This is a good competition to have

Article posted on July 31, 2011

There was an AP story today about the conservative credentials of the PA Senate. I was interviewed for the story and argued against what is the common rant these days, that the Senate is not as conservative as the House. Depending on the issue, on balance, I think that the Senate is just as conservative as the House. There are multiple examples of the House not cooperating with us on conservative leaning bills. The major issue this spring has been SB 1, the school voucher legislation. The Senate could not get a commitment from House leadership to run the bill after it was passed by the Senate, so it remains on our calendar. There were various other school reform measures that suffered a similar fate. Another subject that will probably die a quiet death in the House is a bill that would require anyone (except the State Police who lobbied for their exception), to report what they do with a state car. The abuse of state car usage is substantial. But since the House has members with state cars, I don’t expect this bill to get very far. In any event, this is a good competition to have. Hopefully, this mind set will do more to control spending, cut taxes and increase public accountability. Three things liberals would not be vying for.

-John

It looked like a success to me

Article posted on July 30, 2011

I co-sponsored the Northern Blair Health and Community Expo in Tyrone today. I was there early and couldn’t stay for long, but with the vendors and the crowd coming in, it looked like a success to me. I had to leave to get to the Bedford County Fair Jr. Livestock Sale where I bought a market hog, my usual purchase at these sales. This is the earliest of the four or five livestock sales I attend each year. The kids work hard raising their animals, and the community turns out to support them. I finished the day in Bedford at the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation Bedford Chapter’s 1st Annual Banquet, I was the speaker. They sold out the hall and had a great auction following dinner. This group works with youth, stream clean ups, educational programs and provides a lot of money for land acquisition and habitat improvement for wildlife. In PA to date, they have spent over $20 million on land access. The elk program in PA wouldn’t be where it is today without this foundation. They raised a lot of money tonight and it will be put to good use.

-John

He’s been a real inspiration to everyone who knows him

Article posted on July 29, 2011

I met with the Huntingdon-Bedford-Fulton Area Agency on Aging Advisory Council this morning in Hopewell. As they told me, “I’m just a kid”. One of the ladies was celebrating her 97th birthday and was relaying some stories about teasing people who asked about her longevity. At 52, I have a long way to go to match the wit and wisdom of those council members. I left there for a Resource, Conservation & Development Council meeting in Bedford. I didn’t know that the Obama administration dramatically changed this program over the past weeks. The federal employees were pulled out of the program as was office equipment. There are plans to continue the work of the Councils across America, but it will be more difficult. Charlotte and I went to an Eagle Scout ceremony this evening and then to Greg Griffith’s Run and Gun dinner to raise money for a cure for pancreatic cancer. Greg has struggled lately, but was there tonight and received a standing “O” when he entered the ballroom. He’s been a real inspiration to everyone who knows him.

-John

It was a generous and magnanimous gesture

Article posted on July 28, 2011

I had a full afternoon/evening. The PA Historic and Museum Commission had a program in Altoona that I attended along with tourism and preservation people from about 5 area counties. It was a review of a statewide PHMC survey concerning their priorities. Penn State Altoona had a very different dedication ceremony today. A large donation was made by a local businessman who asked to have a student center named for a former professor, not himself. It was a generous and magnanimous gesture. Tonight, I had a town hall in Warfordsburg. We packed the senior center with 70 people. The crowd had enough questions to keep us into overtime. It was a nice group of folks.

-John

Hopefully, the dogs will take to it

Article posted on July 27, 2011

Charlotte and I finally bought a new-to-us (used) vehicle today. Her 1996 Jeep with 193,000 miles on it served us well, but it was time for a change. The new addition to our family is a 2010 Ford Escape – red. I will still be in my truck (which now sports over 258,000 miles, by the way). Charlotte doesn’t like change so this is a big deal for her. Hopefully, the dogs will take to it. They like to travel.

-John

The budget setters must set better priorities

Article posted on July 26, 2011

There were a number of stories today concerning the no-new-tax pledge, since State Treasurer Rob McCord talked about it in his Press Club appearance yesterday. Having taken the pledge long before Tom Corbett did, I have heard the criticisms for years. Is it an ideal situation, no. But, the bottom line is that our government, state or federal, has plenty of money right now, to do everything it is mandated to do and additionally provides a plethora of other services that are not mandated (some not even remotely necessary). So, why would we raise existing taxes or institute new ones? Government budgets set spending priorities and generally don’t do a very good job of it. By taking away the possibility of raising additional money, the budget setters must set better priorities and work more efficiently. I often wonder what about this concept is so difficult for the critics to understand.

-John

It’s a great group to support if you have the time

Article posted on July 25, 2011

I’m back home and right back in the middle of a million things. My schedule requests are off the chart for this time of the year. My busiest seasons are usually spring and fall, I guess no one got that memo this summer. This evening, I attended our Habitat For Humanity Blair County chapter’s board meeting. I’ve been a member of the board for years. We are about ready to start our 15th home build. This organization gives people a hand up, not a hand out. The families who receive the homes pay for them. They get a good deal on the house and an interest free mortgage. They also get a chance to improve their lot in life. These days a Habitat home can mean more than just a nicer place to live, it can be a safe haven away from drug dealers and other people that prey on families. It’s a great group to support if you have the time.

-John

Senator John Eichelberger, Blair Senior Services and Tyrone Hospital

Article posted on July 25, 2011

**NEWS RELEASE**

Senator John Eichelberger, Blair Senior Services and Tyrone Hospital
Co-Sponsor
2nd Annual Northern Blair Health and Community Expo

Free information on health, finances, and social services

Hollidaysburg, PA – Monday, July 25, 2011, Senator John H. Eichelberger, Jr. (R-30), Blair Senior Services and Tyrone Hospital will co-sponsor the Northern Blair Health and Community Expo 2011.

WHO: Senator John H. Eichelberger, Jr., Blair Senior Services and Tyrone Hospital
WHAT: Northern Blair Health and Community Expo 2011
WHEN: Saturday, July 30, 2011, 10:00 A.M. – 1:00 P.M.
WHERE: Northern Blair Senior Center, Tyrone, PA

Northern Blair Health and Community Expo 2011 will have exhibits from state and local organizations and businesses promoting available social services, recreation and cultural services, home health and wellness services, and volunteer opportunities. Seniors will be able to have necessary screenings, obtain information, and win prizes.

For further information, please contact Wendy Reitz, Legislative Aide, at 1-800-EICH (3424) or email wreitz@pasen.gov. Media RSVP is appreciated.

It’s an eye opening piece by Brad Bumstead

Article posted on July 24, 2011

As Johnny and I head home from the beach, I read a few newspaper stories on line (he was driving). The Tribune Review had a couple things worth mentioning. They had a story about former State Rep. John Kennedy and his organization, Citizens Alliance for Pennsylvania or CAP. The story gave a brief history of John’s stands on legislative reform and mentioned me and Senator Mike Folmer as the start of the reform delegation in the Senate. John’s a good guy and is committed to changing the status quo in Harrisburg. The other article worth catching is one on the salaries and perks of the public sector union bosses. Many of these people make more than the Governor with much less responsibility. The article said that they are not paid with tax money. One could argue that they are, at least indirectly. Almost all government entities act as collection agents for the unions by deducting dues and other payments from the employees then writing a government check to the union. The dues also mean less take-home pay for employees, which is used as incentive to bargain for higher wages. And, of course, it’s tax money to start with. It’s an eye opening piece by Brad Bumstead.

-John

You can’t get that back home either

Article posted on July 23, 2011

As badly as we need it, we can’t get rain at home, but the beach was closed for part of the day as a thunder storm passed by.  We’re having a great time in any event.  I have gotten somewhat caught up on emails and some scheduling issues.  When you have a Blackberry, you can always be reached and your work, that can be done electronically, is always with you.  We’re off for another bowl of the famous She Crab soup tonight.  You can’t get that back home either.