HARRISBURG – Senator Ryan Aument (R-Landisville) today helped open the 201st legislative session of the Pennsylvania General Assembly by informing the House of Representatives that the Senate convened and organized pursuant to the Constitution of Pennsylvania and that the chamber was prepared to do business for the 2017-18 legislative session.
“While my participation in today’s legislative events was ceremonial, tomorrow we must begin the hard work of governing Pennsylvania so that all people, regardless of their station in life, have an opportunity to experience earned success,” said Aument. “Given the extraordinary fiscal and other challenges our Commonwealth is facing, we don’t have time or money to waste.”
Senator Aument cited several high profile issues that must be addressed in the new legislative session, including the anemic growth of Pennsylvania’s overall economy and $60 billion public sector pension crisis that has crippled both state and school districts budgets.
“Our young people are leaving for more opportunity in other states, which is further exacerbating an underperforming economy,” said the Senator. “The General Assembly must promote policies that reverse this trend, which I believe we can accomplish if we capitalize on Pennsylvania’s strongest economic and educational assets and find ways to strengthen families and communities.”
The Senator also said he has been canvassing the people of the 36th Senatorial District to determine what they believe should be the priorities for the General Assembly should be in 2017-18.
“The people who have reached out to me or responded to my surveys have overwhelming agreed that the regressive and archaic property tax system must be either reformed or eliminated altogether,” said Aument “While there were several attempts to address this historic issue last session, they failed, and failure is no longer an option.”
In addition to the property tax issue, Senator Aument noted that he would continue to advocate for other reforms, including changes to public sector collective bargaining proceedings, the establishment of an independent waste, fraud and abuse watchdog for the state, and changes to Pennsylvania’s budget process which he introduced following the Commonwealth’s inability to enact a budget in 2015.
Citing a string of high profile convictions of elected officials, such as former Attorney General Kathleen Kane, State Treasurer Rob McCord and several lawmakers who took bribes while in office, Aument also indicated that he is actively researching ways to further promote integrity in public service.
“I also intend to take a very serious look at how best we could deal with the seemingly endless procession of public officials who have engaged in unethical or unlawful behavior while in office,” said Aument. “If we want the public to believe in us, we need systems of accountability that produce that result.”
For the 2017-18 legislative session, Senator Aument will continue to chair the Senate’s Communication and Technology Committee. While specific committee assignments have not been announced yet, Aument will request to remain a member of the Senate’s Education, Agriculture and Rural Affairs, Finance and Veteran’s Affairs and Emergency Preparedness Committees.
“My goal is to be as effective as I can be for the people I represent in Lancaster County,” said Sen. Aument.
Senator Aument also noted that his friend and colleague, Scott Martin was sworn into office today to represent the 13th Senatorial District, which is also situated in Lancaster County.
“I greatly look forward to working with Senator Martin who will be a tremendous asset to help make Lancaster County and Pennsylvania a great place to live, work and raise a family. His many years of experience in public service, coupled with his enthusiasm and ability to think outside the box to solve problems will be extremely valuable as we navigate the challenges we face,” said Aument.
“The time has come for elected leaders to think big and not be afraid to challenge government programs, systems and organizations which have historically resisted change,” said Sen. Aument. “Today is the day.”
CONTACT: Jake Smeltz, (717) 787-4420