Not everyone in Harrisburg is a crook

Article posted on August 31, 2011

There’s a lot less on my schedule this week. I imagine it’s because school is starting and people are busy getting their kids ready or finishing up a late summer vacation. In any event, it’s nice to have some breathing room. I got a few calls made, did a few media interviews, finished emails and took care of other things that needed attention. Unfortunately, the news about other members, or past members, of the legislature isn’t this bland. Senator Jane Orie was just charged with tampering with evidence in her political corruption trial and former House Speaker John Perzel, today, pleaded guilty to charges against him. I haven’t seen the details of that agreement yet, but there were 80 plus charges against him so any deal would be fairly complex. Not everyone in Harrisburg is a crook, but there are undeniably some that fit that definition.

-John

You never know what people have endured in their personal lives

Article posted on August 30, 2011

I have presented citations to a couple of people who turned 100. Today, I presented one to a lady in southern Huntingdon County. She has quite a tragic past including being beaten as a child and sold as a child bride when she was 14. Her father murdered her mother when she was an adult and spent the remainder of his days in prison. She had other stories, as well about her very difficult life. You never know what people have endured in their personal lives, and I would have never guessed that this sweet elderly lady lived through so much pain. I hope that she is well cared for every day that she has left on this earth.

-John

That sounds like summer to me

Article posted on August 29, 2011

The kids in the school district I live in went back to class today. I can remember those days, it doesn’t seem like that long ago. On balance, I’m glad to be at this age rather than starting out, especially with the way things are these days. Well, this is the first unofficial sign that summer is over. I’m going to ignore it since I no longer have to climb on a school bus. It’s still August, and it’s 80 degrees in the afternoon. That sounds like summer to me.

-John

Let’s hope that the second half of the session goes better than the first

Article posted on August 28, 2011

I am asked often about what will be on the legislature’s agenda this fall. This is a critically important subject for several reasons. First of all, we didn’t get much done this spring, and since next year is an election year and the faint hearted won’t want to make any controversial votes, the pressure is really on for the next few months. The Governor couldn’t seem to make commitments on specific legislation so far, and has the legislature running a little gun shy. He needs to work with us on his agenda items. He should lead the charge on specific bills addressing school choice and selling the state stores, after all, he campaigned on these issues. And because of the two blue ribbon commissions he authorized, he should announce specific plans to address Marcellus Shale issues and transportation funding. There are several other high profile topics that could be voted on this fall including prevailing wage. Again, it will take his leadership to accomplish any of these goals. Let’s hope that the second half of the session goes better than the first.

-John

The news is all “Irene”

Article posted on August 27, 2011

The news is all “Irene”. Every news channel we turned to this evening was covering what has happened and what is expected. Charlotte joined me in the East Freedom firemen’s parade tonight. The fire company trusted me, again, to drive one of their trucks to lead the parade. There were no casualties. The rain held off until we got home. It will be interesting to see how much damage this hurricane causes nationally and how much state and federal aid is rendered. This will be another test for the government in this difficult economy.

-John

“Making hay when the sun shines”

Article posted on August 26, 2011

I attended the Hollidaysburg High School building re-dedication ceremony this morning. I didn’t graduate from this district, but I live in it now and, of course, pay taxes in it. I ended the day in Williamsburg, where I was last night as well. Tonight was the last of the livestock sales this year, at least for me. I departed from my usual market hog purchase and bought the Reserve Champion market goat. I got a nice banner and my picture taken in the show ring with the goat. I talked to a lot of people tonight. The farmers are concerned about any rain coming from Irene. It’s true what they say about “making hay when the sun shines”.

-John

It’s a busy week in Williamsburg

Article posted on August 25, 2011

I did my every other Thursday appearance today on a Christian radio program with Pastors Gary Dull and Dave Kisler. Gary brought up my recent blog posts on the “incumbency protection program”. We discussed additional examples of the plan including producing cable access television programs and giving away flags, note pads and calendars. These things are all done at taxpayer expense, of course. I got to the Williamsburg Farm Show parade tonight. They had a nice turnout. I’ll be back tomorrow night for the livestock sale. It’s a busy week in Williamsburg.

-John

This is a small segment of the “Incumbency Protection Program”

Article posted on August 24, 2011

I wanted to finish up my comments on downsizing the legislature last night, but I felt it important to write on the subject matter I did. A few examples of things engineered to keep people/voters coming into a legislator’s office are: requiring everyone applying to become a notary public to get their senator’s signature, doing public service announcements asking people to come into their office for various and sundry things, especially PennDot work, keeping the drivers license and vehicle registration terms very short and having notaries on legislator’s staff. The model we have currently actually promotes circumventing the systems the state has in place to promote the self interests of the legislature. This is a small segment of the “Incumbency Protection Program”. It needs to be changed.

-John

Keep his family in your prayers

Article posted on August 23, 2011

The big news today was about an earthquake that struck in the D.C. area with aftershocks felt in PA. The capitol was evacuated for a brief time and here at home, everyone has a story about where they were when they felt the rumbling. I was, unfortunately, driving back from a committee hearing in Harrisburg and missed the experience. Maybe we’ll get another. Today also marked the memorial service of Huntingdon County businessman and philanthropist Dave Goodman. My commitment in Harrisburg prevented me from attending the service, but I did get to the funeral home last evening and spoke with the family. Dave will be missed by many. Keep his family in your prayers.

-John

The net financial gain will be next to nothing

Article posted on August 22, 2011

Following up on my post about downsizing the state legislature, my thoughts are that it’s a great idea, but it has to include a change in how the legislature does business. If the legislature, particularly the House, continues to participate in the “Incumbency Protection Program”, the reduction of members will be offset by the hiring of staff and the net financial gain will be next to nothing. Every member of the legislature is glad to help a constituent with a problem. But, many members of the General Assembly play a game to attract constituents/voters into their offices. Even some of our state laws were undoubtedly crafted to bring people in to see their legislator. This practice is more focused on getting votes than having an efficient system that would better serve the citizenry. I’ll explain more in another writing.

-John