Lewis announces plans to retire from the House after 2018

State Rep. Harry Lewis Jr.

Rep. Harry Lewis Jr. (R-74) today announced that his second term in office, which will end with the 2017-18 session, will be his final one as a member of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives. His retirement will follow 56 years of public service.

“Because of the citizens of the 74th District, I proudly worked in Harrisburg – despite the inevitable bureaucratic limitations – to represent the wishes of all Coatesville, Downingtown and Parkesburg residents,” Lewis said. “In times of frustration when it was a challenge to come to an acceptable resolution, the great people in our communities were my motivation. I thank each resident for their incredible support and encouragement.”

During his time in office, he notes his focus was always on Chester County. One of his notable accomplishments includes securing $6 million in grants for the Coatesville revitalization program at the intersection of Lincoln Highway East and the 1st Avenue area of the city of Coatesville. The project is expected to bring 110 new, permanent jobs and 215 construction jobs to the area. Lewis collaborated with the Brandywine campus of the Chester County Technical College High School to ensure that the construction jobs will be awarded locally.

The redevelopment project will consist of 47,000 square feet of retail/office space. Some of the existing buildings will be demolished, but the historical value of Coatesville will be maintained through the new design. A parking garage will be built, and improvements will be made to surrounding streets.

Another contribution he cites includes working with local resident, Jane Kennedy, to add Carver Court to the National Registry of Historic Places. The 1942-44 housing development, which Lewis called home as a child, provided housing for African-American steel workers and their families to support the World War II defense industry. It includes nearly 90 one- and two-story homes and was designed by giants of modern architecture Louis Kahn, Oskar Stonorov and George Howe. Adding Carver Court to the registry was a bipartisan effort also supported by Gov. Tom Wolf, who visited Chester County for the dedication in September.

Lewis said that helping residents of the district find family-sustaining jobs was one of his top priorities, demonstrated by his numerous job fairs that attracted employers and job seekers alike. Of his many legislative events, these were the most successful.

However, Lewis added, he didn’t wait for a special occasion to help his constituents. Teamed with his staff, he was eager to help and aided thousands of constituents with both state and local issues at his three office locations.

“The best part of this experience has undoubtedly been the times I have been able to get the answers someone needs or otherwise improve his or her life. I’ve discovered what a difference it makes to people when they feel their legislator is serving them as completely as possible, and I could not have done that without the amazing staff that has blessed Chester County,” Lewis said. “I thank Amber Little-Turner, Nick Deminski and Reginald Ward for their service, and wish them great success in their future endeavors.”

Lewis also drafted a number of bills, including one unanimously supported by the House that would provide children who have incarcerated parents with stable families via adoption in a more timely fashion.

Before beginning his service in the House in 2014, Lewis had a steadfast presence in the local community. During his career as an educator, he worked at the Coatesville Area Senior High School as principal, assistant principal, special education teacher and physical education teacher.

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