Heart of Harrisburg serves as home to Fetterman’s new office

U.S. Senator John Fetterman announced Wednesday the opening of his regional office in Harrisburg. 

The office is housed on the fourth floor of the Strawberry Square complex and along with his Philadelphia office, is the senator’s second open in-state office location. 

“I am proud to share we opened our Harrisburg office last week,” Fetterman said in a statement. “As Lieutenant Governor, I spent significant time in our state capitol working to deliver for the people of Pennsylvania. I am pleased to continue that work as Senator by providing top-notch constituent services throughout Central Pennsylvania.” 

The coming weeks and months are expected to see additional offices opening across the state. The openings will span communities and regions. 

Visitors are instructed to enter via the Market Street entrance for Strawberry Square. Once inside the mall, visitors will pass the convenience store on their right and can use the next set of doors on the right for the Lerner Tower elevators. Visitors can then take the elevator to the fourth floor and follow the sign for the Senate office. 

The senator’s office will include statewide constituent service headquarters and outreach offices for counties located in the center part of the state.  Enhanced signage to improve ease of constituent access is being planned. 

Billing itself as “the heart of Pennsylvania’s capital city,” Strawberry Square is a commercial and residential complex that serves as home to apartments, businesses, eateries, offices, and shops.  

Late last month the complex announced that Unleashed Grooming Company will be joining its lineup of business, which includes Rite Aid, T Mobile, Freshido and more.

Pa. business, education leaders look forward to cooperation with Shapiro, Fetterman

Praise for the winners and optimistic glances to the future figured in the fallout from last week’s victories by Josh Shapiro in the Pennsylvania gubernatorial race and John Fetterman for a seat in the U.S. Senate. 

Pennsylvania Chamber of Business and Industry President and CEO Luke Bernstein and Pennsylvania State Education Association (PSEA) president Rich Askey extended congratulations and extolled the virtues of both men in the aftermath of the Midterm elections. 

“The PA Chamber congratulates Governor-Elect Josh Shapiro, Senator-Elect John Fetterman, and all candidates elected to serve Pennsylvania at the state and federal levels,” Bernstein said in a statement. “We look forward to working together to move Pennsylvania and our nation forward. This election featured spirited contests across the Commonwealth, with law passionate supporters advocating for their cause and preferred candidates.” 

Bernstein said that while Harrisburg has a divided government, Democrats and Republicans have demonstrated a willingness to cross the aisle for a common good. 

“We proved through the recent Corporate Net Income tax reduction and other bipartisan initiatives, that Republicans and Democrats can come together and tackle big issues. The PA Chamber looks forward to leading the way to foster that spirit of working together.” 

Askey offered his congratulations to Shapiro and Fetterman on behalf of the 177,000 educators he represents as PSEA’s president and in a statement, pledged “to work with them to make Pennsylvania’s public schools the very best that they can be.” 

He noted that the Gov.-elect has long supported public education and Pennsylvania students. “We look forward to working with him and the Legislature to ensure our students continue to have the tools they need to succeed.” 

“Just as important, we know that John Fetterman will be a strong voice for public education in the U.S. Senate and will advocate for federal support for programs that work for our public school students and the educators and support professionals who teach and serve them.” 

Askey said that addressing crisis-level staffing shortages in Pennsylvania’s public schools is a major issue awaiting the new governor. He added that Shapiro has shown himself to be “committed to continued investments in education and to working in partnership with educators, school teachers, and families to identify strategies to recruit and retain a new generation of teachers and support professionals.” 

Shapiro’s strong showing on Election Day makes it clear, Askey remarked, that Pennsylvanians are not interested in cutting billions of dollars in public school funding and redirecting it to voucher schemes. He stated that such ideas would dismantle public schools in their communities. 

“Shapiro is very focused on ideas that work in public education,” said Askey. “Throughout the campaign, Shapiro has promised to reduce the time students spend on standardized tests, keep our schools safe, and expand access to vocational, technical, and computer training as well as other academic and extracurricular activities.” 

Many students are struggling with mental and emotional health issues and Shapiro recognizes that, Askey noted. Shapiro is expected to take measures so that every Pennsylvania school has at least one mental health professional so that children and youths needing help can obtain it.

Q&A: John Fetterman, Pennsylvania Lieutenant Governor

Pa. Lt. Gov. John Fetterman


John Fetterman is currently serving as lieutenant governor of the State of Pennsylvania. He is also running as a Democrat for the U.S. Senate. He has been a longtime supporter of legalized recreational adult-use marijuana.

CPBJ: You have been a very vocal advocate for the legalization of recreational adult-use marijuana. How did you get started with the issue?

Fetterman: It started when I was a small town mayor working with young people. These silly charges would hold these kids back. It was just ridiculous and enforcement was vastly disproportionate on Black and brown people. Criminality associated with marijuana would not happen if it was legal. No one knocks over a convenience store for a six-pack of beer.

CPBJ: What are your personal feeling on marijuana?

Fetterman: Personally, I do not use marijuana and I wouldn’t even if it was legal. This is just a plant and it should be in the same basket as tobacco or alcohol. No one has ever died from a [marijuana] overdose. Prohibition just doesn’t make sense.

CPBJ: What has been the impact of medical marijuana, which is already legal in the state?

Fetterman: It’s approaching $1 billion in sales and I can tell you about the testimony of people who’ve used it and say it’s saved their life and allowed them to get back to normal. Just think of the people on chemo alone and it’s so many things.

Medical marijuana has proven to be an incredible success and I’m reaching out to people urging them to help us remove that last legal barrier for marijuana.

CPBJ: What do you expect the fiscal impact of legal recreational adult-use marijuana to have on the state?

Fetterman: We’re conservatively estimating that it could bring in $5 billion dollars over the next 20 years, estimating about $250 million in revenue a year. Can you imagine what Pennsylvania could do with that money that’s now going to cartels and dealers?

Make no mistake about it. Soon you’re going to be able to go to New Jersey and go to New York and buy as much legal weed as you want. That’s millions of dollars that Pennsylvania will be missing out on.

Look at what it’s done for states’ budgets in places that have legalization, like Oregon or California or Colorado. Even South Dakota has approved legalization. What are we doing here in Pennsylvania?

CPBJ: With the expenses that Pennsylvania has had over the past year coping with the COVID-19 pandemic, the state needs money more than ever. Do you think that will nudge legislators who may have been sitting on the fence?

Fetterman: Honestly, I don’t know. What we do between now and when we are able to make it legal is important. We already have our first Republican senator sponsoring marijuana legalization legislation — state Sen. Dan Laughlin, R-Erie. That’s a step. Besides, prohibition is so much harder and more expensive. We could fill Beaver Stadium every five years with people arrested for marijuana. Think of that expense.

I think I want to see some of these [legislators] say ‘Hey, I’ve evolved. Let’s legalize this and help bring millions of dollars into the state.

State directs race, ethnicity data be included with COVID-19 test results

Pennsylvania’s Health Disparity Task Force is calling for health care organizations to include race and ethnicity data when reporting COVID-19 test results to the state. The task force, formally announced on April 15, is designed to foster health care equality for minorities.

In a call with reporters, Gov. Tom Wolf said state Health Secretary Dr. Rachel Levine mandated that racial and ethnic demographics be included in COVID-19 test results, but 69% of race data is still unreported and there is little to no data when it comes to ethnicity.

“One of the problems we have is that we have heard how COVID-19 is hitting minority populations, in particular African-Americans, hardest across the United States and anecdotally in Pennsylvania, but we lack the statistics needed to determine the severity of this issue here,” Wolf said

Lt. Gov. John Fetterman, who organized the task force with Gov. Wolf, said the task force has held three meetings since its formal announcement on April 15.“Our biggest concerns heard from these communities are improving data collection and increasing access to free testing,” Fetterman said.