State Rep. Joe Emrick is serving his sixth term in office as the 137th Legislative District’s voice in the General Assembly, having first been elected in 2010. The 137th District consists of the townships of Forks, Lower Mount Bethel, parts of Palmer (Middle 1, Upper East & Upper West), Upper Mount Bethel, Upper Nazareth, and Washington; and the boroughs of Bangor, East Bangor, Nazareth, Portland, Roseto, Stockertown and Tatamy.
For the 2021-22 legislative session, Joe has been assigned to the following four committees: Consumer Affairs, Local Government, Professional Licensure, and Tourism and Recreational Development. He has also been re-appointed to serve as a majority deputy whip. In this position, Joe is charged with keeping the majority whip informed about problems that members may have, or issues that might have an effect on the legislative agenda and on the caucus as a whole.
Joe’s history of legislation includes Act 19 of 2016
(formerly House Bill 1278
), which allows television broadcasts or video images to be displayed in a vehicle as long as the images are not visible to the operator of the vehicle while the vehicle is in motion. The bill brought Pennsylvania up to date by allowing our automobile dealers to sell cars that included this advanced technology.
Since taking office, Joe has been a staunch supporter of legislation that monitors the Commonwealth's use of sewage sludge by land application. He co-sponsored legislation in each of his first two terms that directed the Legislative Budget and Finance Committee (LBFC) to review the Commonwealth's program and was invited to attend a hearing on the use of biosolids in October, 2014.
In the 2015-16 session, Joe took the lead by authoring House Resolution 60, which unanimously passes the House and required the LFBC to report its findings and recommendations to the House of Representatives within one year. He followed up in April, 2017 by facilitating a public meeting on biosolids with LBFC Executive Director Phil Durgin and residents of the 137th District, including members of Sludgefree UMBT (Upper Mount Bethel Township). The group offered its opinions, experiences and expertise regarding the use of biosolids.
Thanks to his support for the job creating small business people of Pennsylvania, Joe was named a Guardian of Small Business by the National Federation of Independent Business for the 2015-16 and 2017-18 sessions. He also earned the endorsement of other groups interested in the continued economic growth and fiscal health of our state, as well as the protection of taxpayers.
Prior to serving as representative, Joe was a nationally-recognized educator and honored by the Freedom Foundation of Valley Forge for his innovative teaching concepts of entrepreneurship and the free enterprise system. Joe was also given the Excellence in Education Award by Lower Moreland School District. Before working in Lower Moreland, he taught history in the Stroudsburg and the Pleasant Valley school districts.
A native of the Slate Belt, Joe is a graduate of Bangor High School. He earned a bachelor’s degree in history and secondary education from Lycoming College, where he was an Academic All-American football player. Joe also earned a master’s degree in education with a concentration in social studies from Kutztown University.
Joe's experience in government stems from his tenure as chairman of the board of supervisors in Upper Nazareth Township, where he led efforts to streamline and improve essential government services, such as increased police coverage, improved infrastructure and preserved open space. He also cut real property taxes 7 percent while eliminating debt and bringing more transparency to local government. Prior to his service in Upper Nazareth Township, Joe also served as a commissioner in Salisbury Township.
Joe and his family attend Calvary Baptist Church. He is active in his local community as a board member of Cornerstone Counseling Ministries and a member of the Nazareth YMCA.
Joe lives in Upper Nazareth Township with his wife, Christine, and two children, Olivia and Zoey.