Thompson Times September Newletter (2010)
Out and About in August...
Traditionally, with the end of summer comes the request from your fifth grade teacher to write about your summer vacation. I spent mine putting 4,000 miles on my odometer traveling through all of the 5th Congressional District’s 17 counties. The number is large—but when you consider that in the 20 months I have been in Congress, I have racked up almost 54,000 miles in my car making sure I touch base with all the communities in the District—it is not surprising.
The August Congressional recess gave me a chance to meet with small businesses like TRS Technologies in State College and Clarion Bathware in Shippenville—both cutting edge companies who know how to use technology to become more efficient and innovative.
I attended six editorial boards with some of the outstanding newspapers that cover the district, and took part in eight or more television, radio and print interviews. I gave 11 speeches to groups like the National Association of Retired Federal Employees in Bradford, the Clarion County Economic Development Commission, and the Young Americans for Freedom at Penn State.
More important than my speaking, I held six town halls where I had the opportunity to hear from the residents of the district. The meetings focused on a program called America Speaking Out, which offers a website for Americans to register opinions, debate priorities and offer their solutions: www.AmericaSpeakingOut.com. It isn’t surprising that those citizens who attended the town halls are concerned about jobs, the deficit, health care and the quality of education for their children and grandchildren. Feedback from constituents is crucial in everything I do and every vote I cast in Washington. I will take what I heard to heart.
Traveling through the District puts my feet back on the ground in Pennsylvania and it clears my lungs and my brain from the fog that Washington sometimes produces. Marching in parades and attending county fairs reminds me of the depth of patriotism and the breadth of diversity that makes up our part of the Commonwealth. I managed a total of 12 parades, including the Little League World Series parade, and fairs and several funnel cakes.
I also accepted some 20 invitations to do things like visit the Christian Food Bank in St. Marys, the Philipsburg Rod & Gun Club, the Jefferson County Farm Bureau meeting and the Lycoming Farm Bureau picnic in Williamsport.
With the importance of Marcellus Shale to the District, I attended the Pennsylvania Independent Oil & Gas Association Eastern Conference Annual Meeting and toured a natural gas rig to learn as much as I can about how the industry operates in our State. I stay in very close contact with John Hanger, Secretary of the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection, to follow all necessary fines or strictures against companies that are bad actors. The Marcellus is a great opportunity to develop jobs in the Commonwealth, but it must be done without damage to the environment.
As a member of the House Agriculture Committee, I joined Reps. Kathy Dahlkemper, D-Erie, and Tim Holden, D-St. Claire, in holding a forum at Ag Progress Days at Penn State. Witnesses came from farms all over Pennsylvania and topics included energy research, hardwood, specialty crop grants, direct marketing, and conservation.
It was a busy and productive month for me and I return to Washington with a renewed dedication to do something about the runaway spending and to work toward saving small businesses from over regulation, over taxation and uncompetitive rules. I believe that will put us on track to create jobs in this country and turn this economy around.