A local state senator shared his thoughts on the state budget and legislative redistricting during Tuesday's joint luncheon between two area chamber of commerces.
State Sen. David Argall (R-29) served as guest speaker for the event, hosted by the Greater Northern Lehigh Chamber of Commerce and Palmerton Area Chamber of Commerce at Neff's the Other Side Restaurant.
After giving an opening welcome, Kevin Schmidt, president of the Greater Northern Lehigh Chamber of Commerce, introduced Peter Kern, president of the Palmerton Area Chamber of Commerce.
Kern then introduced Tony Iannelli, president and Chief Executive Officer.
Iannelli said the area will miss Argall, who had served both the Palmerton and Northern Lehigh areas.
"He's been a great champion of business," Iannelli said. "We will miss you a great deal."
Argall, who represents all of Schuylkill County, as well as portions of Carbon, Lehigh, and Berks counties, discussed a number of issues in Harrisburg impacting the region.
He said the governor is "trying to produce a balanced budget."
"The governor had a choice; he could either cut spending, or increase taxes," Argall said. "We were able to pass our first budget on time in eight years."
Argall then shifted the conversation to legislative redistricting, which he said is required by the Constitution to occur every 10 years.
"We need to redraw the lines due to a major population growth in the Poconos," he said. "There are enough people to create a brand new district."
The redistricting moves Summit Hill from the 122nd to the 124th Legislative District. Their new representative will be Rep. Jerry Knowles of Tamaqua.
The same state Reapportionment Plan moves Palmerton, Lower Towamensing Township, and parts of Monroe County to a new senatorial district.
Argall's new area will no longer include Palmerton and the Poconos, which was also served by the late Sen. James Rhoades.
As a result, Argall said state Sen. John Yudichak (D-Luzerne) will move into his place.
"As long as people can work together and not argue about the nasty stuff,there should be able to be a smooth transition," he said. "At the end of the day, it's about jobs, jobs, jobs."
A brief question and answer session followed.
In other business, the chambers:
Ÿ Announced the GNLCC will host its "PennDOT Project Update" Feb. 7 at Neffs Hotel Other Side Restaurant, Neffs. Doors open at 11:30 a.m., followed by lunch at noon.
Ÿ Announced the GNLCC will host "Funding Their Future: The cost of education; how do we pay for it?", Greater Northern, LeBEAM & Northampton joint breakfast on March 6, in the Northern Lehigh Middle School Annex Room, 600 Diamond Street, Slatington. Doors open at 7 a.m., followed by a breakfast program at 7:30 a.m.
Ÿ Announced the PACC will hold its next luncheon on Feb. 14 at Bert's Steakhouse & Restaurant, Palmerton. Lunch is served at noon.