Rep. Kinkead looks back at her first year in office
Photo: Office of Rep. Kinkead
At the end of November, my first term as a state representative will officially be over. And what a first term it has been! From navigating the challenges of a global pandemic to responding to the overturning of Roe v. Wade, the dull moments of the 2021-22 legislative session were few and far between to say the least.
Despite the difficulties of working within a state legislature that is and has been controlled by a Republican majority for nearly three decades, I’m proud of what my colleagues and I were able to achieve over the last two years.
Perhaps the biggest highlight from my first term is the passage of the 2022-23 state budget, which started a Pennsylvania child care tax credit program, invested $250 million in the construction of more affordable housing and provided a historic increase of approximately $54.7 million in funding for public schools in Allegheny County. Additionally, every school district in Pennsylvania will receive $100,000 plus $15 per student for mental health initiatives, and $100,000 plus $15 per student for school safety resources. These investments in our public schools will help ensure that our future leaders receive a high-quality education in a safe and supportive learning environment.
One of my proudest legislative accomplishments of my first term was successfully amending H.B. 1393, a bill to decriminalize the possession and use of fentanyl test strips. With my amendment, the language “for personal use” was removed from the bill, so that individuals and community/health care organizations working to minimize overdoses can use and distribute test strips without fear of reprisal. To save the most lives, it is vital that we make it as easy as possible for the greatest amount of people to detect fentanyl, and this bill as amended will do exactly that.
During this legislative session, I also had the pleasure of working alongside Sen. Lindsey Williams to author and pass a bill to create the Chief Vernon Moses Memorial Highway in honor of Ross Township’s first police chief and the only officer killed in the line of duty throughout the department’s 100-year history. It was a great honor to welcome Chief Joseph Ley and other officers to the Capitol and witness them receive a standing ovation in the House chamber in recognition of the outstanding service their department has provided for now more than a century.
But I didn’t spend my entire first term in Harrisburg — I spent a great deal of it right here in District 20 with all of you at community days, document shredding events, farmers’ markets, blood drives and many other exciting events throughout our community. Earlier this year, my staff and I held our inaugural Series on Women’s Empowerment — which began with three virtual livestreams and culminated in a Women’s Resource Fair at the Ross Community Center. The series was a tremendous success.
One of the biggest projects that I continue to work on is establishing a landslide insurance fund. My legislation to help so many people struggling with the impacts of landslides in our region, and across Pennsylvania, has not moved this session but I have been working behind the scenes to build more support and it continues to be one of my highest priorities.
Regardless of what lies ahead of or behind us, I am working hard every day for all the amazing people in our community. It has been an honor and a privilege to represent our corner of Allegheny County in the Pennsylvania House of Representatives. I would like to thank everyone in the 20th Legislative District for allowing me the opportunity to be your voice in Harrisburg.
As always, please reach out to me if you have questions or need assistance with any state-related matter by calling my office, at (412) 321-5523, or emailing me, at RepKinkead@pahouse.net . My team and I are here to help you!