Congressman Joe Sestak hosted another of his valuable summits for constituents Saturday. I was traveling to Maine so I missed this one but his earnest staff sent a wrap up.
Media, Pa – To provide constituents with the proper information and tools to compete in the workforce and care for themselves and their families, Congressman Joe Sestak (PA-07) hosted his first Working Families Resources Summit today at Interboro High School. The Congressman, recognizing the increasing burden being placed on families across his District, organized the summit to network constituents with government agencies and private organizations. More than 300 residents from across the region attended the event where government agencies at all levels were integrated with non-profit organizations to offer access to assistance with housing, student loans, employment, health care, disability aid and other existing support. (A full listing of panelists and exhibitors is attached.)
“As the result of our Nation’s extraordinary economic recession, I have seen families throughout the Seventh Congressional District struggle across three generations to cope with historically high unemployment, record foreclosure rates, loss of pension plans, devalued homes, rising costs of education, expensive health care, and the ever-present threat of increased energy prices,” said the Congressman. “It is time that both citizens and government representatives take action to jump-start this economy, and, to that end, I am committed to networking the many organizations in our region that are chartered to help Americans weather difficult times.”
The Summit kicked off with the recognition of a young man’s exceptional service to the community. The Congressman commended 12-year-old Jordan Glider’s work with the Philadelphia Veteran’s Multi-Service and Education Center (PVMSEC) to provide necessary meals to Veterans in the Philadelphia area for the past three years by raising $2,500. A Certificate of Special Congressional Recognition presented to Jordan honored his efforts for having “brought our community closer to fulfilling its sacred duty of defending and caring for those who have so honorably stood in harms way for our Nation.”
After recognizing this individual’s outstanding work, a panel discussion led by eight industry experts began, including representatives from Legal Aid, the Social Security Administration, and the Pennsylvania Housing Finance Agency. In addition, Congressman Sestak welcomed specialists from various private service organizations, including William J. Clark of Philabundance Food Bank and Carol Goertzel of Pathways PA, a group aimed to help women, children and families fight homelessness and become financially independent. These experts discussed a variety of issues ranging from receiving mortgage assistance to paying for higher education and affording health care, and then fielded questions from the audience.
“I have always believed that transparency and communication are the foundation of being a successful representative,” said Congressman Sestak. “Along with the casework of my District Office and my legislative efforts, I wanted to organize a forum where I could discuss issues directly with my constituents,” said the Congressman. “I am appreciative of the information and counsel provided by the panelists and the exhibitors at the service fair. Our country finds itself in its worst economic crisis since the Great Depression, and only through the integration of individuals, representatives and private and government organizations will we be able to transition into a successful, sustainable 21st century economy.”
After speaking with the panelists, attendees were invited to a service fair where more than 50 agencies gathered to share resources. Constituents were able to connect with organizations such as the U.S. Small Business Administration and Job Corps. Housing issues were a prevalent topic of the day, and specialists from the Fair Housing Rights Center, Home Helpers, and Pathways PA answered questions. In the academic arena, representatives from the Delaware Valley Literacy Council, the Graduate! Philadelphia Center, and the Chester Education Foundation discussed higher education and job training opportunities. To address healthcare concerns, experts such as Diane Perry of the Temple University Institute on Disabilities, representatives from Ches-Penn Health Services and Brent Ennis, Southeastern PA Regional Director of the Pennsylvania Department of health participated.
Born and raised in Delaware County, former 3-star Admiral Joe Sestak served in the Navy for 31 years and now serves as the Representative from the 7th District of Pennsylvania. He led a series of operational commands at sea, including Commander of an aircraft carrier battle group of 30 U.S. and allied ships with over 15,000 sailors and 100 aircraft that conducted operations in Afghanistan and Iraq. After 9/11, Joe was the first Director of “Deep Blue,” the Navy’s anti-terrorism unit that established strategic and operations policies for the “Global War on Terrorism.” He served as President Clinton’s Director for Defense Policy at the National Security Council in the White House, and holds a Ph.D. in Political Economy and Government from Harvard University. According to the office of the House Historian, Joe is the highest-ranking former military officer ever elected to the U.S. House of Representatives.
To give an idea of the thoroughness of the preparation he and his staff go through there’s list of panelists and participants after the jump.
Congressman Joe Sestak
Ms. Cheryl Browning , Regional Director, PA Higher Education Assistance Agency
Mr. William J. Clark , Executive Director, Philabundance
Mr. Brent Ennis, Southeastern PA Regional Director, PA Department of Health
Mr. Jim Daugherty, Pennsylvania Territory Manager, Internal Revenue Service
Ms. Carol Goertzel , Executive Director and CEO, Pathways PA
Ms. Patricia Hasson , Consumer Credit Counseling Services of Delaware Valley
Ms. Barbara Stephens, Public Affairs Officer, Pennsylvania Housing Finance Agency
Ms. Laurie Watkins, Regional Commissioner, Social Security Administration
Service Fair Exhibitors:
Carelink Community Support Services
Center for Advocacy for the Rights and Interests of the Elderly (CARIE)
Ches-Penn Health Services
Chester Education Foundation
Community Impact Legal Services
Community Transit of Delaware County, Inc.
Congressman Sestak’s District Office
Consumer Credit Counseling Services of Delaware Valley (CCCVSDV)
Crozer-Keystone Health System
Delaware County Community Engagement
Delaware County Library System
Delaware County Literacy Council
Department of Education
Department of Public Welfare, Delaware County Assistance Office
Domestic Abuse Project of Delaware County, Inc.
Education Law Center
Elwyn Working Adult Day Services
Fair Acres Geriatric Center
Fair Housing Council of Suburban Philadelphia (FHCSP)
Fair Housing Rights Center
Family Community Services of Delaware County
Find a Nerd
Freedom Valley Disability Center
Graduate! Philadelphia Center
Great Guy Group
HIAS and Council
Holcomb Behavior Health System
JEVS Supports For Independence
Legal Aid of Southeastern Pennsylvania
Loaves and Fishes Food Pantry
Mid-County Senior Services
Not to Be Forgotten
PA AG- Health Care Section
PA Veterans of Foreign Wars
Pennsylvania Higher Education Assistance Agency
Philadelphia Energy Company (PECO)
Philadelphia Citizens for Children and Youth
Philadelphia Veterans Multi-Service and Education Center, Inc.
Pulse of PA
Recording for the Blind and Dyslexic
Salvation Army of Chester
Social Security Administration
Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority (SEPTA)
Temple University, Institute on Disabilities
The ARC of Delaware County
Today’s Child Learning Centers, Inc.
U.S. Small Business Administration
University of Pennsylvania TRIO Veterans Upward Bound
Welcoming Center for New Pennsylvanians
Women’s Resource Center of the Delaware Valley
Workforce Entry Center