By Allie Kutz
PACB Director of Government Relations
The new legislative session brings fresh opportunities to advance the priorities of Pennsylvania’s community banks. In the last month, we welcomed not only the Shapiro-Davis Administration in the executive branch, but also a historically large freshman class of state legislators—52 new representatives, six new senators. In the 118th Congress, we are joined by 82 new lawmakers from across the country—75 in the House, seven in the Senate.
Here at PACB, we begin a new chapter as well. I am proud to step into the role of PACB’s new director of government relations. I look forward to representing your concerns and priorities in Harrisburg and Washington, D.C.
As a former legislative director working in the state Capitol, I can share with you that PACB has a strong reputation throughout the halls of that building. That positive reputation was earned by the association and its professional staff for always being visible and providing timely, factual information to policymakers and staff. The proof is in the results. Several new laws were enacted over the last couple of sessions to help make the industry and Pennsylvania more competitive.
This new year also brings with it a host of opportunities. As we digest Governor Shapiro’s first budget address on March 7, new legislators on both sides of the aisle already have brought to Harrisburg a culture change to the status quo. Republicans maintain their majority in the Pennsylvania Senate, led by the first woman President Pro Tempore, Senator Kim Ward (R-Westmoreland). After the resignation of Speaker Mark Rozzi (D-Berks), the Democratic House majority elected Speaker Joanna McClinton (D-Philadelphia), the first African-American woman to serve on the rostrum. Lieutenant Governor Austin Davis is also the first African American to hold the office.
While the association enjoys a strong working relationship with legislative leaders, PACB will prioritize its outreach to Pennsylvania’s newest legislators. We ask for your help.
These new elected officials all have a strong desire to make a positive impact in their communities—so do we! With nearly 1-in-4 lawmakers serving for the first time, PACB has a unique opportunity to make a significant impact on the legislative bodies by developing good working relationships, showing these new legislators that we also share their same goals to strengthen our communities, and offering to help these new lawmakers understand how they can work together with local community banks to build strong local economies and support the local communities.
We invite you to join our efforts to introduce these new lawmakers to community banks serving their districts, and advance our policy priorities in a bipartisan manner. There is a real opportunity to work with the Shapiro Administration and state Legislature on common priorities such as combating elder financial exploitation and establishing meaningful financial literacy standards in our public schools. As well, the new year presents an opportunity to promote consistent and competitive tax-code changes to promote growth for our industry. We look forward to working with you to advocate for commonsense policies which serve to empower your efforts to make a positive impact within your communities.
As we navigate changing landscapes in both Harrisburg and Washington, I look forward to meeting you and hearing about what matters to you. It is an honor to be your voice in the public policy world, and I look forward to all that we will achieve together.