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I have always believed that it is essential to bring solutions from Pennsylvania's 5th Congressional District to our nation’s capital, not the other way around. With the House of Representatives having adjourned during the month of August, it provided me a great opportunity to get out and connect with constituents throughout the 5th District.
I want to provide an update on my activities throughout the district during the month of August. Over the four weeks of the congressional recess, I organized discussions on a variety of important topics, from the mental health care of veterans, private mineral rights in the Allegheny National Forest and adequate job training in careers that are in demand across the Commonwealth.
Glenn 'GT' Thompson
Connecting Youth With In-Demand Careers
Early in August, I joined with workforce development officials and other local leaders in a discussion regarding youth engagement through the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA). This law was signed approximately one year ago and is designed to enhance coordination among federal, state and local workforce training programs to better pinpoint employment opportunities in high-demand industries.
I also had the chance to hear first-hand from a group of young people on the challenges they are facing in today's workforce. The group ranged in age from their teens to mid-20s. The WIOA will empower local workforce boards to connect youth with jobs that are in-demand in their areas and eliminate programs that do not work. Our greatest resource is a qualified, well-trained workforce. I look forward to future discussions with local leaders and our youth, toward making sure they have the resources needed to reach their full potential.
Protecting Private Mineral Rights in the Allegheny National Forest
In the 5th Congressional District, workers for nearly 100 energy companies depend on access to private mineral rights in the Allegheny National Forest (ANF). That is one of the reasons I plan to introduce, in the coming weeks, the "Cooperative Management of Mineral Rights Act," which pertains to the ANF and private ownership of mineral rights in national forests across the nation.
Federal courts have consistently ruled that the U.S. Forest Service lacks the regulatory authority over privately held mineral rights. This legislation would correct the existing law, bringing it into line with the findings of these federal courts. It would prevent the Forest Service from issuing new regulations in this area and would prevent further attempts to shut down activity in the ANF.
In addition, I joined with local officials in Warren to discuss the challenges faced by the ANF, including invasive insects, budgetary issues and timber harvesting. The Allegheny National Forest is one of our region's greatest assets and I will continue to advocate in Washington for it and the resources it provides for our residents.