We had a very engaged crowd of conservative thinkers

Article posted on May 31, 2012

I had another day that was scheduled pretty tightly.  I got to YTI’s open house in
Altoona this morning, then did the radio program I do every other Thursday, then a conference call, then went to Martinsburg for a Blair Chamber Business After Hours, then to a Town Hall in Huntingdon.  The Town Hall was great.  We had a very engaged crowd of conservative thinkers who weren’t afraid to state their convictions.  We discussed the state budget, pensions, transportation, the Youth Forestry Camp, privatization of the state stores, corrections, welfare,  the State Police radio system and other subjects.  We went a little over our normal hour because of the volume of questions, but it was worth it.

-John

It was a unique and meaningful service

Article posted on May 30, 2012

It was one of those mornings where I was running from one thing to the next.  I attended the Bedford County Development Association’s annual breakfast at the Bedford Springs at 7:30.  Left there early to attend the board meeting of Blair County Drug and Alcohol Program, Inc. where I gave an update on the budget, liquor store privatization and a pharmacy monitoring system proposal.  I left there to go to Saxton for a Memorial Day service.  Years ago, Memorial Day or Decoration Day, as it used to be called, was on May 30th.  So, the Bedford County Historical Society organized a ceremony for this day that focused on the Civil War veterans buried at the cemetery behind Tussey Mountain High School.  They did an exemplary job, as usual.  They had several people in era dress, the high school band and chorus, an honor guard, a canon salute, and a keynote address by a retired Army General.  They decorated over 40 Civil War veteran graves at the cemetery.  It was a unique and meaningful service.

-John

It was a real treat, especially when you didn’t have time for supper

Article posted on May 29, 2012

I don’t remember thunder storms continuing for as long as these storms have.  We’ve had them since Saturday, with a reprieve on Memorial Day.  I’ve seen rain for several days in a row, but I don’t recall the continuous thunder and lightening.  We had a LEAD meeting tonight at the Licking Creek Twp. building in Fulton County.  We had a good discussion of the agenda items as well as a presentation from Penn State on the latest about Marcellous Shale drilling.  Our hostess shared some deer bologna after the meeting.  It was a real treat, especially when you didn’t have time for supper.

-John

To all of the veterans and their loved ones who were left behind to worry, thank you

Article posted on May 28, 2012

I hope that everyone had a good Memorial Day.  I spoke at the McConnellstown service this morning at a beautiful, historic cemetery behind the Playhouse.  They have as part of their ceremony, a reading of an order from the Grand Army of the Republic.  The language of that day was powerful.  Several men read passages including Charlie States who is a veteran and lives in that area.  The weather was perfect this morning and the rain held off all day.  To all of the veterans and their loved ones who were left behind to worry, thank you.

-John

This is a very unusual set of circumstances

Article posted on May 27, 2012

The newspaper stories today were mostly about the special election for the Senate seat last held by Jane Orie.  When a vacancy occurs in a Senate seat, the Lieutenant Governor can choose a date for a Special Election to be held for that office.  He chose August 7th for this one.  Republican and Democrat nominees will be selected by a process prescribed in their party rules, so no Primary election will take place.  At this point in the redistricting process, the latest map has this district being divided up into neighboring districts and the district number being moved to the Poconos.  That means whoever is elected in August will only serve for just over two years.  This is a very unusual set of circumstances.

-John

It shows a certain pride from the people who live there

Article posted on May 26, 2012

This morning I helped with the Western Pennsylvania Conservancy’s flower bed planting.  I’ve done this every year since I’ve been in the Senate.  I pick a different location and today’s was the corner of 7th Street and Chestnut Ave. in Altoona.  These plantings really make a difference at intersections and in prominent locations around a community.  It shows a certain pride from the people who live there.  The Altoona Garden Club was in charge this morning.  I was the only man there until Brian, from the Conservancy, showed up.  They treated me well.  They even had homemade cookies.  I got a little office work done after that then worked on a project at home.  I’m hoping to get somewhat caught up this weekend.  I can hope.

-John

They did an outstanding job

Article posted on May 25, 2012

The heat is back.  I don’t have a lot scheduled.  Most people don’t have events planned during Memorial Day weekend.  This morning, I attended a “Pennsylvania Presentation” by the 4th graders at McAuliffe Heights charter school in Altoona.  I was invited by Jordan McClure who was Coach Bill Cowher in the presentation.  They did an outstanding job.  I met several of the teachers and parents.  I went to Mt. Union for the next several hours.  I toured a business, IFC, that provides housing and day care for mentally challenged people.  I met a man named Mark who showed me his room and told me a little about himself.  I promised him lunch sometime soon.  He has a favorite spot in Mt. Union that sounds great.  I left there for Mt. Union High to present certificates to two graduates.  They were a good looking group of kids.  I wish them well.

-John

If you haven’t taken the time to watch it, please do so

Article posted on May 24, 2012

I started early this morning with a LEAD breakfast meeting in Altoona.  We were joined by two of Senator Pat Toomey’s staff, which was nice.  I met with constituents and did office work most of the day.  This evening I traveled to Cumberland County to participate in a “Four Alarm Fire” presentation.  Joining Rep. Steve Bloom and I were Matt Brioulette from the Commonwealth Foundation and Revenue Secretary Dan Muesser.  Things went well.  The audience was polite and supportive of our message.  Every showing of the DVD helps someone better understand the fiscal crises we face in Pennsylvania.  If you haven’t taken the time to watch it, please do so.  It’s on my website and it’s only about 8 1/2 minutes long.  It’s important.

-John

I don’t subscribe to the tax and spend model they want

Article posted on May 23, 2012

This was one of the most successful weeks for constituent work that I’ve ever had.  My staff and I worked to get a piece of legislation through the Senate and we worked with a department to get permission to do something that was critically important to a local family.  We didn’t slack off the many other day to day requests, but these two items stood out.  There were union protesters at the Hollidaysburg office today for a few minutes.  I was in session at that time, but got a report from staff that they dropped off a paper that gave the Corbett budget an “F”.  They said they weren’t happy I voted for it.  I guess they don’t realize that the budget I voted for was changed from the budget Corbett requested.  In any event, I don’t subscribe to the tax and spend model they want.  I guess we’ll just have to agree on another subject.

-John

That is what the working families of Pennsylvania expect and deserve

Article posted on May 22, 2012

We got House Bill 165 passed in the Senate today.  This is the bill that would help owners of service dogs that were attacked by other dogs.  We had a bit of a floor fight, but the final tally was 38 – 10.  The bill now returns to the House for concurrence.  I had two hearings today, plus a series of meetings with constituents and others.  Lately, every second is scheduled.  I got some time in the office last night and again tonight to just work.  That helps with my sanity.  I sent a letter to the editor this morning in response to a letter published last week in the Morrison’s Cove Herald from Jim Krug, the stealth president of the Altoona teacher’s union.  I say stealth because he describes himself as a “working-class constituent” and fails to mention his position as a union boss.  Over the past year or so, I’ve seen two or three published letters from teacher’s union folks.  In every case, the facts were vastly  wrong.  In this most recent example, virtually everything was wrong. I could go back and refute his misinformation line by line, instead, I’ll get right to the point.  He wants our citizens to pay higher taxes and wants more tax money for the salaries and benefits of himself and his fellow union employees.  My interest is to keep taxation and spending in line.  To make certain that every dollar is spent efficiently and effectively.  To protect you and I from government over-reach and to bring as much accountability to the process as possible.  That is what the working families of Pennsylvania expect and deserve.

-John