2009-01-01 / Front Page

Hess Named Commerce Committee Chairman

Rep. Dick Hess (R-Bedford/ Fulton/Huntingdon) announced last week that he was tapped by Republican leader Rep. Sam Smith (R-Jefferson/ Indian/Armstrong) to serve as Republican chairman of the House Commerce Committee for the 2009-10 legislative session.

"I am honored to have been picked once again to serve the Republican Caucus in this capacity," Hess said. "We have numerous issues facing the commonwealth in the coming year, and I am committed to ensuring that my colleagues and I have a voice in shaping legislative policies to bring about positive change for all Pennsylvanians."

Hess, who has served as Commerce Committee chairman since 2007, was chosen by Smith due to his vast experience and seniority in the Republican Caucus.

As one of the most important committees in the House, the Commerce Committee is responsible for oversight of economic development and banking issues throughout the commonwealth, such as the Pennsylvania Housing Finance Agency (PHFA). PHFA helps enhance the quality and supply of affordable homes and apartments for older adults, persons of modest means, and persons with disabilites. The agency operates homeownership programs, rental housing development initiatives, and a foreclosure prevention effort.

Most notable, during the 2007-2008 session, the committee advanced several pieces of legislation to reform the commonwealth's mortgage industry. One of the new laws requires individual mortgage originators to be licensed in order to work with borrowers in obtaining home financing.

Due to the economic downturn that has affected the national and state economics, the committee will be active in considering legislation that will have long-term beneficial effects on Pennsylvania's fiscal health.

Prior to serving as Commerce Committee chairman, Hess served as chairman of the House Aging and Older Adult Services Committee during the 2003-04 and the 2005-06 legislative sessions.

"When the new session convenes in January, I intend to hit the ground running to help rehabilitate the commonewalth's ailing economy," Hess said. "We have tough decisions to make in the coming months, but we have no choice to do what is right for the citizens of Pennsylvania."

The 78th District includes all of Fulton County and portions of Bedford and Huntingdon counties.

For additional information about the 78th District or to keep up-to-date on events in Harrisburg, visit DickHess.com.

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