I will try to represent you to the best of my ability

Article posted on November 30, 2014

Today is the last day I represent the people of the existing 30th Senatorial District. As of midnight, the district will change significantly. I won’t represent the people of Bedford County, Menno Twp. in Mifflin County. and a large portion of Huntingdon County. The new district maintains all of Blair and Fulton Counties and picks up over one-third of the land masses of Franklin and Cumberland Counties. I appreciated the relationships I’ve made over the eight years I served the people of the existing 30th and will miss seeing many of them on a regular basis. I do look forward to learning more about the new areas and the people who live and work there. I will try to represent you to the best of my ability.

-John

There’s heavy speculation with every move

Article posted on November 29, 2014

Not much in the news again today. Everyone is still in Thanksgiving mode. Tomorrow’s papers should have something of interest, but I’ll bet that most of what we see is a rehashing of the same old, same old. There is a tendency for everyone in the legislature and those who cover it to hang on every word and action of the incoming Governor. With a tight budget looming and campaign rhetoric about raising taxes and increasing spending, his comments and appointments tell a little piece of the story to come. He’s been short on details, so there’s heavy speculation with every move.

-John

For people who have a problem, it’s pretty tough

Article posted on November 28, 2014

There wasn’t much news today and the Senate offices were closed. Many of the stories these days are about Governor-Elect Wolf putting together his cabinet, transition team, and other appointments. He’s got eight weeks before his inauguration and a lot to do. The press will focus on the cabinet and other high profile appointments, but there will be many mid- to upper-level vacancies to fill in the state’s departments and agencies. This will go on for most of his first year and the longer it goes on, the more difficult it is to get things done. The existing staff is hesitant to make decisions until the management folks are in place and they’re short staffed, etc. It all works out eventually, but for people who have a problem, it’s pretty tough.

-John

Thank God for all of the blessings

Article posted on November 27, 2014

Happy Thanksgiving from Charlotte, Johnny, and me. Hope that everyone had a great time with family and friends, watched a parade and some football, but most importantly, took time to thank God for all of the blessings received personally and those upon our nation.

-John

Having part of a county makes things a little more challenging

Article posted on November 26, 2014

This is the transitional week for new members, outgoing members, and for all of the adjustments to re-districting.  Due to the boundary changes, we closed the Huntingdon County office.  As it turns out, newly-elected State Rep. Rich Irvin has decided to use this space.  Gerry Wityk, who worked in that office, will leave the employ of the Senate and work for him.  The Bedford County office was also closed by me this week, but will reopen on Monday as the office of Senator John Wozniak.  Leaving my staff and going with him is Sharon Turkovich.  The Hollidaysburg and Fulton offices are still in place and we are working on more convenient access to services in Franklin and Cumberland Counties.  Having part of a county makes things a little more challenging.  As always, we are also concerned about the cost of maintaining an office and have looked for ways to partner with others and share expenses.  If anyone needs to contact us and does not have an office nearby, please email me at jeichelberger@pasen.gov or call our toll free number 1-866-509-EICH.

-John

It’s the right thing to do

Article posted on November 25, 2014

I ran in shorts for the third straight time this week. I don’t think that will happen tomorrow. The weather reports say that we’re in for snow, but not as much as some other parts of the state. It is almost Thanksgiving after all. In November each year there is an announcement about the state officials’ cost of living increase; this year it is a little under 1.6%. It is based on a federal CPI index and goes into effect in December. By law, our paychecks automatically increase. I return the difference to the state treasury along with a small group of other legislators. It’s the right thing to do.

-John

I hope to tackle a little work

Article posted on November 24, 2014

I was up before 5:00 to make a trip to the Fall Conference of the County Commissioner’s Assoc. in Hershey. I was the opening speaker and provided an overview of the new legislature and the dynamics between it and Governor-Elect Wolf. I explained some of the mechanics of how things will work in the coming session and recapped the leadership changes. I left there for a meeting in Everett and ended the day at a LEAD meeting in McConnellsburg. Charlotte’s heating up a late supper for me and I hope to tackle a little work while watching Monday Night Football (no pun intended).

-John

The Democrats don’t like that

Article posted on November 23, 2014

The weather for this afternoon’s Winterfest Parade in Hollidaysburg was about as good as it gets for late November. They had an unusually large crowd, presumably because of it or maybe it was because Charlotte was the parade emcee? I left there for a memorial service in Huntingdon for Hattie, the service dog that we named legislation after a couple of years ago. Hattie was attacked several years ago by another dog and suffered physical, as well as emotional, damage. The retraining and recertification involved for a service animal is substantial– months of time and thousands of dollars. These costs are not usually considered by the courts in cases like this. Hattie’s law will make sure they are in the future. Most of the stories I saw statewide concerned the possibility of the legislature coming back early in January to finish a few bills before Tom Corbett leaves office. The Democrats don’t like that.

-John

I am very proud to represent them

Article posted on November 22, 2014

My first Winterfest parade was this morning in Martinsburg. Fortunately, the rain held off until the trip home. This evening, the Friends of Meadow Grounds Lake had a gun raffle at the McConnellsburg American Legion. They are supposed to raise at least $100,000 locally, to help with the $4 to $6 million that will be required to repair and refill the dam. This community is very different. They have raised tremendous amounts of money before for local projects, including the Fulton County Medical Center. They had about $71,000 going into tonight and hoped to raise another $10,000 with this raffle. Before I left, the Medical Center announced a donation of $5,000 and there could be another announcement before the night is over. Anthony D’Anna, president of the Friends group, deserves a lot of credit. He spoke tonight and explained that they received donations as small as $5 and as large as $25,000. The number of people who contributed is very high, because most people did something. What a group. I am very proud to represent them.

-John

It’s interesting to see this develop

Article posted on November 21, 2014

Another former Rendell cabinet secretary was named to a post today by Governor-Elect Wolf. Estelle Richman, former DPW Secretary, was named to the transition team to work with Medicaid expansion. Observers are watching to see how many of Rendell’s former staff will be brought in to shape the new administration. It’s interesting to see this develop. Last night I had a town hall meeting in Greencastle. We had about 40 people with a lot of questions. We talked about the pension problems, severance tax, the makeup of the legislature, veterans’ benefits, and other issues. I appreciated the use of the Middle School library and everyone coming out on a cold November night.

-John