Lillie misses me if I’m out too much

Article posted on September 30, 2008

I had another editorial board meeting today, The Bedford Gazette. Each meeting is different with issues addressed that are particular to that area and the news that’s hot. We even talked today about how the national economic situation would effect the state budget, state borrowing, Turnpike borrowing and a projected revenue shortfall. I spent some time with staff this afternoon and reviewed schedule requests among other things. I have more requests now than I ever had and I am not sure why. I don’t know if it is just coincidence, if people have now gotten me on their mailing lists (since I was new last year) or if they really like me and want me to come to their event? I hope it’s the latter. Anyway, I will do my best to get to what I can since I think that it is important to spend time with the people I represent. Lillie misses me if I’m out too much, however.

– John

I have been fortunate to have good people

Article posted on September 29, 2008

I started this morning at the Snake Spring Valley Christian School. A donation was made to this school and St. Thomas Catholic School of Bedford for $5,000 each from Motorola Corporation as part of the Bridge Foundation’s EITC program. The Educational Improvement Tax Credit or EITC program is a tax credit established by the state that allows businesses to donate to qualified schools or educational programs and receive a substantial tax credit. I helped direct this money in Bedford County and could see today that the schools that received the money were well deserving. I got some office work done this afternoon and met with staff on several issues. Our new people are doing well. In this job, you need to rely on staff for a lot of things because you just can’t do everything yourself. I didn’t realize how big a role these people played in this position until I got here. I have been fortunate to have good people.

– John

I can’t believe that we can’t get this done

Article posted on September 28, 2008

My son Johnny was home today. He went to church with me and we watched some Clint Eastwood movies then did some shooting. He headed back to Washington this evening and promised to call me when he gets close to his apartment. I still worry even though he’s pretty capable of taking care of himself. There wasn’t much in the news today about state issues. Most of what I saw was focused on the new federal deal concerning the economy. This national problem will have a profound impact on the state’s economy and hence, the state’s budget. With the state’s current revenue shortfall, projections of a $2 billion budget deficit are now being discussed. The small cut the Governor has announced just won’t do it. If we don’t take any substantive action in the legislature before we get back next year, it will be too late. The Governor will have his new budget announced in February and we will be focused on that. We can avoid at least a portion of our future problems if we get out ahead of things, I can’t believe that we can’t get this done.

– John

Our right to keep and bear arms

Article posted on September 27, 2008

I get to do a lot of interesting things in this position and today I did something that I won’t soon forget, I went to firefighter training with the Altoona Fire Department. I got to put out a fire inside a burning building, cut into an old pickup truck to save an accident victim, treat a victim of a fall and carry him to safety, climb the truck ladder to the roof of a building and cut through the roof with a chain saw and an axe to create ventilation and get some general instruction about fire fighting. It was a great experience. I learned much and gained a new found respect for the fire service. I ended the day at The Bedford/Fulton Friends of the NRA dinner in Breezewood. They had some great stuff at their auction, the food was good and the people were tremendous.. We need folks from our area and across America to remember and remind others about our right to keep and bear arms. I am thankful for this effort and do what I can to support it.

– John

I just don’t understand why anyone would put their business ahead of public safety

Article posted on September 26, 2008

I’m back from another day in Harrisburg where I attended a meeting of the Joint State Government Commission’s task force on Methadone. I am one of two Senators that sit on a panel connected to this group so I have attended these meetings to get a better understanding of all that is going on with this issue. I am interested in proposing a bill that would require some people who receive methadone treatment to have a designated driver. From what I understand, people who are just entering this treatment and those who have increased dosages during treatment are affected more by the drug. I am told that people on the program for a longer period of time level out and are less impaired by the drug. A couple of the clinic operators on this panel are violently opposed to this potential bill and restated that again today. I just don’t understand why anyone would put their business ahead of public safety.

– John

Senator Eichelberger to Host Bedford Town Hall

Article posted on September 26, 2008

Opportunity for constituents to discuss concerns

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

On Thursday, October 9, 2008, Senator John H. Eichelberger, Jr. will host a Town Hall meeting in Bedford County.

“These Town Hall meetings are very important,” John says. “They give constituents a chance to personally bring their questions and concerns to my attention. I look forward to returning to Bedford County this year to help my constituents in any way that I can,” he says.

The event will begin with a brief legislative update and a question and answer period to follow.

John is increasing the number of Town Hall meetings district-wide in 2008, from one in Bedford, Blair, Fulton and Huntingdon Counties, to two in each county and one in Mifflin County.

WHO: State Senator John H. Eichelberger, Jr.
WHAT: Town Hall Meeting
WHEN: Thursday, October 9, 2008, 6:30 p.m.-7:30 p.m.
WHERE: Harrison-Manns Choice Community Center, Manns Choice, PA

Media RSVP is appreciated.

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Please keep them in your prayers

Article posted on September 25, 2008

I started the day with an Ag tour at Penn State. This is sponsored by the Ag Council and is held annually at the university. I went last year and looked forward to coming back. They divided us into groups of about 12 people and we went to various buildings on campus for 20 minute presentations on different topics concerning agriculture. Professors, researchers and technicians as well as the Dean of the College presented a lot of technical, cutting edge, information. We heard about the latest nanotechnology on forestry products, cellulosic ethanol, insect destruction and how the testing and field work is done to gauge the smell reduction of manure. It was a fascinating morning with the best ag school in America. My proudest moment today was my 4:00 meeting with two young marines who just graduated from basic training. Their parents had flags flown over the state capitol and wanted me to present the flags to them. These young men, in their dress uniforms, arrived with their families and looked just like they were taken from a recruiting poster. It was an honor for me to be with them and wish them well and thank them on behalf of our community. They are only home for a short time before going south for more training and then shipping out. Please keep them in your prayers.

– John

What have we come to?

Article posted on September 24, 2008

I’m back home from Harrisburg for one night. We had another jam packed day at the capitol and I had one appointment on the way home, an editorial board meeting at the Lewistown Sentinel. I am currently in the midst of editorial board meetings with all of the papers in the district. We passed the new dog law bill through the Ag Committee today. There were some good changes to the bill but not enough to garner my vote. Clearly, the media attention surrounding this bill has overtaken reason. There is a need to address shortcomings in the law that allow bad operators to do inhumane things to dogs. Unfortunately, instead of addressing these shortcomings, the administration started from scratch and rewrote everything for every commercial kennel. If this current bill passes and is signed into law, the good operators must substantially change their business including cutting the number of their dogs, probably by half. In several areas of this new law, Pennsylvania will actually have more restrictions on people who have dogs than people who care for our seniors or our children. What have we come to?

– John

I have listened to all sides and will try to get to the best resolution

Article posted on September 22, 2008

I’m back in Harrisburg and have an opportunity to catch up on a couple of things this evening in the office. These last few weeks are nonstop with people wanting to see me on bills that we are voting on. I was told today that this pace is typical for the end of a session. There are still a lot of games being played and it is tough to figure out what will be the end result. My bonus ban bill got through the State Government Committee in the House today along with a bill that was sponsored by the chairman of the committee, Babette Josephs. Her bill is much weaker than mine and that concerns me. I am glad to see some action on this issue, but I want to see a new law that really addresses the problem, not window dressing. Both bills are headed to the House Appropriations Committee and I hope that they make the right decision and get my bill through the House. We have an Agriculture Committee meeting on the proposed dog law bill tomorrow. There are a number of provisions in this bill that need taken out or changed substantially. There will be an omnibus amendment to do at least some of this on the table but maybe not enough to correct the errors in the legislation. I am anxious to see the final language. This is a bill that is misunderstood by many who hear just the administration’s version of this issue. I have listened to all sides and will try to get to the best resolution.

– John

There are too many games played in Harrisburg

Article posted on September 21, 2008

I finally got some paperwork done today. I didn’t have a chance this week to do much work at my desk and don’t think that I will this coming week. This coming week like last week is filled with meetings from early morning to late in the evening. We have six session days left and will see what we can get done. I often remind people that they (the citizens of Pennsylvania) are better protected when the legislature is not is session. We can do a lot of harm over the next few weeks or we can help the people of this state. I am not sure which way things will turn out, but I suspect that more harm will be done than good. Our absence of attention to the shortfall in state revenues, our hope that the transportation problems we face will magically fix themselves and the probability that we won’t get a number of the good government reform bills passed that were all teed up and ready for an easy, quick vote are bad news for the people of this great Commonwealth. There are too many games played in Harrisburg with people’s lives, this session is a testament to that fact.

– John