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LVEDC Representatives Attend Senator Bob Casey’s Economic Roundtable Discussion

By Colin McEvoy on March 28, 2022

U.S. Sen. Bob Casey speaking during LVEDC’s 2019 Annual Meeting on March 19. (photo by Marco Calderon)

Representatives from the Lehigh Valley Economic Development Corporation (LVEDC) were invited to attend and speak at a roundtable discussion hosted by U.S. Sen. Bob Casey in Washington D.C.

The senator invited individuals from a select number of economic development organizations from around the state to participate in a discussion on March 16 about the strengths and gaps in the current local and federal approach to economic development.

“Pennsylvania’s economic development districts have been working tirelessly to help their communities grow despite the challenges of the past two years,” said U.S. Senator Bob Casey (D-PA). “Our economic development roundtable in Washington gave our partners on the ground the opportunity to share their strategies to create and sustain jobs and grow local economies throughout the Commonwealth.”

LVEDC President & CEO Don Cunningham, Executive Vice President & Chief of Staff Jaime Marie Whalen, and Vice President of Business Development & Attraction Kristin Cahayla-Hoffman attended the March 16 economic development roundtable discussion.

“Sen. Casey has always been a great partner for us regarding economic development in the Lehigh Valley,” Cunningham said. “The forum he hosted in Washington brought a group of regional leaders from across Pennsylvania together with key state and federal economic development officials and his staff to discuss ways to improve job creation and growth in Pennsylvania. His leadership is very much welcomed.”

Casey has previously visited LVEDC offices for updates about economic activity in the Lehigh Valley, and he spoke at the organization’s 2019 Annual Meeting and other past LVEDC events. Cunningham also introduced the Senator during a drive-in town hall meeting in Allentown last year.

During the March 16 roundtable, which was held in the Russell Senate Office Building, Casey began with a discussion about “The Next 10 Years: Needs and Vision to Deliver Pennsylvania to a More Prosperous 2032.”

The broadly-focused discussion served as a free-flowing exchange of ideas, best practices and goals for the next ten years. Cunningham and other participants should talked briefly about strong projects and strategies that exist in their region currently, how they see their region moving forward, and what kind of resources are most helpful to them.

“The American Rescue Plan and Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act were a down payment on a vibrant, sustained recovery and I look forward to continuing to work with our economic development organizations across Pennsylvania to ensure they deliver broad-based economic growth,” Casey said.

This was followed by a discussion about the implementation of a bipartisan infrastructure law, addressing such points as programs of interest, conversations around community capacity, and strategies to compete for and implement funds from the new infrastructure law.

The third and final topic centered around economic revitalization strategies and the development of abandoned and underutilized commercial and industrial properties, also known as brownfields. This discussion also touched upon depopulation and other factors shaping economic outcomes in Pennsylvania’s legacy communities.

LVEDC promotes economic development via reuse of brownfields through its redevelopment program, Lehigh Valley Land Recycling Initiative (LVLRI). It is an advisory committee comprised of municipal officials from cities, boroughs, and townships in both Lehigh and Northampton counties, as well as brownfield experts, regulatory agency representatives, private developers, engineers, and consultants.

Representatives from Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf’s office and the U.S. Economic Development Administration also participated in the economic development roundtable, according to Casey’s office.

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