WILKES-BARRE — Another holiday season is winding down and 2019 is in the rear-view mirror.
As we dismantle our Christmas trees and put away the decorations, we vow to get in good enough shape to fut into all those nice clothes in our closets that we used to fit into not that long ago.
As we devour our pork and sauerkraut today, we look ahead to a bright 2020. Spring will soon arrive, flowers will bloom and the Democratic Party will choose its sacrificial lamb to take on President Donald Trump.
The days and months will again fly by, the snow will have melted, the heat and humidity will return, the leaves will change in the fall and my rescued Santa Claus toilet seat cover will again grace my front door in December.
Happy New Year to all and read on to see what our leaders wish for in 2020.
Gov. Tom Wolf: “In the new year, I am hopeful we can do more to invest in infrastructure, raise the minimum wage, tackle poverty, reform our probation system, expand gun safety laws, and even more to improve education, reduce health care costs, and enhance the quality of life for all Pennsylvanians. I wish, as well, that Pennsylvanians will continue to reach out to their neighbors and lend a helping hand.”
Wico Van Genderen, CEO of Greater Wilkes-Barre Chamber: “There are going to be many market headwind and tailwind dynamics for 2020. Knowing that you make your best sea captains in a storm, here’s wishing that our captains of industry and community can navigate the swirling waters.”
U.S. Sen. Pat Toomey, R-Lehigh: “Unemployment is at a 50-year low, wage growth is accelerating for low-income Americans, and for the first time in our nation’s history, there are more jobs than people seeking work. In 2020, Congress should resume work on pro-growth policies that will build upon the economic progress made over the past three years. I wish everyone across our great commonwealth a happy, healthy, and prosperous New Year.”
U.S. Sen. Bob Casey, D-Scranton: “We must continue the fight to protect access to quality, affordable health care in 2020. My wish for the new year is for Republicans to get serious and work with Democrats to support middle class families and people with preexisting conditions by strengthening the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. I will keeping fighting like hell against GOP efforts to sabotage access to health care.”
Outgoing Wilkes-Barre Mayor Tony George: To spend more time with his family.
Gerry O’Donnell: “My best wishes to all in our community for a safe and healthy New Year while remembering the New Year is a time of new beginnings and fresh starts that also comes with a time of reflection.”
Harold E Flack II, Dallas: “At 58.7 cents per gallon, Pennsylvania had the highest gas tax in the U.S., until we were nudged back to second place by California in July of 2019. Pennsylvania’s gas tax remains 22 cents higher than the national average. We spend our winters trying not to get another flat tire or break another wheel with potholes and craters everywhere on back roads and main roads alike. My wish is for the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania to make a serious effort to upgrade our roads, and to stop diverting gas tax revenue into other black holes of State Government.”
Sen. John Yudichak: “I’ll go with the state motto, I wish for everyone a year filled with virtue, liberty, and independence.”
U.S. Rep. Dan Meuser: “As we close out the year and decade and enter into our own ‘Roaring Twenties,’ I look forward to working together to keep the American Dream alive and well for all.”
Master Sgt. JP Karpovich, U.S. Army: “I would like to wish all military, police, firefighters, first responders, nurses and doctors, as well as teachers, a Happy and Healthy 2020.”
Teri Ooms, executive director of The Institute: “My wish for 2020 is that we all find a way to work towards innovative solutions collaboratively. The parochialism and divisiveness that has engulfed nearly every aspect our lives does nothing to improve or sustain anything positive. We have so much potential as a region, state, and nation and we need to work together to harness that greatness so that it benefits everyone. Personal or political party agendas, geographical and political boundaries, and traditional political party ideology should not drive decision making — that only benefits a few.”
Will Beekman, general manager of ASM Global, Mohegan Sun Arena: “My wish is for Wilkes-Barre to build a downtown skate park, and for Christian Wielage and crew to continue fighting the good fight on saving the Irem Temple.”
Paul Keating, Kingston administrator: “Happy New Year and best wishes to our great community and all of Northeastern Pennsylvania.”
Incoming Wilkes-Barre Mayor George Brown: Rebuild a working relationship between the Mayor of Wilkes-Barre and all members of Wilkes-Barre City Council based on mutual respect and the common goal of working hard for the betterment of the residents of Wilkes-Barre.
Create a 2020 Wilkes-Barre City budget that is based on sound fiscal management rather than hypothetical revenue sources that may or may not come to fruition in the coming year.
Promote safe, clean neighborhoods, work to address the homeless population, and increase revenue productivity within the city on a daily basis.
Former U.S. Rep. Lou Barletta: “Looking at the start of the New Year my wish for 2020 is that the politicians down in DC end the impeachment sham that is doing nothing but wasting taxpayer’s money. I wish that they will remember the voters that elected them also elected President Trump and that they will work with him to continue growing the greatest economy we’ve seen in decades allowing everyone a chance at the American Dream.
“In 2020, my resolution is to build the Jordan’s Army Foundation. My family and I have been so touched by the prayers and support for my grandson Jordan and want to give back. We will be working on growing the foundation to support research for Rhabdomyosarcoma and to help families that are battling this awful disease like our Jordan.”
C. David Pedri, Luzerne County manager: “I’m wishing for all Luzerne County citizens to have a positive experience with the County’s new voting machines. Also, I’m wishing for a great turnout for July’s Rockin’ The River concert series.”
Wilkes University interim President Paul S. Adams: “First and foremost, we wish every success to the more than 1,100 students in the Wilkes Class of 2020. May your every wish come to be! Second, we wish for continued success under the leadership of our seventh president, Dr. Greg Cant. Dr. Cant will begin in June and we look forward to the ways in which he will continue to advance Wilkes as a small doctoral university like no other. And finally, our University has long enjoyed a productive partnership with Wilkes-Barre’s leaders. We look forward to continuing this tradition under the leadership of Mayor George Brown as he officially takes office.”
John L. Augustine III, President/CEO Penn’s Northeast: “Our new year goal is to add one more County to our regional partnership. We also hope to close on project Dempko, bringing hundreds of jobs to our area. And finally, a happy and healthy year for all in NEPA.”
Anne E. Rodella, artistic director of F.M. Kirby Center: “My wishes for 2020 are to continue to bring quality arts and entertainment to the F.M. Kirby Center, to make the arts accessible to all, to read more/create more/dance more, and to book Tom Waits at the F.M. Kirby Center.”
U.S. Rep. Matt Cartwright, D-Moosic: “I wish everyone in Northeastern Pennsylvania a happy and healthy New Year. In 2020, I’m planning to continue to use my increasing seniority on the House Appropriations Committee to bring our fair share of federal money to Northeastern Pennsylvania, attract more federal contractors to open shop in our area, and provide more and better-paying jobs.”
State Rep. Tarah Toohil, R-Butler Township: “My New Year’s wish for our community is that our seniors (through legislative action) receive more property tax relief in 2020 so some of their burdens are lifted. For our children to have an increasingly innovative education so that they can bring in the next generation of family sustaining jobs to our region and to Pennsylvania. I also hope that more families will consider becoming emergency foster families for brief periods of time in order to meet our increased child protection needs in the Commonwealth.”
State Sen. Lisa Baker, R-Lehman Township: “That the joy, grace, and meaning of this holiday season carry into 2020 and guide our public policy-making toward constructive and productive results. That we are able to more deeply realize that the diversities in heritage and belief among us distinguish and strengthen Pennsylvania.”
Larry Newman, executive director of Diamond City Partnership: “My wishes for the new year are to continue making progress toward the goal of a vibrant Downtown Wilkes-Barre, with more historic preservation “wins” and more local businesses choosing to invest in the economic engine that is our center city.
“And, from a personal perspective: health, happiness, and more time spent enjoying the outdoors with my family.”
State Rep. Aaron Kaufer, R-Kingston: “I wish that we could build enough support in the legislature and from the governor to get property tax elimination done. Our area needs it.”
State Rep. Karen Boback, R-Dallas: “Wishing everyone a healthy, happy new year filled with love, peace and prosperity!”
Plymouth Borough Council: “Members would like to extend warm wishes of a happy and healthy New Year to the residents, businesses, local organizations and all who have helped in providing support and services to improve our community. Community support provided much success in 2019 and Council looks forward to continue to work with the community and organizations in making 2020 even better.”
Joe Nardone Sr., Gallery of Sound/Magnus Productions: “Stay young in mind and spirit and never get old. And remember to ‘Shake A Hand.’”
Happy New Year snowman.