– The pending change in his constituency for the 2023-24 Legislative Session does not mean state Rep. Jim Rigby (R-Johnstown) will change his focus when it comes to the City of Johnstown.
“In Cambria County, urban issues become rural issues and vice versa,” Rigby said. “Crime and housing problems in the city are of regional importance and should be of concern to every county resident because of the way these problems impact quality of life. No longer representing Johnstown does not mean I will no longer care.”
Rigby was reacting to Tuesday’s hearing on public housing hosted by Sen. Wayne Langerholc Jr. (R-35), an event which mimicked action Rigby took two months ago.
“On Aug. 31, I called a meeting with the senator, my Democrat colleague Rep. Frank Burns, District Attorney Greg Neugebauer, County Coroner Jeff Lees, Greater Johnstown School District Superintendent Dr. Amy Arcurio, Johnstown Police Chief Richard Pritchard, the city’s Public Housing Authority Executive Mike Alberts and Sue Mann from the 1889 Foundation to address this issue,” stressed Rigby. “In reaction to our discussion, I reached out to Saint Francis University to assist with analytical research and analysis of the crime problem. The city crime data they are accumulating from the past 10 years will be used to further our efforts.
“I applaud Sen. Langerholc’s hearing and will be asking my caucus to do likewise in examining how this issue impacts everyone regionally,” continued Rigby.
Rigby emphasized the impact crime has on education and social services, which in turn seeps beyond the boundaries of the city. Related to this issue, he also believes we need to right size public housing.
“I attended a policy committee Tuesday dealing with crime in Philadelphia and talked about how Johnstown is impacted, even though the cities sit 240 miles apart,” emphasized Rigby. “Our excess public housing supply helps facilitate our crime problem and we need to limit it.
“I know that will sound unwelcoming to some, but we have too many open houses being filled temporarily by people from outside our region. This is putting an incredible strain on our schools, social service agencies and hospitals. All are welcome but all are expected to contribute and respect the law and those who live here.
Rigby plans to reach out to regional foundations and will be seeking money in next year’s state budget to address an overabundance of public housing in the region.
Questions about this or any legislative issue may be directed to Rigby’s office at 1-814-536-9818.