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Vision 2025 Together Refugee Plan

We have continuing coverage of a story we first broke last month.

New documents show how a Johnstown Civic Group developed and changed its plans to bring Afghan refugees to the region to combat population loss and fill jobs after the plan had been revealed to the community.

After obtaining the documents through a right to know request filed last month and delivered this week. It shows a November memo from the President and CEO of Vision 2025 Together Mike Tedesco originally planned to bring in as many as 100 Afghan refugee families into the region and was planning to discuss the idea with the White House.

Emails that were apart of that right to know request show board members began discussing changes after the idea became public and eventually saying in statements that the plan would only bring in a few legally vetted immigrants and that Afghan refugees were not a part of the plan.

On Wednesday, we spoke to Tedesco.

We asked multiple times about why that shift happened.

Tedesco wouldn’t get into specifics about that but did say this about the criticism to the idea.

“I think it’s maybe 2 or 3 people who are concerned about international individuals coming to Johnstown and it’s a couple of people on social media who are unnecessary amplified. It does not reflect Johnstown.”

I would say it’s a little more than that. The Republican Chairwoman expressed concerns to me, some of the government people at the time initially had those concerns.

“I saw some of those comments the concern were locals should fill the jobs. Well, the jobs are going unfilled. There are not enough individuals in town to fill the jobs.”

State Representative Frank Burns reacting Today on the release of this internal communications from Vision 2025 Together.

Regarding the plan to bring Afghan refugees to the Johnstown area, Burns asked for public hearings.

He says he feels his call for those hearings were dismissed.

He says, quote

“My definition of community driven is very different than theirs. The people who live here should come first, not last. I think their handling of this sucks.”

 

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