Rep. Thomas Murt of the 152nd District (Montgomery Co. and Philadelphia) was named this month to chair the PA House Aging and Older Services Committee. That seems to be right in his wheelhouse. Murt has long been regarded as a leading advocate for folks with special needs and their caregivers.
“Human services is probably my top legislative priority,” Murt told me recently when I visited his district office in Hatboro. “Specifically that includes taking care of adults with special needs, people struggling with mental illness and people who are homeless.”
Murt praised the Archdiocese of Philadelphia for doing an outstanding job in the human services area.
“Many families who have an adult child or a loved one with special needs or an intellectual disability have been able to—through the Archdiocese—find a placement, sometimes as a resident.”
Rep. Murt and I also talked about the Our Lady of Mercy Regional Catholic School in Maple Glen. The school was one of only nine schools in PA that were named Blue Ribbon Award winners by the U.S. Department of Education. All nine of those schools are Catholic schools in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia region.
“The school has an outstanding curriculum,” Murt said. “They have dedicated, highly-qualified teachers; great facilities—including science labs, a very high-quality gymnasium, great athletic program, a lot of extra-curricular activities for the students. It’s great to see they’re recognized for the great job they do over there.”
Murt appreciates the opportunities that Catholic education has provided to students who might not otherwise get a good education.
“I represent the City of Philadelphia and Catholic education has provided a lot of opportunities for kids in the city. Sometimes there are schools that have struggled to provide a high-quality academic experience and many children are very fortunate to attend a Catholic School.”
“That’s something that we continue to support through the EITC program and many children have benefitted from that.”
Murt has been a big backer of the Educational Improvement Tax Credit Program, which allows businesses and individuals to receive a tax credit if they make a donation to certain non-profit educational institutions.
“Because of the generosity and benevolence of many people who support Catholic education, the opportunity to attend a Catholic school has been afforded to many children who may not have been able to do that.”