Simmons Hosts Majority Policy Committee Discussion Centered on Addressing Poverty in the Lehigh Valley
ALLENTOWN – State Rep. Justin Simmons (R-Lehigh/Northampton) on Thursday joined members of the House Majority Policy Committee in a discussion concerning poverty in the Allentown area. The discussion was a part of a larger committee effort, “Empowering Opportunities: Gateways Out of Poverty,” which seeks to identify challenges to families across Pennsylvania which prevent them from rising out of poverty.

“Here in Pennsylvania, we pour money into programs aimed at allowing people to rise out of poverty, yet 12 percent of our state’s residents still live below the poverty line and in Allentown, that figure is around 25 percent,” Simmons said. “This initiative is aimed at determining how we can use that funding more effectively and finding ways to help us more successfully transition families out of poverty.”

A variety of local groups attended the roundtable discussion, with conversation on a wide variety of topics connected to poverty. Topics included ways to influence the region’s youth, the promotion of community economic development and entrepreneurial efforts, and connecting underemployment and unemployed people with good employment opportunities.

“As we’ve traveled from corner to corner of the commonwealth, we’ve found a number of barriers preventing folks from breaking the cycle of poverty,” said Majority Policy Committee Chairman Dave Reed (R-Indiana). “Some common trends exist throughout all communities; other communities face their own unique circumstances.”

Participants in the roundtable discussion included organizations from both Lehigh and Northampton counties. Several legislators were also in attendance, including Rep. Rosemary M. Brown (R-Monroe/Pike), Rep. Julie Harhart (R-Lehigh/Northampton), Rep. Ryan Mackenzie (R-Berks/Lehigh) and Rep. Doyle Heffley (R-Carbon). A representative of Rep. Mike Schlossberg (D-Lehigh) also attended the event.

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Representative Justin Simmons
131st District
Pennsylvania House of Representatives

Media Contact: Nick Ruffner
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