HARRISBURG, Pa. - Hours after ringing in the New Year, lawmakers filled the Pennsylvania State Capitol to be sworn in for the 2019 legislative session. While there were many familiar faces on the House Floor, the New Year also brought many newcomers.
"I'm really excited to get started to work," said State Rep. Barb Gleim, (R) Cumberland County.
State Representatives Barb Gleim, Andrew Lewis, Torren Ecker, and Mike Jones, all republican, are the new faces joining the House from parts of Central Pennsylvania. Much like the first day of school, these lawmakers found their seats on the House floor and took plenty of pictures with family members, but it wasn't long before it was down to business.
State Representatives who spoke with FOX43 say a main priority this year is workforce development.
"There's tons of jobs out there we can't fill," said State Rep. Torren Ecker, (R) parts of Adams and Cumberland Counties. "I'm talking trades, welders, things that people can come out of high school and get a good paying job and not have a bunch of school debt."
"Some of the funding that we are putting toward traditional college, I would like to see shifted to technical education," said State Rep. Mike Jones, (R) York County. I'm not anti-college but we are sending too many kids to college."
A big topics of discussion last session was raising minimum wage which at this point, among these newcomers, does not appear to be a priority.
"I would like to have capitalism take it's part," said State Rep. Gleim. "And hopefully with an increase in jobs and a need for jobs the businesses will just have to pay more because they need the workers."
There were also talks among newcomers about term limits and lowering property taxes.