Just a tip

Article posted on January 31, 2014

My first call to an office in Harrisburg this morning was at 6:25. We arranged the call yesterday to go over constituent issues. He said that he would be in at 6:00, and since I had events starting at 7:00, I got through to him early. I was impressed with his dedication. We got a call from an angry emailer today. He said that I didn’t answer him from a few weeks ago. Let me say that I answer my own emails and miss a few of the thousands I get, but not many. The chances are better for a timely response when the email is not the length of War and Peace, this one was very long. Just a tip.

-John

Tomorrow’s heat wave will be welcome

Article posted on January 30, 2014

I spend a lot of my time working on problems that people bring to me as their elected official. I had meetings today to discuss three significant problems that require the best efforts of myself and other officials to remedy. I usually don’t get a call until the constituent has tried everything they could on their own, which is fine. My point is that by the time they get to me, it’s a pretty difficult and often complex issue. That’s part of what we do as state legislators, but, unfortunately, there’s no magic wand. Of course, the bad economy exacerbates these problems. As individuals and businesses struggle, so do our local governments. Today’s job numbers were worse than anticipated and the weather is having an ill effect on people in various ways. Tomorrow’s heat wave into the 30’s will be welcome.

-John

Funny how that works

Article posted on January 29, 2014

We had a hearing this morning on the PA Lottery’s interest in adding Keno to their list of games. In preparation for the hearing, yesterday, the Revenue Dept. hosted Finance Committee members for a demonstration. I’m not a gambler and didn’t know anything about the game. It dates back to ancient times and is credited for raising enough money to build the Great Wall of China. Today, it’s a $1 lottery game with funny graphics, but still has enough appeal to increase lottery revenues by 10%. The most interesting thing about the hearing this morning was the testimony of the AFSCME union bosses. When this plan was rolled out originally by a nonunion private management company, they didn’t like it. Now that the state could do it with the current union employees, it’s a great idea. Funny how that works.

-John

Their attention to this issue is important to those of us fighting for change

Article posted on January 28, 2014

We did have the union people in the rotunda today and a few stopped by my office to talk. As expected, they were loaded with misinformation from their union bosses in Harrisburg. I asked them if anyone had ever read the bill, it’s only 2 pages, none had. I spent time explaining what the bill actually said and they left with a much different attitude. I can’t believe some of the things I hear from union members about this legislation. I understand that it’s not the rank and file coming up with these comments on their own, it’s what they’re told from the top. I was a guest of the Democrat Mayors of Pennsylvania today for lunch. I enjoyed my time with them and learned from our discussions surrounding their problems with binding arbitration for police and firefighters, Act 111 employees. This issue is their number 1 priority and understandably so. The results of this unfair process cost taxpayers, their constituents, millions of dollars annually. Their attention to this issue is important to those of us fighting this battle for change. I greatly appreciate their efforts.

-John

I suppose that dues money will be paying for those expenses, as well

Article posted on January 27, 2014

I got back late tonight from a school town hall meeting in St. Thomas, so the blog post is later than usual. We had a good news conference today on the “paycheck protection” bills. One of the points emphasized was the use of public sector union dues for political purposes. The unions have recently tried to say that their dues money is not used for political activity. No one could believe that after seeing examples of their publications on display with us today. The unions are supposed to bus in people tomorrow for a demonstration. I suppose that dues money will be paying for those expenses, as well.

-John

I’m anxious to get out some new information

Article posted on January 26, 2014

I worked all day after church and still have a couple of articles to read before I get down to Harrisburg in the morning. I have a Reform Caucus meeting at 10:00, so I’ve got to get moving early, especially with the roads being what they are tonight. I saw three stories today on the “Paycheck Protection” legislation. A friend sent me Wall Street Journal and Investors Daily pieces and I read the AP story online. So far, the media has not bought into the union misdirection. They’ll print what they say, but explain that what they say doesn’t apply to this situation. We have a newser on the bills tomorrow, I’m anxious to get out some new information and hear what the reporters ask.

-John

I’m reading a lot this weekend

Article posted on January 25, 2014

I realized late in the week how far behind I am on paperwork and preparation for next week. I have a full schedule in Harrisburg and I’ll never have enough time when I’m there to catch up. So, I’m reading a lot this weekend. There is a lot more reading in this job than what most people think. Aside from the legislation itself, reports, studies and news stories all play a role in staying informed. Of course, that’s in addition to letters, emails, etc. that come in all day long. You end up reading something every chance you get. You get used to it. We have Charlotte’s office Christmas party tonight. They usually have it in January, after the holiday rush, which isn’t all bad.

-John

It’s simply time to stop an unfair and inappropriate practice

Article posted on January 24, 2014

I’ve heard or seen some interesting arguments from public sector unions over the past couple of days against the “Paycheck Protection” legislation. It’s always the same rhetoric that never addresses what the bills actually do. I’ve learned how this game is played by the unions. The bosses in Harrisburg come up with misleading or outright dishonest talking points on a bill that they don’t like, and tell their staff to start the email/newsletter/phone call system to get their membership fired up. It’s a slick process and the media often falls right into their trap. This time I haven’t seen the media bite, for the most part anyway, on the misinformation. Equally important in this case is their effort to deflect and mischaracterize what the legislation really addresses. Attempting to change the dialogue to catch phrases like, “the war on workers”, “attacking the middle class”, “interfering with the operation of the union”, etc. This issue seems to be easily understood by people from all walks of life and therefore, more difficult for the spin masters to redefine. In fact, recent polling shows that it’s supported by close to 80% of all Pennsylvanians. It’s simply time to stop an unfair and inappropriate practice from continuing, nothing more, nothing less.

-John

There is still a lot of ground to cover

Article posted on January 23, 2014

I heard from a number of people today about yesterday’s March. I was reminded that even though many were not able to take time away from their work and family to attend, their support for the cause is as strong as ever. I was back to a regular schedule with media interviews, a workshop, a meeting, a reception, and a dinner. The workshop was sponsored by 4 state agencies to address the new Small Games of Chance law for taverns. There had to be close to 200 people in attendance. The state officials did an excellent job with their presentations. Although I didn’t vote for this law, I need to know more about how it will work. We have already received questions in our offices and expect to get many more as the application process opens. Judging by some of the queries from the audience this afternoon, there is still a lot of ground to cover.

-John

I pray that it is soon

Article posted on January 22, 2014

It was a long, but very rewarding day in Washington. I travelled with a dedicated group of people from Blair County. We weathered the cold and wind to join thousands of others from all over the United States and Canada in the largest human rights demonstration in the nation. I saw more young folks today than ever before. It seems that the younger generation is more active with this movement than ever before. There was representation from Florida, Kansas, Oklahoma, Minnesota, all throughout the northeastern United States and beyond. I have great hope for the eventual reversal of Roe V Wade. I pray that it is soon.

-John