State Sen. David Argall has long worked to make Pennsylvania’s communities better places to live, and he gained a position on Wednesday that should enable him to continue to do so.
Beginning Jan. 1, 2013, Argall, R-29, will serve as chairman of the state Senate Urban Affairs and Housing Committee.
“This is something near and dear to my heart,” Argall, a Rush Township Republican who was re-elected to a four year term Nov. 6, said Wednesday of the chairmanship of the 10-member committee, which will have six Republicans and four Democrats when he takes the helm.
Senate President Pro Tempore Joseph B. Scarnati, R-25, a Jefferson County Republican and former lieutenant governor, appointed Argall to the chairmanship.
“His extensive experience working on issues related to urban blight and community revitalization will be a tremendous asset in leading this important committee in the next legislative session,” Scarnati said of Argall, who will succeed Lycoming County state Sen. E. Eugene Yaw, R-23.
Argall said his main goal will be to encourage job and economic development across Pennsylvania’s 67 counties.
“We will take a proactive approach to seek ways to revitalize our downtowns and our neighborhoods to encourage job growth in communities large and small,” he said.
He said he will use examples from Schuylkill County such as the Tamaqua Area 2004 Partnership and the Upper Schuylkill regional development effort.
Argall, who has served as vice chairman of the committee this year, said he has devoted much of his legislative time to boosting measures to improve cities and towns across his district and the state. He said he sought the committee chairmanship in order to advance those goals.
“It’s just so closely tied to the issues I’ve been working on,” he said
Those issues include blight and revitalization, which he pushed in The Neighborhood Blight Reclamation and Revitalization Act. The law, which went into effect in 2011, allows municipalities to take legal action against owners of deteriorating and nuisance properties.
“My goal is to find a solution to this problem affecting our state,” Argall said of that law, which he sponsored.
He said he will examine all aspects of the state’s policies on urban blight and other issues.
“I want to look at what some of our current programs are to see what’s working and what isn’t,” Argall said.