State Senator Lisa Baker is serving her eighth year representing our area. Well respected in Harrisburg and in her home district, Lisa has earned a reputation for being reliable, reasonable, and responsible.
Lisa is accessible. She constantly travels across the large district, attending events, hearings, community meetings, issue forums, panel discussions, and tributes to distinguished individuals.
When problems arise, Lisa is out in the community, surveying the situation and meeting with residents and local officials to discuss needs and solutions. She has proved helpful when there is flooding and storm damage, and dealing with matters such as electric service, on-lot septic systems, dangerous intersections, deficient bridges, and more.
Ask her about an issue, and you will get a thoughtful perspective, not partisan political talking points. Lisa learns by listening to people, and has gained important perspectives and good suggestions by working with people who do not agree with her positions.
Lisa is an independent thinker. On the controversial subject of natural gas drilling, she voted against Governor Corbett and Republican leaders because she opposed taking away decision making authority from local communities. But she also made sure that significant community protections were written into the bill before it was voted on. When the law was challenged, the state Supreme Court ruling agreed with the point of view Lisa had taken.
Lisa is accountable. She declines many of the perks offered to state legislators. Her expenses are posted on the Internet.
As a lawmaker, Lisa has concentrated on developing practical solutions, rather than taking hardline philosophical positions that contribute to the deadlock that so frustrates taxpayers. Because of that, and her willingness to work in bipartisan fashion, she has assembled a strong record of legislative accomplishment.
The best example of her determination arose from the case of the corrupt Luzerne County judges. Lisa was the first official to propose legislative remedies. When a blue ribbon commission was formed and recommended sweeping changes, Lisa successfully pushed four essential reform steps – ensuring juveniles were not deprived of their constitutional right to counsel, requiring juvenile court judges to state on the record the reasoning behind their decisions, prohibiting the routine shackling of juvenile offenders, and giving additional power to the Victim Advocate.
She sponsored an important bill expanding the definition of perpetrator that was passed as part of a child protection package approved in the wake of the Sandusky scandal.
Her commitment to improving health care access is evidenced in her support for state grants to community health care centers and for critical access hospitals.
Lisa supported added state funding for transportation improvements, which will mean more projects in our region, creating jobs and increasing public safety.
When there was concern expressed about locating gas well-sites in the case of emergencies, Lisa wrote into state law requirements that local officials and emergency responders possess the information necessary to enable quick action to save lives and prevent environmental damage. She pushed for a pipeline registry for the same reasons.
Because of the importance of agriculture to the region, Lisa helped secure passage of a law exempting family farms from the state inheritance tax and the realty transfer tax. And now relief from the inheritance tax has been extended to small businesses as well.
When she became the chair of the Senate Veterans Affairs and Emergency Response Committee, Lisa changed a minor committee that met infrequently into an active and productive committee. She has held numerous public hearings looking into the problems confronting veterans and emergency responders. She has been a leader in crafting and approving solutions.
Lisa spearheaded the effort to create a Veterans Trust Fund, to combine contributions from private and public sources to provide emergency assistance to needy veterans and their families.
In line with the sporting heritage of the region, Lisa is a staunch defender of Second Amendment rights.
In addition to her extensive experience in state government, Lisa has held private sector jobs and done extensive volunteer work in the community.
Lisa is a graduate of Dallas High School and Shippensburg University where she received a B.A. in Government Administration. She resides in Lehman Township, Luzerne County, with her husband of 29 years, Gary, their son Carson, a senior at Kutztown University, and their dog Annie.