A virtual conversation Monday morning joined U.S. Congressman Chris Pappas, D-N.H., with members of the Greater Derry Londonderry Chamber of Commerce's Economic Development and Infrastructure Committee with a top topic being economic and business success during these challenging times.
The meeting brought people to the table to talk about business and employee success, sharing with the congressman the current challenges still being faced due to the pandemic, and how supporting infrastructure can boost the economy and the state's residents.
Earlier this week, Pappas announced he will again serve on the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure in the 117th Congress, adding he will continue to make transportation and infrastructure a top priority during his second term representing New Hampshire's 1st District.
Pappas said he appreciated hearing from communities about what they are facing on the local front, saying he takes the information back to Washington D.C. where hard work can be done to support states that are needing a federal lifeline in many areas.
It's been almost a year, Pappas noted, since the first positive case of COVID-19 was detected in New Hampshire.
"We had no idea where this pandemic would take us," Pappas said. "But it got pretty real, pretty quick for most of us."
There are still disastrous impacts on communities, the congressman said, with some uneven economic situations among different sectors of the population.
The Paycheck Protection Program, or PPP, has supported many businesses through the pandemic, and more support is coming, Pappas said.
Vaccine distribution in New Hampshire is also amping up, Pappas said, with up to 21,000 vaccines expected to be coming to the state per week.
And economic recovery remains a focus as does infrastructure that, in turn, supports a strong economy.
And projects can put people back to work, he added, with bridges, roads, trail systems, commuter rail service, water systems and broadband potentially making a big impact on the economic health of the state.
Londonderry Town Manager Kevin Smith was on the call and said his community's water issues are on the state's radar and a top priority.
He said having support for good water quality would be "near and dear" to his heart.
Pappas said he hopes to continue to fight for more federal standards for keeping water clean and battling contamination, with a stronger national focus on the issue, including the Clean Water Standards for PFAS Act.
All this week, Pappas will continue to outline his "New Hampshire Infrastructure Roadmap," a list of infrastructure priorities he hopes to advocate for while serving in Congress. Pappas will meet this week with local and regional transportation, infrastructure and economic stakeholders.
“As we work to overcome this pandemic and find ways to restart our economy following the economic crisis, federal investments in New Hampshire’s infrastructure including our roads, bridges, waterways, rail lines, and broadband have never been more important,” Pappas said. "I will continue to work in a bipartisan fashion to bring both sides together to keep the focus on how we can deliver solutions for Granite Staters and move our country forward.”