Congressman Brian Fitzpatrick (R-PA District 1) delivered the “State of the Nation” talk in the third legislative series breakfast meeting, hosted by Upper Bucks Chamber of Commerce.
The annual event aims to bring business, education and local leaders together with elected government officials for updates about the economy, employment and workforce development and health and welfare from the local, state and national governmental perspectives.
“We appreciate commitment and attention to the issues affecting us locally, such as opioid epidemic, environmental and transportation issues,” said Danielle Bodnar, executive director.
About 50 area business and community members attended the event May 31 held at McCoole’s Arts & Events Place in Quakertown.
“We’re … delighted he spent the day visiting businesses and organizations in our communities,” Bodnar said.
Transportation and infrastructure, bi-partisan governance efforts, service term limits on law makers are among Fitzpatrick’s top priorities.
“George Washington is my favorite president … because he set the tone for two terms,” Fitzpatrick said.
Fitzpatrick spearheads a committee to adopt term limit caps for Congress. “If it’s the only bill I get passed … by believing in term limits we don’t care who checked what box on a voter registration application,” Fitzpatrick said.
Fitzpatrick said a pipeline for skilled trade career paths at the middle and high school levels was essential to offering good jobs in the future.
He also supports infrastructure improvements including roads, bridges and more public transportation, especially in areas like Upper Bucks County.
“Our rail service is what it is,” Fitzpatrick said, but by increasing affordable bus service jobs currently open could become filled.
He said in additional to lack of affordable public transit, high child care costs are often a stumbling block to those seeking employment.
According to the Pennsylvania Department of Labor and Industry website, Pennsylvania’s unemployment rate in March this year dropped to 3.9 percent, a record low since 1976.
“Nationwide our unemployment rate is about 3.6 percent,” Fitzpatrick said.
And while unemployment is among its lowest levels, he noted jobs often remain unfilled because of a skills gap or inability for applicants to pass a drug test.
He said about 4 percent GDP would allow for a balanced budget and economic growth – and currently GDP numbers fall short of 4 percent.