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March 02, 2021

Rep. Trone, Leaders Across Western Maryland Highlight Wins in American Rescue Plan for Region


Contact: Hannah Muldavin,

Rep. Trone, Leaders Across Western Maryland Highlight Wins in American Rescue Plan for Region

WASHINGTON — Today, Congressman David Trone (MD-06) hosted a virtual press conference about how Western Marylanders stand to benefit from the newest COVID-19 relief bill, the American Rescue Plan, which the House passed over the weekend and is currently being considered by the Senate. You can watch a replay of the press conference here.

Over the past year, Congressman Trone has heard from hundreds of workers, families, and business owners in Western Maryland struggling with the economic and health impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. He has worked closely with local leaders, even leading a bipartisan request with over 60 local leaders, including Cumberland Mayor Ray Morriss, to Congressional leadership urging more state and local funding. The American Rescue Plan includes this funding for state and local government and will help crush the virus, return children safely to the classroom, get vaccines to people, and put people back to work.

Participants of the press conference include:

  • Ray Morriss, Mayor of Cumberland, MD
  • Nicole Christian, President, CEO of Garrett Chamber of Commerce
  • Jim Kercheval, Executive Director, Greater Hagerstown Committee
  • Artie Travis, Vice President for Student Affairs, Frostburg State University
  • Melissa Clark, Associate Director, AHEC West

A full recording of the press conference can be viewed here.

“The American Rescue Plan is a light at the end of the tunnel in the fight against COVID, especially for Western Marylanders,” said Congressman Trone. “We need to get this bill passed in the Senate and signed into law as soon as possible, and I’d like to thank the Western Maryland leaders for joining me to explain just how critical this funding will be for the children, workers, families, and small businesses in our region.”

“Last year Congressman Trone, myself, and quite a few other local leaders began urging for direct funding to local governments — the American Rescue Plan is that funding….I would really like to thank Congressman Trone for his hard work on the American Rescue Plan and want everyone to know what a great help it will be not only for the City of Cumberland, but [for] all local government and municipalities throughout the state of Maryland,” said Ray Morriss, Mayor of Cumberland, Md.

“Small businesses are the cornerstone of our economy. They’ve had to deal with closures, restrictions, capacity limits, they’ve adapted their business models, worked hard to retain employees through telework, suffered severe workforce shortages, lack of broadband access, and they’ve come up with innovative ways to still keep revenue coming in…However, without the assistance of Congress, we could very well see the foundations of our communities and economy crumble….The American Rescue Plan includes some necessary components that will greatly assist businesses to move towards recovery, and we thank you for your efforts, Congressman,” said Nicole Christian, President, CEO of Garrett County Chamber of Commerce.

“Businesses we’ve seen really need two things to stay afloat. First, they need that stability and sustainability — the ability to pay their rent, their mortgage, their payroll, to keep their workers safe and to provide adequate space…and safe space for the customers. Second, they need that consumer confidence and family stability so that customers spend what disposable income they have on products and services they sell. The American Rescue Plan…addresses both these areas with targeted funding to help businesses cover their overhead as well as funding to keep our families stable so they have the confidence to spend money in our local economy,” said Jim Kercheval, Executive Director, Greater Hagerstown Committee.

“Because of the American Rescue Plan and other efforts preceding this…Frostburg State has been able to maintain its strong presence for our students, our partners, in the city, and also in the region….We expect the American Rescue Plan will allow us to continue to provide similar support to make the FSU experience better for our students that have been caught in the middle of this crisis,” said Artie Travis, Vice President for Student Affairs, Frostburg State University. 

“Over half the people in the United States have said that COVID-19 has had a negative impact on their mental health. The American Rescue Plan includes 4 billion dollars for mental health and substance use disorder treatment and prevention to help save lives. That’s especially key to us in Western Maryland…we had 111% overdose death increase year over year last year. A lot of that [can be attributed] to COVID….We are especially thankful to you Congressman Trone and your colleagues for all of your work getting this through and all of your continued support for Western Maryland. We couldn’t do what we do without the work of you and your team,” said Melissa Clark, Associate Director of AHEC West in Allegany County.

“During the current pandemic we have seen an overall 30% increase in demand for our services and programs. Pre-COVID our agency served approximately 35-38,000 home delivered meals per year — this year we served over 61,000. The increased federal COVID funding allowed us to feed more homebound seniors in need. However we continue to have a waiting list that continued federal funding would greatly assist with…Additional emergency funding will allow us to continue at this maximum capacity and continue to serve seniors without interruption until we work through the vaccination process and timeline, and until we are able to open once again for senior center activities and meals,” said Joni Diehl, Senior Supports Manager for Garrett County Community Action’s Giving and Nutrition Services.