation truly have the opportunity to make generational investments to benefit our families and the communities in which they live,” she said as she read from a prepared statement. “Investments in real people — families that know not only the importance of a day’s work, but the necessity of more than one paycheck.”
She said that locally the money will be used on infrastructure improvements.
“In Somerset County, we are planning to use the funds from the American Rescue Plan to make investments to ensure clean and available water, and to map local municipal water and sewage systems throughout the county to plan the county’s future growth,” she said. “We are aligned to work regionally with our partners in a broadband consortium to leverage private sector dollars and providers to expand the availability of high-speed services to our homes, businesses and schools. Our families will benefit.”
From the Pennsylvania Capital-Star: People ‘feel like life is worth living again’: Pa. biz owners look to promises, challenges post-pandemic
Last spring, as the nation went into lockdown and scores of businesses closed their doors, Jim Johnson found himself asking the same questions as many of his fellow entrepreneurs: Would his business survive an economic meltdown and a public health crisis with no known end? And if it did, what would life look like on the other side?
“I told my wife, who is my partner, I don’t think we’re going to make it,” he said. “It was scary for us.”
A year later, Johnson, who runs the Kula Children’s Center in Allentown, has his answer: He’s gone from two locations to one. And a client base that once numbered more than 100 children dipped to a pandemic low of about 20. Now, he says, he’s built back to 58 children. And while he laments the loss of one location, he’s still grateful to be in business.
“We took a hit, but because of [Paycheck Protection Program] funding, we were allowed to stay in business, and now we’re growing again,” Johnson said during a Tuesday conference call organized by Pennsylvania Democrats reflecting on President Joe Biden’s first 100 days in office.
During the pandemic, Johnson said he was getting calls from anxious parents asking about how he was dealing with the virus. Now, “people are calling asking about our programs, which is telling me that they’re relaxed more and they’re happy because they can go back to work. They’re feeling like life is worth living again.”
Lehigh Valley WLVR: Local politicians react to Biden’s first 100 days[Genesis Ortega, 04/29/20]
Pennsylvania Democrats held a virtual press conference on April 28 to celebrate President Joe Biden’s first 100 days in office in which he followed through on a campaign promise to pass a COVID relief bill.
U.S. Congresswoman Susan Wild (D-Lehigh) says the country is “back on track” because of Democrats and Biden’s COVID relief plan.
“In the first 100 days of this presidency, Democrats passed the most consequential piece of legislation for working families in modern American history. It’s made a real difference in the lives of Americans by creating jobs and providing economic relief,” Wild says.
Wild was critical of her Republican colleagues, none of whom voted for the legislation.
See below for tweets from the event: