A Quiet Saturday

Article posted on March 31, 2007

On Saturdays, I usually, almost always, go to a men’s Christian fellowship just outside of Altoona called “The Light House”.   I have been going there for years and enjoy the whole experience of the music and message, most importantly, seeing the people who go.  Usually, with today as no exception, we go out for breakfast at The Waffle King Restaurant in Altoona.  I hit the office for a few hours then got an overdue haircut.  I’m headed home to wash my car and pick up then work on some paperwork at home.  So far today, I didn’t get any emails on House Bill 760, but I did speak to several people about it this morning at The Light House.  I don’t have a banquet tonight, the first for a while.  Charlotte and I are planning a quiet dinner at home with me cooking hamburgers on the grill.

– John

Term limits: Legislators to confront political careers

Article posted on March 31, 2007

Eichelberger, a former Blair County commissioner, said term limits will sweep out old-boy networks and give sharper, less senior legislators a better shot at leadership.

However, his proposal would apply only to future legislators, allowing those now in office to keep their seats.

“It’s the only way we’re going to get any votes,” Eichelberger acknowledged.

One of Pennsylvania’s longest-serving legislators, Sen. Robert J. Mellow, the Democratic leader from Lackawanna County, has been in office since 1971.

He argues that it will be difficult to attract candidates if a person must give up their livelihood for a limited political career. Rural legislators will have difficulty rising to leadership positions. And, he said, the current two-year House terms and four-year Senate terms act as natural limits.

“People basically want to be able to elect who they want,” Mellow said. “They feel they have term limits, and it’s in November.”

Read the full Centre Daily News story here.

Meetings, meetings, meetings

Article posted on March 30, 2007

Today in the district, I had several meetings scheduled.  A man from Pittsburgh was in this morning to talk about his company’s involvement in the health care system and I had two other meetings with school directors and superintendents that took most of the remainder of the day.  I worked in press calls from the Harrisburg Patriot, Associated Press and the Altoona Mirror, did some correspondence and answered phone calls.  I am still getting emails on House Bill 760, pertaining to gun control but not quite as many as the past couple of days.  I haven’t changed my position on this issue, I am still pro gun!  Charlotte and I are headed out to St. Patrick’s Church in Newry to meet friends and have a good fish dinner, it’s a buffet and I’m hungry.

– John

Still Pro-Gun!

Article posted on March 29, 2007

The first day back into the district needs to have some catch up time and today a got a little.  I worked from my home for a while this morning before going to the district office in Hollidaysburg where most of my staff had items to review with me.  I feel like the ice cream man on a hot summer’s day with staff lined up waiting for an opening to ask a question, review some correspondence or tell me about  a phone call or meeting.  I, of course, have a stack of mail and invitations waiting on my desk along with phone messages and some nice things like photos that were dropped off.  Today I got to see a very nice framed photo of me on the floor of the Senate taken on my inauguration day by Peter and Marie Hart of Blair County.  Sarah Long, also of Blair County, had dropped off two photos of me at the capitol with the Pennsylvania Fair Queen.  People have been very kind.  I have to leave now for a legislative reception sponsored by the Blair County Chamber of Commerce.  By the way, I am pro-gun (for all of the emailers).

– John

A visit from the District

Article posted on March 29, 2007

I was treated to a special visit by students from the Keith and Roosevelt Junior High School string ensembles.  After listening to them play in the East Wing Rotunda, I joined them for a photo with State Representative Rick Geist.  They played wonderfully, and I received compliments from many of the people that were passing through and stopped to listen.

Click here to view the photo.

FIDA, FCEDC Deliver Annual Report

Article posted on March 29, 2007

Sen. John Eichelberger (R-30) was the guest speaker at the Fulton Industrial Development Association’s annual meeting on Friday, and he told the group of about 40 business leaders and guests that he opposes the new taxes being proposed by the governor and that future problems with the state’s pension fund could “cost more than we can afford.”

Read the full Fulton County News story here.

Remove Legislative Exemption

Article posted on March 28, 2007

Regardless of how a Commonwealth Court rules, it’s time for the Legislature to abolish its right-to-hide exemption under the state’s open records law.

The state Treasurer’s Office is seeking a court ruling over whether it can release records regarding bonuses paid to legislative aides or whether the information falls under the General Assembly’s exemption to the law requiring public records to be open for public inspection.

Read the full Altoona Mirror story here.

I am Pro-2nd Amendment

Article posted on March 28, 2007

Wednesdays are generally my last day in Harrisburg for the week. Most members go back to their districts after session concludes, I generally try to get as much accomplished as possible in the afternoon and head back in the evening. It makes for a long day but I’m used to long days.

After a breakfast reception at 8:00 this morning, I had a Communications and Technology Committee hearing at 9:00 and a Finance Committee meeting at 9:30. What happens most mornings is that I attend one meeting for as long as I can, being especially attentive to confirmation hearings or voting matters, and then go to another meeting. I have staff cover meetings that I cannot stay for as well. This morning I started at my 9:00 hearing, went to my 9:30 meeting on time, voted on five issues, then returned to the hearing and stayed until session started at 11:00. I’m hopeful that things settle down after we get through all of the confirmations of cabinet secretaries.

This afternoon I was interviewed over the phone by the Bedford Gazette and the Altoona Mirror, then did a radio show for the Pennsylvania Family Institute and had a meeting with the Chief Clerk of the Senate concerning my Hollidaysburg office. In between everything today, I personally answered over 80 emails, mostly on the proposed gun legislation in the House of Representatives. For the record, I am a strong 2nd Amendment advocate! (maybe this will save people writing a few emails).

EICH’s Update

Article posted on March 28, 2007

Senator John Eichelberger’s inaugural monthly update is now online at YouTube.  Click here to visit his YouTube profile and view the new video.  Also, don’t forget to check out all of our photos posted on Flickr by clicking here.

Leaders Give Rendell Anti-Reform Earful

Article posted on March 28, 2007

Less than 20 of the 54 freshmen state lawmakers bothered to show up for a reform briefing from Gov. Ed Rendell on Monday, but those who did, said Rep. Mike Vereb, R-Montgomery, “missed a heck of a meeting.”A “livid” Senate Minority Leader Bob Mellow, D-Lackawanna, six attendees said, “ripped into” Rendell for his six-point reform program, with legislative leaders arguing the need for Rendell’s proposals to limit legislative terms to eight years. Several attendees said Rendell also declared the Legislature “should be cut in half” in terms of the number of members, another proposal Mellow attacked verbally.

Mellow “said that he was offended by the presentation in general, very offended by the governor,” said Sen. John Eichelberger, R-Blair. “He said he had done a lot of work for the governor, carried the ball for him, and now this! He spoke for five minutes, right after Rendell outlined his program, and he was angry. He wasn’t happy about some of the contents of the speech and he wasn’t happy about the lack of consultation and he wasn’t happy about the presentation.

Read the full Capitolwire story here.