It seems that the right people are in place to make it happen

Article posted on July 31, 2013

I stopped by the reception for the opening of the Penn Highlands Community College Center at the Logan Valley Mall this morning. I understand that the idea of having a community college center at a mall is not new, but I never saw it before. They get great exposure at the mall, especially for the demographic group they are looking for. They already hit their enrollment goal and haven’t officially opened their doors. Not a bad start. I left there for a transportation hearing at the Capitol. We had the Secretary of Transportation, the COO and the new CEO of the Turnpike Commission. I learned that the CEO was raised in Altoona. We reviewed issues pertaining to their financial situation, which isn’t good, what they’ve done to clean up the legacy of corruption they inherited and the improvement projects scheduled. I think we were all pleased with their answers and the direction they want to go. It will take time to get credibility back to this organization and they know that. It seems that the right people are in place to make it happen. Let’s hope so.

-John

I have a lot of time in the truck this week

Article posted on July 30, 2013

I got an early start this morning for a Huntingdon County Chamber breakfast. The speaker was Congressman G. T. Thompson, who gave us an update on what’s happening in Washington. I left there for McConnellsburg, where I attended a Commissioner’s meeting to hear about an issue affecting an arrangement for services they have and several other issues that are important to the citizens of Fulton County. I got to the office in time to make calls and take care of a few things with staff. I have a lot of time in the truck this week. If my schedule goes as planned, I’ll hit 316,000 miles by the end of the week. It’s time for another oil change.

-John

My prayers are with the Governor’s family

Article posted on July 29, 2013

I’m back to a regular schedule today. I met with people on an economic development project this morning, then met with a nonprofit organization, did some office work, sat for an extensive interview on local government issues for a magazine this afternoon, then rode in the Shade Gap Picnic parade this evening. It’s good to be home. We got word today of the death of former Governor William Scranton. I never knew Governor Scranton, but had a lot of respect for his leadership based on what I have always heard from people who served with him. His son, former Lt Governor Bill Scranton, was very helpful to me as I started in the Senate. My prayers are with the Governor’s family.

-John

I thank them all for giving me an experience that shaped my life in many ways

Article posted on July 28, 2013

Charlotte and I returned today from my Up With People reunion. I traveled with an international cast across the U.S., extensively through Mexico, and throughout Argentina in 1978-79. It’s hard for me to believe that this 11 month journey took place 35 years ago. Our reunion was in Tucson, AZ, which was the former headquarters of UWP and where we trained. I did a little MC work, sang some, but primarily was a band member. I usually played trumpet, often latin percussion and on a rare occasion drums. One thing I never did was dance. I reminded our former show manager last night about what she said over the PA at practice one time to admonish me for not moving as well with the music as the rest of the cast, “loosen up Eichelberger, you look like a stick up there!” I hadn’t thought about that for years. It was great to see my friends from that special year. They gathered from around the world to fellowship and remember. I thank them all for giving me an experience that shaped my life in many ways.

-John

That is usually not a good basis for the long term

Article posted on July 27, 2013

I was at a meeting earlier in the week with community leaders from across one of our local counties. We were asked what we thought about a long list of issues that affected the economy and quality of life of the citizens of that county. While I thought that exercise was worthwhile, I caution people not to accept those opinions as anything scientific. In a position like mine, I hear from a lot of folks about their problems and try my best to learn about the needs of our area. But, having said that, I don’t always have specific data on a given issue and realize that my opinion might be shaped by who I have heard from and is not necessarily representative of the entire group affected. Decisions based on these opinions are, therefore, a little risky. All too often, impressions lead to decisions instead of fact driven data, and that is usually not a good basis for the long term.

-John

Sometimes that grounding is important to remember

Article posted on July 26, 2013

It’s interesting to see the comments on blog posts and what subjects get the most attention. It’s not surprising that controversial subjects receive more comments. But, there are subjects that I think will really light up the Blackberry, and don’t. I guess blog posts are not much different than many things I do as a Senator. I often think that a vote or a news conference will be a big deal, and no one else seems to. Conversely, I attend a meeting or say something in a speech that I don’t think is anything special, but a reporter runs with it. Charlotte reminds me that what I think is important is not always viewed the same way by others, including her. Sometimes that grounding is important to remember.

-John

And the example these officials have given is dangerous and begs the question, what’s next?

Article posted on July 25, 2013

The news about the Montgomery County official who issued a marriage license to a same sex couple is almost unbelievable. This is a blatant violation of the law. Just because a radical organization has brought suit against the Commonwealth’s statute, which preserves traditional marriage, nothing has changed. For a county official to perform an illegal act and be glorified by some for it, is outrageous. No official should willingly break the law regardless of his or her personal feelings about what any law means to them. This recent attitude of picking and choosing what laws to uphold or ignore started with Eric Holder, transferred to Kathleen Kane and now to this Register of Wills in Montgomery County. There is a reason that elected officials are held to a higher standard, people follow their example. And the example these officials have given is dangerous and begs the question, what’s next?

-John

It’s Fair Week in Bedford

Article posted on July 24, 2013

It’s Fair Week in Bedford. Yesterday I stopped by for a tour and enjoyed my time there, as usual. The animal barns are my favorite, and they didn’t disappointment me. Not only do I get to see some of the farmers and students that I’ve gotten to know over the years, the animals themselves are the real attraction. I didn’t know until yesterday that one out of every fifty Herefords are born black and white, not the traditional brown and white. When I saw these in a herd previously, I always thought that they were a crossbred animal. The funniest animal behavior I witnessed was in the hog barn. It was a warm afternoon, and most of the pigs were lying on their sides with their little legs stuck straight out snoring like old men. They looked innocent and devilish all at the same time.

-John

These entrepreneurs keep at it until they achieve their goals

Article posted on July 23, 2013

I met with constituents in Bedford County this morning. I am regularly surprised at the high quality of work that is accomplished by people in our area. It usually goes under the radar. When you consider the financial investment made and the jobs created, it’s impressive. We have some nationally recognized companies that have a small group of employees, but simply do exceptional work. These business owners have all taken the risk of failure and losing their capital investment. In today’s economy, it’s become more difficult to survive, let alone grow. Borrowing money is harder to do and regulations are onerous. Engineers and attorneys make sizable fees just to obtain the preliminary permits. But, these entrepreneurs keep at it until they achieve their goals. We’re lucky to have these folks.

-John

It’s a tough one

Article posted on July 22, 2013

I was in Harrisburg today for a couple of meetings. The focus of my first meeting was a problem that surfaced through the Act 47 Task Force. One of the major issues with municipalities in Act 47 status is that they usually remain there for years, with some staying over 20 years. This program should help distressed municipalities get back on their feet, not trap them into an indefinite recovery period. So, a closure to the process is appropriate. However, history shows us that there are two examples of municipalities that will remain non-viable, even after working through the recovery program. Bankruptcy is always an option and may be the only alternative for these few municipalities. The discussion today specifically centered on what to do with municipalities that run structural deficits after they’ve gone through Act 47. We worked our way through most of the issue and will revisit it before our next Task Force meeting. It’s a tough one.

-John