Pennsylvania Congressman Could Be House Ag Chairman After 2022 | News
MOUNT ALTON, Pa. — Rep. Glenn Thompson said he doesn’t want to get too hyped, but he admits he’s looking forward to the 2022 midterm elections and the potential swing in control of the state House United to the Republicans.
If that happens — and political forecasters say it’s a strong possibility — Thompson could wind up chair of the House Agriculture Committee, and the seven-term Republican is excited about what it could mean for Pennsylvania.
“It would make me Pennsylvania’s first Ag president in over 200 years,” Thompson, of Center County, told a group of nearly 20 voters who attended a town hall meeting Saturday at Bradford Regional Airport. . “There would be real opportunities” for the state in the new Congress.
Thompson, whose district includes McKean, Cameron and Elk counties, is up for re-election this year; he will be a big favorite for an eighth term.
He said his current position as a ranking Republican on the Ag committee has already proven beneficial, not least because of his focus on funding broadband for rural America.
In May 2021, Thompson introduced HR 3396, the Broadband Act for Rural America, to bridge the digital divide for communities nationwide. The bill became part of bipartisan HR 4374, the Broadband Internet Connections for Rural America Act, which invests $43.2 billion in USDA rural development programs by providing last-mile technical and financial assistance to rural communities seeking to improve their broadband service.
Thompson said the bill, passed in December, also increases the resources available to “build the middle mile,” providing grants to small, rural communities and providing funds to invest in remote learning capabilities and of telemedicine.
Thompson, a descendant of dairy farmers, said he wants to pursue agricultural initiatives that would benefit central and northern Pennsylvania, including animal husbandry and meat processing ideas that could help reduce costs for farmers. consumers and improve the supply chain.
He cited a business model implemented by a chain of regional grocery stores in Pennsylvania in which owners buy cattle to build their own herd, while contracting with farmers to raise and care for the herd on farms. of State. Some former dairy farmers, driven out of the dairy industry due to low prices, joined the initiative, giving them the opportunity to continue farming on their own land.
Meanwhile, Thompson cited a program started in Jefferson County that provides meat processing resources and training. An increased ability to process meat, coupled with an increase in cattle ranching in Pennsylvania, would make the state less dependent on production from the American West, he said.
“It’s food security, which is a real issue,” Thompson said, agreeing with a constituent’s comment that the United States should work harder to become less dependent on food imported from abroad.
Prompt by a constituent’s comment, Thompson said he was concerned that too much of the state’s good farmland could be used for solar farms. This type of use, he said, is short-sighted.
“Solar has its place,” he said, “on buildings and other areas, but we have to be careful about how much arable land” is used for utility-scale solar developments.
Another agriculture-related issue Thompson discussed was his bill to establish funding for research into chronic wasting disease, which afflicts deer and elk – two species critical to the outdoor recreation industries and tourism in Pennsylvania. Thompson said the problem isn’t just with hunters — elk and deer are “worth millions” to the state, while deer farms in Pennsylvania that produce deer lure products are under attack from the MDC.
Other topics discussed by Thompson at the airport, which Thompson called a “jewel” for McKean County:
More work needs to be done in Harrisburg, but the congressman said “it looks good” to keep his 15th district intact with little to no significant changes.
In addition to McKean, Elk, and Cameron counties, the vast congressional district includes Warren, Forest, Venango, Clarion, Jefferson, Armstrong, Clearfield, and Indiana counties, most of Cambria and Central counties, and parts of County of Butler.
The former 5th congressional district, which Thompson served from 2009 to 2018, was redrawn for the 2018 election after a state Supreme Court ruling against gerrymandering.
Manufactured in China and USA
The congressman agreed with a constituent’s comment that the United States needs to make a concerted effort to “bring more industry” to our shores, calling it a national security issue.
Thompson cited pharmaceuticals and personal protective equipment, the latter of which were in such short supply at the start of the coronavirus pandemic, as good examples of the need for greater domestic production capacity.
As for computer microchips, which are so critical to manufacturing, Thompson said the United States maintains a good supply from Taiwan. But that island economy is under threat from China, which is increasingly aggressively claiming its right to own Taiwan.
The Biden Administration
Last week was “a terrible week” for President Joe Biden, Thompson said.
He was referring to a Supreme Court ruling that struck down the president’s mandate that all employees of private companies with at least 100 employees must be vaccinated against the coronavirus, and that the Democratic Party’s electoral reform package appeared “dead.” at the arrival”.
Specifically last week, Democratic Senator Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona said she would not support changing Senate filibuster rules to pave the way for legislation that would lead to more federal scrutiny of elections. .
West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin, also a Democrat, was also ill-disposed toward a filibuster change in the tightly divided Senate.
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