It was like Planet of the Apes

Article posted on April 30, 2009

Rep. Jerry Stern and I went to our alma mater, Central High School, this afternoon to present the state champion Mock Trial Team with citations. The school had an assembly for this recognition and we had some photos taken with the kids and the advisors afterwards. Next Tuesday they go to the national competition. I wish them all the best. This evening, after a Blair County Chamber Legislative Reception, Charlotte and I went to Penn State Altoona to see former Secretary of State Madeline Albright. In many respects, I wish that I hadn’t gone. We got to see Henry Kissinger last summer and I can tell you that she is no Henry Kissinger. I listened to about an hour of insults hurled at Republicans. I learned tonight that we’ve had two perfect Presidents in our lifetime, Clinton and Obama. And apparently, all of the news stories were wrong about the downfall of the Soviet Union, President Reagan didn’t really have anything to do with it. As Ted Nugent would say, it was like the Planet of the Apes.

– John

My thumbs can only do so much

Article posted on April 29, 2009

I drove home from Harrisburg took the dogs out and fed them before heading to an Altoona Community Theatre event with Charlotte. I got some work done at the capitol this afternoon. I am pretty booked for the next couple of days and need to get some time to answer emails and letters. As we get closer to the budget deadline, communications to me escalate. I get to the point where I just can’t answer every email. I respond to the vast majority but not all. A tip for emailers would be to keep it short and only cover one subject. The really long ones that bring up everything from soup to nuts are difficult to read through on my Blackberry, which is where I see most of my emails. I’m getting faster on the Blackberry, but my thumbs will only do so much.

– John

Senator Eichelberger to Host Third Annual William Penn Leadership Program

Article posted on April 29, 2009

 

Altoona, PA – On Thursday, May 7, 2009, Senator John H. Eichelberger, Jr. will host about 139 select high school juniors at Penn State Altoona for his 2009 William Penn Leadership Program.

Students representing 22 high schools from Bedford, Blair, Fulton, and Huntingdon counties will roll up their sleeves and experience government up close and personal.  Students will debate legislation they have researched, hear from experts in technology, and interact with their peers and John.  

Students will debate Senate Bill 1250, a joint resolution proposing an amendment to the Pennsylvania Constitution, recognizing marriage between a man and a woman, and Senate Bill 1357, which adds tax provisions to tobacco products.  Both of these bills were introduced in the 2007-2008 Legislative Session but were not passed.

“I look forward to this event each year.  The William Penn Leadership Program is a terrific way for students to experience the legislative process, going beyond the textbook.  This is designed as a non-partisan event that allows students to learn how to articulate a position and how to move a bill through the process.  The goal is to help students develop an interest in good citizenship and to give them a better understanding of their government,” John says.

WHO:             State Senator John H. Eichelberger, Jr.

WHAT:           2009 William Penn Leadership Program

WHEN:          Thursday, May 7, 2009, 7:45 a.m. – 1:30 p.m.

WHERE:        Penn State Altoona

     Misciagna Family Center for Performing Arts – Hite Lobby

 Media RSVP is appreciated. 

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I can say that he didn’t meet with me or the Family Caucus

Article posted on April 28, 2009

I had a busy day today with meetings including a Local Government Committee meeting and our first Family Caucus meeting. At our Family Caucus, we had Peg Luksik, the PA Family Institute and Diane Gramely from the American Family Association. We covered a lot of ground and have plans to announce a number of great bills to protect our family values. The big news today in Harrisburg and across the country was the party switch of U.S. Senator Arlen Specter. This was a surprise to everyone I know. We had heard stories about a possible switch a couple of months ago then heard that it wouldn’t happen. I was told last night that Arlen was at the capitol yesterday. I would assume that he was meeting with the Governor to firm up his arrangements to switch parties. I don’t know that for sure, but I can say that he didn’t meet with me or the Family Caucus.

– John

We are not in a position to survive with our current level of spending

Article posted on April 27, 2009

It was unusual for me to already be in Harrisburg on a Monday morning. I took part in a news conference at 9:30 on the “card check” issue. Former Mass. Governor Mitt Romney was there by telephone. He actually vetoed similar legislation when he was Governor. I then went to a rally in the rotunda on card check after our newser. The Bishop Guilfoyle girls basketball team was in the capitol today to be honored for their state championship victory. We had photos taken and then Rep. Rick Geist took them to the House for recognition. The girls were very polite and very tall. This afternoon at the Press Club luncheon, Senator Jake Corman, Chairman of the Appropriations Committee, told the gathering that the Senate is working on a $27.5 billion dollar budget, about $1.5 billion less than the Governor’s. It’s a tough budget with lots of cuts and no tax increases. This is what we need to do to even have a chance to survive the budgets of two to four years from now. Our financial situation will get much worse and we are not in a position to survive with our current level of spending.

– John

Maybe I can clone myself before Wednesday

Article posted on April 26, 2009

I made a rare Sunday night appearance in Harrisburg. The Pennsylvania School Boards Association’s conference is this weekend and they invited me to attend their legislative dinner this evening. The Education Committee Chairs of the House and Senate were the speakers. Jeff Piccola, the Senate Chair, did a great job. He answered some tough questions from the crowd of school board directors about charter schools and testing. His answers were fair and honest. All too often I see people cater to their crowd and not provide true information. Jeff told it like he saw it. I am at the capitol now getting a little bit of a head start on the week, I can really use it. I have several committee meetings this week and a Local Government Commission meeting. Maybe I can clone myself before Wednesday.

– John

I don’t know what part of the 2nd amendment some people don’t understand

Article posted on April 25, 2009

I was in Lancaster County most of the day for a Commonwealth Foundation fundraiser. We shot sporting clays in the morning and spent the afternoon with Ted Nugent. Ted spoke to the group and did a bow shooting demonstration; he did very well. One of my personal highlights today was playing the drums with the rock band at the sportsman’s club. I joined them for one number, it was fun. I heard a lot of discussion about many issues, but most of the talk was about the 2nd Amendment. Between our Governor and the Obama administration, this constitutional right is under attack. I did a television interview today and listed several of the most recent attempts to circumvent the constitution; one gun a month, “assault” weapon ban, taxing ammunition and ammunition fingerprinting. We have to be vigilant and fight to preserve our freedoms. I don’t know what part of the second amendment some people don’t understand.

– John

She’ll miss me

Article posted on April 24, 2009

Representative Jerry Stern and I figured out tonight at a spaghetti dinner in Martinsburg that we had eaten breakfast, lunch and dinner together today. We started this morning at the annual legislative breakfast of the Blair Countians for Drug Free Communities, then had lunch at the Hollidaysburg Veterans Home for their annual volunteer recognition and ended up eating spaghetti to raise money for our alma mater, Central High School’s mock trial team that won the state championship and is headed to nationals. I’m now in Lititz so that I can get to an event for the Commonwealth Foundation at 8:00 tomorrow morning. Lillie was disappointed to see me go out on a Friday night, she’ll miss me.

– John

I had a busy day

Article posted on April 23, 2009

I had a busy day and I’m back in the office to take care of a few things tonight following a dinner in Huntingdon County. It’s after 10:00, but I’ve got to get a few things ready for tomorrow. I read to the Huntingdon County Head Start kids this afternoon. They were a talkative bunch. I read a book entitled, “What Do You Want To Be” and we discussed what they wanted to be. Most wanted to be police officers, but some wanted to be Spiderman. One girl wanted to be a princess and one a mail carrier. I tried to explain that the Spiderman and princess jobs were tough to get. I met with a constituent today in Huntingdon and did my regular radio program with Pastor Gary Dull from the Hollidaysburg office. I have a full day tomorrow that includes a breakfast meeting at 7:45 so I’d better get my things in order and get home.

– John

The public television folks didn’t have good answers

Article posted on April 22, 2009

I got back from Harrisburg tonight after a busy three days. This morning we had a hearing on the funding of public television. If you didn’t know, the Governor cut all of the funding for public television. I could only stay for an hour because I had a news conference, but the time I spent there was very interesting. I was the only Senator asking tough questions about the finances of the public television stations. When I left, National Public Radio followed me into the hallway for an interview. They are in the same situation through a different medium but do not get funding from the state. Regardless of how tight the budget is, the primary question here concerns the appropriateness of funding a business that is not a core function of state government. In addition, in today’s economy when commercial television stations, radio stations and newspapers are hurting, should the government fund a media source that competes against them. The public television folks didn’t have good answers for these questions.

– John