When you’re down here, it’s always good to see a friendly face from back home

Article posted on April 30, 2012

It was a busy day in Harrisburg.  I met with a number of people from the district, but missed a Catholic school group that came in while I was at caucus.  The Appropriations staff worked on changes to the budget while we were away.  I think most people will be pleased with the tweaks that will be proposed as well as the timeliness of the process.  There was a lot of election discussion today and more tonight as members met at receptions and dinners around Harrisburg.  I heard some juicy tidbits.  I’m looking forward to seeing my old friends from The Alleghenies Tourism Council this evening.  They’re in town for meetings and made time to get together with myself and other local legislators.  When you’re down here, it’s always good to see a friendly face from back home.

-John

There will be plenty to catch up on

Article posted on April 29, 2012

I can’t think of a weekend in recent history where I was so backed up with work.  I had a few events scheduled, but most of my remaining time was doing paper work.  I did get a lot done, so I should be happy about that.  We’re back in Harrisburg tomorrow.  I’m stopping by the Bedford County Young at Heart Games Opening Ceremony at 9:00 then heading to the capitol.  I have a full day scheduled and am anxious to hear news about any proposed changes to the budget, the latest on redistricting and a few other matters that will have people buzzing.  After three weeks since our last session day, there will be plenty to catch up on.

-John

They do a great job in the Cove

Article posted on April 29, 2012

Another cold weekend.  Where has that summer weather gone?  After the Lighthouse and a pancake breakfast at St. John’s Church in Hollidaysburg, I traveled to the Roaring Spring YMCA to speak to the kids gathered at their annual Healthy Kids Day.  They fill the gym with children and supply lots of activities.  That Y has come a long way since I was a kid.  They do a great job in the Cove.  I worked at the office for a couple of hours before getting my yard mowed in a light rain.  Maybe I should have mowed, then hit the office.  The good news is that I got it all in and on any given Saturday, I’m lucky to do so.

-John

Government can never replace the work volunteers do in this country

Article posted on April 27, 2012

I went to the Hollidaysburg Veterans Home today for their annual volunteer luncheon.  There are hundreds of volunteers each year that contribute to the well being of the residents of that home.  They give their time and money to brighten the day of a vet.  This luncheon is a small token of appreciation for people who may contribute 200 plus hours to the home annually.  As Ronald Reagan said, government can never replace the work volunteers do in this country.

-John

If anyone thinks this trend is sustainable or good for Pennsylvania, let me know

Article posted on April 26, 2012

I didn’t have my notes with me last night so I’ll add a little more information about the Department of Public Welfare to this blog post.  In 1990, for every PA resident receiving public assistance there were 4.8 people who didn’t.  In 2000 the ratio changed to 3.3 to 1.  Today it is 2.1 to 1 and next year it’s expected to be 1.7 to 1.  If anyone thinks this trend is sustainable or good for Pennsylvania, let me know.

-John

It’s unfortunate that the problem has grown to this extent

Article posted on April 25, 2012

I went to the Huntingdon Chamber’s Coffey Connection this morning to hear guest speaker, DPW Secretary Gary Alexander.  There was a big crowd, including many social service people.  I thought that the Secretary did an excellent job explaining the facts of the budget and the history of uncontrolled growth in his department.  He wasn’t well received by all, however.  To those who rely on money from this department, cuts are a very personal issue.  I have learned that many people equate cuts in money to cuts in service.  Of course, that is not always the case.  In virtually every government program there are efficiencies that can be gained and abuse that can be stopped.  In addition to those standard principles, DPW’s service delivery system relies on provider agencies that often make a lot of money and advocate for lots more.  As the Secretary put it, he is trying to “right size” the welfare system in PA.  At the rate of growth we’ve experienced, either someone gets a handle on this system and weeds out the excess, or many of the folks who truly need services won’t get any.  It’s unfortunate that the problem has grown to this extent.

-John

Happy Election Day!

Article posted on April 24, 2012

Happy Election Day!  I hope, and strongly suspect, that most of my blog readers showed up at the polls today regardless of the weather or their busy schedules.  Thanks to all of you for exercising this very important right.  The office was closed for the election, but I got a few things done anyway.  I also attended the Huntingdon County Chamber’s Business After Hours at Edgewater Acres and the Tyrone Area Chamber of Commerce’s 96th Annual Dinner.  Both were a lot of fun.  Don’t stay up too late listening to the returns, I probably will.   

-John

I would hate to see the workers comp rates on these guys

Article posted on April 23, 2012

My partial day at the capitol ended up as a full day.  We got out of Hollidaysburg without snow, but Michele had plenty at her home before getting to the office.  We had a productive day in Harrisburg with Beth Krick, who is new to our staff.  We covered a lot of ground.  I saw something I never saw before at the capitol, soon after we arrived, two men came in to clean the windows.  I cleared everything away from that area and they proceeded to open the windows to my 4th floor office, stretched around the framework and cleaned the outside of the glass.  These guys were artisans.  I asked what they do if they can’t reach all of the glass.  They showed me the brackets bolted to the stone exterior on both sides of the window then showed me the hooks attached to the heavy belts they were wearing.  They explained that they hook onto these brackets and stand on the window ledge to clean the larger windows.  They also explained that there are only a few buildings in the state that have this bracket system.  I would hate to see the workers comp rates on these guys.

-John

Who would have guessed that there would be a winter weather advisory tonight after the warm days we’ve had

Article posted on April 22, 2012

The headlines today were pretty much all about the forthcoming election. Like everyone else, I’m ready for it to be over. I did get some office work done after church and caught a little of the Pens game. (At least they came back for a couple of games.) I got home a little after 4:00 and just got the lawn mowed as it started to rain. I’m going to Harrisburg early tomorrow with Michele and Charlie to do staff training and take care a few other things. I hope the weather cooperates. Who would have guessed that there would be a winter weather advisory tonight after the warm days we’ve had.

-John

The cabin was beautiful and the subject matter was very interesting

Article posted on April 21, 2012

This morning, for the second year, I ran in the Szwydek Memorial 5K.  The race moves to a different Fulton County school district each April.  Last year, I went to Forbes Road; today, we were in McConnellsburg.  The proceeds from the race send students on a field trip to Arlington National Cemetery where Steven Szwydek and other fallen heroes are buried.  I came in 4th overall with a time of 21:15.  I had third place until a 14 year-old friend of mine, Patrick Keefer, blew by me about a hundred yards from the finish.  He had a little more left in him after 3 miles than I did.  Charlotte went with me to the Alexandria Fire Company for their annual recognition banquet.  They changed it up this year and had a pig roast at lunchtime.  It was good pig, the best I’ve had in a long time.  We then went to a fundraiser for the Lighthouse, left that early and went to a gathering at a cabin near Lake Raystown for The American Chestnut Foundation.  The cabin was beautiful and the subject matter was very interesting. Maybe tomorrow I can get some office work done.