It’s not a tough message to understand

Article posted on July 31, 2008

I attended an announcement in Everett this morning for the Everett Hardwood Company. This project entails demolishing some old structures on this site and making improvements to the 1889 structure that is there so that it can house a high-end, wooden garage door manufacturer and a new company that will make some sort of wooden composite heating pellets. I enjoyed the visit and tour of this old building. This project will be a big boost for the Everett area. I did a couple of newspaper interviews today and my every other week Christian radio program with Pastor Gary Dull. Gary has been doing this program for many years and when he asked me to be a regular guest, I was honored. We talked today mostly about the Bonusgate scandal. The conservative community is outraged by this behavior. I have been approached about participating in some type of rally at the capitol where people would come from across the state to voice their concern about the culture of corruption in Harrisburg. I think that it’s a great idea and agreed to help. I’m sure that others will as well. The simple message is that people want their government to reflect their standards and values; it’s not a tough message to understand.

– John

We’ll see how things shape up and hope for the best

Article posted on July 30, 2008

I worked again today at the office with no scheduled appointments. No appointments means, however, that media interviews and other things get put into my time today as well as staff issues. The bottom line is that I don’t get as much work done as I think I should have. There doesn’t appear to be much going on today in the news, more stories about Bonusgate and in talking to other members of the General Assembly, more rumors. My schedule requests are really coming in. I thought that the summer months were a little lighter last year? The county fairs are in full swing and I planned to attend all of them in the 30th District but already missed the Bedford County Fair and will probably miss the Fulton County Fair. I enjoy the fairs and not only see a lot of people and buy an animal at the livestock sales, but get some good food. It will be interesting to see how the attendance was at the fairs this year with the downturn in the economy. Judging by some other local events I have been to, the consensus is that the attendance has been down from prior years. This is an indicator of what could happen with the revenues expected in the current budget. If the money isn’t coming in as projected, a year end deficit could be the result. We’ll see how things shape up and hope for the best.

– John

We can all be ambassadors for our area

Article posted on July 29, 2008

I worked on letters and emails today as well as some dealings with staff. I am glad to have the opportunity to work on some things in the office without too heavy of a meeting and event schedule. I could spend the night here but Charlotte and Lillie wouldn’t appreciate it, I think. I was in “decorating mode” as my wife calls it for a lot of last year. I worked on getting all four district offices up and running, which included putting things up on the walls, arranging plants and decorating windows. I haven’t done any of those things lately and need to again soon. I have gotten a number of certificates and plaques and plants and flags and photos and mugs and other things that are representative of our area and the great people who live here. I always want to display what I have been given so that people coming to my offices can see what their communities have to offer. I have a number of things on display in my office at the capitol from back home. People that come to meet with me there very often comment on things and it gives me the opportunity to talk about that business or attraction. We can all be ambassadors for our area; I’ll try to get out my new items so I can be a better one.

– John

I’ll do my best to keep people informed

Article posted on July 28, 2008

My first official day back and I worked on some papers and emails, had a meeting at the Huntingdon office with a number of people on one issue involving a state agency and am heading off to the Shade Gap Picnic parade. I have made it to this event the last two years and am looking forward to it again this year. A lot of people come out to this and a lot of people from that area come home this week for the “picnic” and to see old friends and relatives. There didn’t appear to be too much in the newspapers again today. The Bonusgate stories keep coming. The Altoona Mirror did a piece requesting that the employees who received the money for illegal activity return it to the state. The Attorney General recently said that he was not requiring that. I am also hearing from local individuals that they would like the money returned to the state. I am glad that people and the media are engaged in these issues, this is another opportunity for real change. I fear that nothing substantive will get done unless the citizens of this state demand it. I’ll do my best to keep people informed.

– John

What a waste

Article posted on July 27, 2008

I missed church this morning. My brother’s new wife’s family is from New Mexico and they were flying home this morning so most of the family got together for breakfast with them in Bedford. I attended an Eagle Scout ceremony this afternoon and a dance put on by Blair Senior Services in Altoona where I got to sit in on the drums for a few numbers. In between everything, I got some office work done. There wasn’t much in the papers around the state today that I could see. A couple of articles about how many session days are scheduled for this fall, nine in one chamber, 10 in the other. The House says that they are coming in after the fall election even though the Senate will not. I applaud the Senate leadership for making the decision, asked for by some, to not return for the Sine Die session. This is where bad things often happen. This should be put into law, like many other states have done, but until it is, the Senate, and the House for that matter, can decide not to schedule those days. The House will not be able to do much damage in the days after the election but those members who collect per diem payments, and there are many, will be grabbing the cash. What a waste.

– John

Congratulations, Todd and Renee

Article posted on July 26, 2008

My brother, Todd, got married today. The wedding was in Bedford and with the reception and pictures, etc., Charlotte and I didn’t get anything else done. We got in last night at about 2:00 and we are beat. I have a couple of events scheduled for tomorrow and we still haven’t unpacked from our vacation yet. None-the-less, it’s back to work. Congratulations Todd and Renee!

– John

They need more attention

Article posted on July 25, 2008

We are flying back home today after having breakfast with our friends at the reunion in Tucson. It was good to get away and it will be good to get home. We have a busy weekend ahead so I’m jumping right back into the schedule. I will also have a lot of correspondence to handle, that’s a big part of the job. I would suspect that I’ll be weighing in much more on some of the proposed reform issues. They need more attention.

– John

Up With People reunion

Article posted on July 24, 2008

Charlotte and I are in Tucson today for the real purpose of our trip, my Up With People reunion. I travelled with an international cast of this performing group in 1978-1979, it was a tremendous experience. Every five years our cast of 120 people from all over the world gets together and this is the time. This group provides me with a great perspective and energy and the people are the best. I traveled for a year with these people and became very close to them all. We all need to be recharged now and then from our daily lives and I could argue that being in the General Assembly at this time gives me more reason than most to get a fresh outlook on life. I appreciate this opportunity and will be better for it.

– John

We’ll see how long that lasts

Article posted on July 23, 2008

We left Sedona this morning and headed south to Tucson, about a 4 hour drive. We made a stop at Montezuma’s Castle, which is an Sinagua Indian cliff dwelling. This is a National Monument, as are many of the other places we visited. We got to Tucson and checked into the place where we are staying for the next 2 nights before coming home. Things are pretty interesting in Harrisburg in the aftermath of the first round of Bonusgate arrests. The statements of how to clean up the place are coming in from all corners, some more sincere than others. Everybody wants to be a reformer this month. We’ll see how long that lasts.

– John

Take It Easy

Article posted on July 22, 2008

Even while in Arizona I stay in touch with the office by cell phone and emails. I have my Blackberry with me and my laptop. I did a newspaper interview today and read some stories on line. Technology is wonderful but you can never really get away. We are in Sedona and decided to stay an extra day before driving to Tucson on Wednesday. We drove out to a few landmark rock formations today, Bell Rock, Cathedral Rock and to a church built on the cliffs. We met a guy at the Sedona Chamber’s Visitors Center today who’s wife’s family lives in Altoona. I was a Commissioner when we hired his brother-in-law as a department head. It’s a small world. For those readers too young or too old to understand my reference yesterday about, “standing on a corner in Winslow Arizona”. This is from the famous Eagles song, Take it Easy”. They actually have a corner, museum like, display for people to take a photo at that spot. We’re going to get a swim in before dinner, better get back to being on vacation.

– John