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Congressional Subcommittee to Hold Roundtable in Somerset, Pennsylvania to Focus on Impacts of Opioids Crisis on Economic Development in Appalachia

Washington, D.C., July 27, 2018 | Justin Harclerode (202) 225-9446 | comments
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Next Tuesday in Somerset, Pennsylvania, a congressional subcommittee will hold a roundtable policy discussion to examine the impacts of the opioids crisis on economic development and the workforce in Appalachia.

U.S. Rep. Lou Barletta (PA-11), the Chairman of the Subcommittee on Economic Development, Public Buildings, and Emergency Management, will lead the roundtable discussion, joined by U.S. Rep. Keith Rothfus (PA-12), in whose district the meeting is being convened.

“In Appalachia, opioid-related deaths are 65 percent higher than the rest of the nation,” said Barletta.  “In 2016 alone, 4,627 Pennsylvanians died due to an opioid overdose.  To battle this crisis, we must have a strong, bipartisan response that addresses not only access to treatment and prevention methods, but also the impact this epidemic is having on economic development and access to jobs.  I look forward to continuing our work on this comprehensive response at Tuesday’s roundtable in Somerset and providing communities with the tools they need to fight back against the opioid epidemic.”

“The opioid crisis is having a significant impact on Pennsylvania communities,” said Rothfus.  “This roundtable offers an opportunity for local, state, and federal leaders to come together and discuss how to overcome the challenges that this crisis is having on our workforce and economic development.”

The roundtable will be an opportunity to focus on the barriers to economic growth created by opioids, possible solutions, and how federal economic development agencies can help states and communities thrive.  Participants will include the Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC), the Economic Development Administration (EDA), state and local officials, and private sector experts. 

The Subcommittee roundtable, entitled “Treating Barriers to Prosperity: Addressing the Impact of Opioids on Economic Development in Appalachia,” is scheduled to begin at 1:00 p.m. on Tuesday, July 31, 2018, in the Somerset County Office Building, 300 N. Center Avenue, Somerset, PA 15501. 

The roundtable is open to the public and news media. The event will be webcast on the Committee’s YouTube channel and website.  Note: The Somerset County Office Building does not offer a mult box for audio connections and media should be prepared to mic for sound.   Members of the news media please RSVP to or

Additional background information and a link to the live webcast will be posted here as they become available.

Roundtable participants will include:

  • The Honorable Tim Thomas, Federal Co-Chair, Appalachian Regional Commission
  • Mr. Dennis Alvord, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Regional Affairs, U.S. Economic Development Administration, U.S. Department of Commerce
  • The Honorable Patrick J. Stefano, State Senator, Commonwealth of Pennsylvania
  • The Honorable Carl Walker Metzgar, State Representative, Commonwealth of Pennsylvania
  • Commissioner Gerald Walker, County Commissioner, Somerset County, Pennsylvania
  • Steven K. Howsare, Executive Director, Southern Alleghenies Planning and Development Commission
  • Mr. Andrew G. Rush, MBA, MPT, Chief Executive Officer, Somerset Hospital and Somerset Health Services, Somerset, PA
  • Dr. Robert Gillio, Medical Director for Population Health and Clinical Innovations, J.C. Blair Memorial Health System
  • Mr. Ron Aldom, Executive Director, Somerset County (PA) Chamber of Commerce
  • Mr. Shawn Kaufman, Director of Human Resources, Riggs Industries


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