|By State Rep. Tarah Toohil (R-Luzerne)
Last week, I joined my colleagues in the Pennsylvania House of Representatives in taking the oath of office to begin the 2021-2022 Legislative Session during a ceremony at the state Capitol in Harrisburg.
To limit the number of persons in the House chamber, the oath of office was administered four times to four separate groups of members to help mitigate the spread of COVID-19. Members and guests were also required to wear face masks and follow social distancing guidelines.
I dedicated my swearing-in to my mother, who passed away in October. Barbara Kay Toohil fostered 42 children and cared deeply about at-risk youth. Coincidentally, the day of the ceremony, Jan. 5, was also her birthday.
While my mother could not be with me at swearing-in this year, I will fight to carry on her legacy by pushing for greater child protection laws in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. My mother was also a recipient of a living kidney donation, which gave her many more years of life.
I will be introducing legislation dealing with organ donation that I hope will move soon in the House. I urge willing living donors to research the great need for liver and kidney donations in their communities. Much can be achieved through community coordination and efforts to secure living organ donors.
My other legislative priorities include continuing to address current COVID-19 and related health care issues brought on by the pandemic, attracting business investments and creating additional job opportunities to help further stimulate the economy, and reforming current election laws to resolve issues brought forward during the recent election.
Republicans currently hold the majority in the House of Representatives with 113 seats, which includes the vacancy created by the untimely death of Rep. Mike Reese of Westmoreland and Somerset counties on Jan. 2.
The flag at the Capitol is flying at half-staff in his honor, serving as a reminder for us to reflect on the massive amount of work at hand and the urgency needed to move legislative changes. Tomorrow is certainly not a guarantee.
I continue to be proud and humbled to represent the 116th Legislative District in Luzerne County consisting of the city of Hazleton and the townships of Black Creek, Butler, Conyngham, Dorrance, Hazle ( District 01), Hollenback, Huntington, Nescopeck, Salem, Sugarloaf and Union, and the boroughs of Conyngham, Nescopeck, New Columbus and Shickshinny.
Representative Tarah Toohil
116th Legislative District
Pennsylvania House of Representatives
Contact: Rep. Toohil’s Office