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Latest News


VIDEO: Smucker Honors PA16 Women on House Floor


Lloyd Smucker official congressional photo.jpg

VIDEO: Smucker Honors PA16 Women on House Floor


Washington, D.C. – U.S. Rep. Lloyd Smucker (PA-16), in a speech this morning on the House floor, honored and recognized the irreplaceable contributions women have made to our society. Highlighted in his speech were Lydia Hamilton Smith of Lancaster County, Rebecca Lukens of Chester County, and the Honorable Barbara Franklin of Lancaster County.

The video and text of the speech is below.

Click the image to watch the video.




“Thank you, Mr. Speaker.


“I rise today to recognize and honor the irreplaceable contributions women have made to our nation.


“As pioneers of industry and champions of human rights, women have played a critical role in the advancement of our society.


“March is Women’s History Month so I want to take a moment to talk about just three of the many women from my community who have made the world a better place.


“One of those women is Lydia Hamilton Smith of Lancaster County – an African-American woman who became the partner and confidant of Pennsylvania Congressman Thaddeus Stevens during the civil war and during the ensuing debate and passage of the 13thAmendment.


“During the Battle of Gettysburg, Ms. Hamilton Smith hired a horse and wagon and went out to collect food and supplies from York, Adams, and Lancaster Counties. Once her wagon was full, she traveled to the makeshift hospitals tending to wounded soldiers from the battle.


“The recent excavation of Lydia Hamilton Smith and Thaddeus Stevens’ house in Lancaster uncovered a passageway that lead to a tavern that is believed to have been used to shelter escaped slaves. The work Lydia contributed to the Underground Railroad – and the abolition movement at large – is reflective of the difficult, perilous, and humble work by women during that time period to end slavery.


“The next woman I’d like to recognize today is Rebecca Lukens of Chester County. I’d like to read an excerpt from a May 2012 piece published in the Daily Local News:


“’Imagine the year is 1825. You are a 31-year-old mother, pregnant with your sixth child. You’d already lost two children in infancy. Your husband has struggled for a dozen years to build an iron-making business in the rolling backcountry of Chester County on the banks of Brandywine Creek. Suddenly he dies, leaving you alone. The ironworks employees are ready to leave and your overbearing mother implores you to abandon the business.’


“This is what Rebecca Lukens had to confront. But she didn’t give up. Rebecca ran the household and the business – building it over the next few decades into a successful company that we know today as ArcellorMittal – the world’s leading steel and mining company.


“Women like Rebecca teach our sons and daughters that if you work hard enough and dream big enough, you can break molds and achieve your goals.


“Lastly, Mr. Speaker, I’d like to recognize Barbara Franklin.


“Born in Lancaster County and a graduate of Hempfield High School, she is perhaps best known for serving in President George H.W. Bush’s cabinet as the 29th Secretary of Commerce.


“Following the student protests and massacre in Tiananmen Square in China, the United States imposed sanctions and a ban on governmental contacts. When President Bush sought to normalize relations with China, Barbara led that effort.


“She reconvened the U.S.-China Joint Commission on Commerce and Trade, opening new markets for American products. She says this is the most important thing that she did as Commerce Secretary.


“Barbara was also one of the very first women to graduate from Harvard Business School. As the current President and CEO of Barbara Franklin Enterprises, she has a reputation for breaking down barriers and being a leading voice for women’s equality and empowerment in the workplace.


“Each of the three women I’ve highlighted today are successful in their own right. They have paved the way for the current and future generations of young people who have the same entrepreneurial drive.


“Their leadership has inspired men and women alike and has set an example of what hard work, determination, and standing for what you believe in looks like.


“I have to say I’m quite proud to have such impressive role models come from my congressional district.


“It’s women like Lydia, Rebecca, Barbara, and many others, who are shining examples of the progress our country has made over the last two centuries, who give hope for the future, and remind us of the important contributions of women.


“Thank you, Mr. Speaker, I yield back.”

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