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Congressman Jim Gerlach's one page biography (Adobe format)

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Congressman Gerlach's Biography

Congressman Jim Gerlach

PA – 6th District


Electoral History


·         1990 -Elected to the Pennsylvania House of Representatives.   

·         1992 - Re-elected to Pennsylvania House of Representatives.

·         1994 - Elected to Pennsylvania State Senate.

·         1998 - Re-elected to Pennsylvania State Senate.

·         2002 - Elected to U. S. House of Representatives.

·         2004 – Re-elected to U. S. House of Representatives.


State Legislative Accomplishments


·         Consumer Protection –


Prime sponsor of Act 74 of 1996 to protect mobile homeowners from unreasonable and unfair eviction by mobile home park owners.


·         Criminal Justice –


Prime sponsor of Act 6 of 1995 to combat the rise of juvenile crime in the Commonwealth by expanding the use of fingerprinting and  photographing of juvenile offenders charged with misdemeanors and felony offenses.


Prime sponsor of Act 22 of 1995 to permit a family member of a murder victim to testify at the sentencing hearing of the convicted murderer as to the impact of the murder on the victim’s family.


Prime sponsor of provisions to Act 157 of 1998 to establish a felony offense for the use of communication devices (beepers, cell phone, pages, etc.) during illicit drug trafficking activities.


Prime sponsor of Act 52   of 2002 to authorize the use of audio recording by police officers during traffic stops.


·         Government Efficiency –


1994 -      Appointed by Senate Majority Leader to the Pennsylvania IMPACCT Commission, which          

                 was established to review and study ways to make state government operations and services   

                 more productive.


1995 -     Named vice-chairman of the Pennsylvania PRIME Council by Governor Tom Ridge to 

                oversee  implementation of IMPACCT Commission recommendations in the Ridge

                Administration and the Pennsylvania General Assembly.


1997-98 -Led efforts to pass five IMPACCT initiatives (Acts 9, 15, 22, 53, & 57 of 1998) that 

                               saved taxpayers approximately $500 million over 5 years.


·         Health Care –


Prime sponsor of Chapter 11 of PA’s historic 2001 tobacco settlement legislation (HB 2).  This Chapter established the Hospital Uncompensated Care Program and Extraordinary Expense Program to allocate $40 million in reimbursements annually to PA hospitals for the uncompensated and charitable care they provide.


Prime sponsor of frivolous lawsuit legislation (SB 406) that prompted the PA Supreme Court to amend the Pennsylvania Rules of Civil Procedure (Rule 1023.1) to allow for assessment of attorney fees and costs against parties filing frivolous suits or motions.


·         Interscholastic Athletics –


2000-2002 – Jim chaired the Pa. Interscholastic Athletic Association Council formed pursuant to Senate Resolution 127 to reform the operations of the PIAA and improve the administration of high school athletic competition.


·         Land Use & Growth Management –


Prime sponsor of historic land use reform legislation (Act 68 of 2000) to provide “smart growth” planning and zoning tools to municipalities to address sprawl development.


·         Local Tax Reform –


1997 – Organized and coordinated the Help for Homeowners Coalition, a state-wide coalition of local government, taxpayer, senior citizen, agriculture and environmental organizations established to promote and advocate passage of the constitutional amendment ballot question to permit implementation of a homestead exemption for residential properties in local taxing jurisdictions.  In November, 1997, Pennsylvanians passed the homestead ballot question by a 61-39% margin.


1998 – Led efforts in the Legislature for passage of Act 50 of 1998 – the school property tax reform initiative that provides taxpayers with greater input and control over school property taxes.


·         Welfare Reform –


Prime sponsor of Act 35 of 1996, the state’s highly-touted welfare reform law, which has helped reduce the state’s welfare rolls by nearly 200,000 and requires able-bodied welfare recipients to undertake necessary education and employment search activities and public service in exchange for public assistance.


Federal Legislative Accomplishments


·         Environment


Prime sponsor of the National Estuary Program reauthorization (HR 4731) that continues this program for 5 years, at $35 million, to promote protection and preservation of estuary habitat, wildlife and aquatic life.   This legislation was signed into law by President Bush on October 30, 2004.


·         Financial Services


Prime sponsor of HR 749 to provide underserved individuals better access to federal credit union services.  The bill passed the House unanimously on April 26, 2005 and is now before the U. S. Senate.


·         Medicare Reform


Led efforts to protect state prescription assistance programs, like Pa’s PACE/PACENET, as part of historic Medicare reform legislation enacted in 2003 to provide federal prescription drug benefit to seniors.  As a result of this effort, PACE/PACENET will continue to operate to benefit over 200,000 PA seniors while saving the state approximately $100-200 million annually.


·         Trade


Prime sponsor of  HR 1053 to permanently lift Jackson-Vanik trade restrictions against Ukraine in

order to establish normal trade relation status between that country and United States.  The legislation was signed into law by President Bush on March 23, 2006.


·         Veterans  -


Prime sponsor of HR 1516 to require the establishment of a national veterans cemetery in Southeastern Pennsylvania within 4 years.  This legislation was signed into law by President Bush on 11/11/03.


Legislative Assignments – 108th Congress


·         Member – Transportation and Infrastructure Committee

·         Member – Small Business Committee

·         Member - Speaker’s Task Force on Medicare Reform


Legislative Assignments – 109th Congress


·         Member – Transportation and Infrastructure Committee

·         Member – Financial Services Committee

·         Member – The Saving America’s Cities Working Group

·         Co-Chairman & Founder -  House Land Trust Caucus


Constituent Projects


·         1993 - Helped Downingtown Water Authority secure $4 million from the Pennsylvania Infrastructure Investment Authority for reconstruction of the Authority’s water plant in the Borough of Downingtown.


·         1993 - Helped secure $2 million from the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation for the installation of safety median barriers to prevent cross-over accidents along the heavily-travelled Route 30 by-pass in central Chester County.



·         1993 - Established a Pennsylvania youth apprenticeship program in Chester County by linking employers interested in establishing four-year apprenticeship programs with students from the Centers for Arts and Technology at the Brandywine & Pickering Campuses. 


·         1994 - Initiated contact with the Delaware County Community College to establish a branch center in Chester County at the former Downingtown Industrial and Agricultural school property in East Brandywine Township.


·         1996 - Initiated efforts to establish the Jefferson Citizenship Initiative in public school districts in Chester County.  The Initiative provided enhanced civic education in five local public schools through advanced distance-learning technology.


·         1998 - Established, in cooperation with the Chester County Chamber of Business and Industry, a volunteer mentor program to help newly-employed welfare recipients make the transition from welfare dependency to self-sufficiency.


·         1999 - Spearheaded legislative effort to acquire a $3 million state grant to provide fiberoptic technology to all Chester County school districts to facilitate enhanced distance-learning services and cost savings to the Chester County Intermediate Unit and member districts.


·         2000 - Spearheaded legislative effort to acquire a $850,000 grant to support the Foundry Building restoration project in Phoenixville Borough as part of its Phoenix Steel site revitalization effort.


·         2001 - Helped secure $300,000 grant from DCED to undertake the French Creek Manor senior citizen housing project in Phoenixville.


        - Helped secure $250,000 state grant to the Valley Forge National Park for 
          restoration of historic buildings.


·         2002 - Helped secure $2 million in state funding for preliminary design and engineering for the Schuylkill Valley Metro commuter rail project.


·         2002 -  Helped secure a $300,000 in state funding for a Pottstown area cancer incidence study.


·         2002 - Helped secure a $500,000 DCED grant for renovation of the First Fidelity Bank building in Pottstown.

·         2003 – Helped secure federal funding in FY ’03 appropriations bills for following district projects:
-          $9 million for Schuylkill Valley Metro.
-          $1 million for Buses and Bus Facilities in Berks County.
-          $1 million for Norristown Transportation Center improvements.
-          $700,000 for Rodale Institute Farm wastewater research.
-          $300,000 for National Night Out Program.

·         2004 – Helped secure federal funding in FY ’04 appropriations bills for following district projects:

-          $270,000 for weed management research at Rodale Institute.

-          $300,000 for National Night Out.

-          $2.5 million for Bally Ribbon Mills.

-          $200,000 for Valley Forge National Park restoration.

-          $50,000 for Downingtown United Sports Foundation.

-          $500,000 for Harcum College laboratory equipment.

-          $14 million for Schuylkill Valley Metro.

-          $7.5 million for other PA-06 transportation projects.

-       $25 million for Schuylkill Valley Metro (Southeast Pennsylvania     
        Transit Authority)

-        $500,000 for US30 Bypass-PA10 to US30 Business (PennDOT)

-        $750,000 for Lafayette Street Extension/PA Turnpike (MontCo)

-        $3 million for Norristown Intermodal (Southeast PA Transit Authority)

-        $500,000 for PA222 Kutztown Bypass (PennDOT)

-        $2.6 million for Bus Replacement (BARTA)

-        $200,000 for French Creek Parkway

-            $225,000 for Phoenixville Foundry building.

-           $200,000 for Downingtown wastewater system improvements.

-          $200,000 for St. Joseph Medical Center redevelopment study.

-          $100,000 for Elmwood Park Zoo conservation center.


·         2005 - Helped secure federal funding in FY’05 appropriations bills for following district projects:

-          $300,000 for Save the Speaker’s House historic preservation project.

-          $200,000 for Harcum College - Healthcare Initiative for the Aging.

-          $100,000 for Immaculata University.

-          $100,000 for Freedom’s Foundation at Valley Forge – Free Enterprise Institute.

-          $300,000 for National Night Out program.

-          $300,000 for Reading geographical information system project.

-          $250,000 for Montgomery County Community College.

-          $46,000 for Rodale Institute – Farming systems trial project.

-          $10 million for SEPTA- Schuylkill Valley Metro.

-          $6 million for SEPTA – Ardmore Transit Center.

-          $2 million for BARTA- Facility construction.

-          $1.5 million for Valley Forge National Historic Park.

-          $100,000 for Rodale Institute.


·          2005- Secured federal funding authorization for the following transportation projects in the highway

                   authorization bill:


-          $1.28 million for Blair Creek Bridge

-          $5 million for French Creek Parkway

-          $2.4 million for I-176 Reconstruction

-          $1.3 million for King of Prussia Road/Upper Gulph Road

-          $9.5 million for Lafayette Street Extension

-          $4 million for PA-100 Blackhorse Road

-          $2.3 million for PA-222 Kutztown Bypass

-          $1.9 million for PA-422-622

-          $1.2 million for River Road Extension

-          $800,000 for Plank/Ott/Myers/Seitz

-          $800,000 for PA-422 – Berkshire

-          $484,000 for US 322/PA10

-          $2.6 million for PA-10 New Morgan

-          $836,000 for Paoli Transit Center


·         2006 – Helped secure federal funding in FY’06 appropriations bills for the following projects:


-          $4 million for Schuylkill Valley Metro

-          $1 million for Coatesville Train Station

-          $1.8 million for BARTA – Franklin Street Station, locater system and bus replacement

-          $2 million for SEPTA – Paoli Transportation Center

-          $250,000 for Cabrini College at Norristown

-          $200,000 for Pine Forge AcademyStudent Center

-          $200,000 for Berks County Community Foundation




·         1992 - Pennsylvania Planning Association – For his work on the House Select Use and Growth Management Committee, the Pennsylvania Planning Association honored Jim with special recognition at its 1992 annual conference.


·         1993 & 1996 – National Federation of Independent Businesses – Jim was named a “Guardian of  Small Business” by the NFIB for his work in protecting and preserving the future of free enterprise in small business in the Commonwealth during the past two legislative sessions.


·         1995 - Green Valleys Association Environmental Award – In recognition of Jim’s record in preserving and protecting the Commonwealth’s environment, the Association presented him with this Award.


·         1996 - Pennsylvania Manufactured Home Owners Association – Jim was awarded the Association’s Certificate of Appreciation for introduction and passage of SB 1191 (Act 74 of 1996).


·         1997 - Citizens Against Higher Taxes – Jim was named a “Taxpayer Hero” for his pro-taxpayer voting record in the 1995-96 legislative session.


·         1998 - PA Farm Bureau – Political Action Committee – Jim was named a “Friend of Agriculture” for his outstanding pro-farmer voting record.       


·         1998 - PA Municipal Authority Association – Jim received the Association’s Distinguished Service Award for his legislative support on issues of concern to PMAA.


·         1998 -Citizens Against Higher Taxes – Jim was again named a “Taxpayer Hero” for having the best pro-taxpayer voting record of all 253 state legislators during the 1997-1998 legislative session.


·         1998 - PA District Attorneys Association – Jim received a Certificate of Recognition for his consistent support of major law enforcement, criminal justice, and victims rights legislation.


·         1998 - Chester County Chamber of Business & Industry – Jim received 1998 Watch Dog Award for  his pro-jobs voting record.


·         1999 -Tri-County Chamber of Commerce – Jim received the Chamber’s Legislator of the Year Award for his pro-business voting record.


·         2001 - Perkiomen Watershed Conservancy – Jim received its Land Use Award for his work in securing landmark land use reform legislation – Act 67 & 68 of 2000.


·         2002 - Delaware Valley Planning Commission – Jim was selected as Regional Elected Official of the Year for his work on land use and water resource management legislation.


·         2002 - Greater Valley Forge Transportation Management Association – Jim was awarded its Public Sector Award for his efforts to foster regional cooperation on transportation and other area issues.


·         2003 - Chester Co. Chamber of Business & Industry – Jim received the Chamber’s “Spirit of Free Enterprise” Award.


·         2003- PA Recreation & Park Society – The Society awarded Jim its 2003 Local Government Award for his efforts in assisting local municipalities preserve open space while a state legislator in the PA Legislature.


·         2004 - Harcum College – Jim was granted an honorary Doctor of Law degree by Harcum for his 13 years of public service as a state and federal legislator.


·         2004 - Americans for Tax Reform – ATR awarded Jim its “Taxpayer Hero” award for his pro-taxpayer voting record.  


·         2004 - Small Business Survival Committee – SBSC recognized Jim for his pro-jobs voting record.


·         2004 - U.S. Oncology – This network of 470 community-based oncology practices and cancer centers awarded Jim its Medal of Honor award for his work to preserve cancer patient access to community-based care.


·         2005 - National Association of Manufacturers  - NAM awarded Jim its Legislative Excellence Award for his pro-manufacturer and pro-jobs voting record in the 108th Congress.


·         2005 -Voice Foundation – Presented Jim with its VERA Award of Achievement for his contributions to medical research and the medical community generally.  


·         2005 -The ARC of Montgomery County – Presented Jim with the Vincent J. Fitzpatrick Humanitarian Award for his contributions toward the betterment of life for people with disabilities.


·         2005 - Natural Lands Trust – Awarded Jim the Highlands Coalition award for his efforts to enact Highlands Conservation Act to preserve and protect the Highlands ecosystem from Pennsylvania to Connecticut.


·         2006 -  American Health Care Association – Awarded Jim its Leading Light of Long-Term Care Award for his work to support policies and funding to maintain high-quality long-term care services for the elderly.


·         2006 -  Humane Society – United States – Awarded Jim its Legislative Leader Award for his pro-animal rights voting record in 2005.


·         2006 -  National Association of  Community Health Centers – Awarded Jim its Distinguished Community Health Superhero Award for his efforts in 2005 to support America’s community health centers and the 15 million uninsured and medically underserved to whom they provide health care services.


Community Involvement 


Jim serves as a member of the Board of Directors of the Brandywine Health & Wellness Foundation, as well as the Board of Directors of MECA (Mission for Educating Children with Autism).  He previously served on the Board of Trustees of Dickinson College, the Chester County Agricultural Development Council, and the West Brandywine Township Zoning Hearing Board.




·         Born and raised in Ellwood City, Lawrence County, Pennsylvania.

·         1973 – Graduated from Lincoln High School, Ellwood City.

·         1977 – Graduated cum laude from Dickinson College, Carlisle, Pennsylvania with a bachelor of arts degree in political science.

·         1980 – Graduated from the Dickinson School of Law with a juris doctor degree.

·         Family:  Married to Karen and has 3 children and 3 step-children.

·         Resides in West Pikeland Township, Chester County.

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