Pennsylvania State House

State Rep Paul Drucker Exits Harrisburg . . . Thank you for your service!

What was the voter’s message in November? Does this signal an acceptance, or rejection, of either party?  Does this message play similarly in Pennsylvania . . . and in the local 157th  district?

With “the economy, the economy, the economy,” being chanted by people across the country, many were engaged in the political system during this voting season . . . some for the first time.  We have now elected and re-elected many different types of people across our country.  The impact of our choices is already being felt.  Democracy needs the relentless participation of its citizens to be most effective.  With the electorate’s intense anger reverberating across the country, the anti-Washington, anti-establishment sentiment rejected many incumbents in November, including  State Representative Paul Drucker.

It does seem like our political problems should have clear solutions but often times do not.  Consider how hard it must be for someone to get their name on a primary ballot, win that primary, and then win a general election.   People holding any political offices are effective achievers who have support of family and friends but also have convinced a large group of strangers to believe in them. Paul Drucker was that person in 2008 and in November, voters of the 157th district chose differently. Were the election results reflective of Drucker’s job performance in Harrisburg? No, I think the vote spoke more to the intensity of the anti-Washington sentiment.  A personal defeat for Drucker when the votes were counted, his loss was not a statement to his personal accomplishments in Harrisburg.

Although I am a proponent of looking forward, I believe that there is merit to reflecting on one’s past.  Much can be learned from life’s experiences and this week, Alan Thomas for the Mainline Suburban Life interviewed Drucker.  The article, ‘Drucker reflects on work done and work not finished in House term’ is an exit interview . . . an ‘introspective’ of sorts. (Click here for full article).

Much like his re-election campaign platform, Drucker points to his list of most important concerns in the 157th district as jobs, education and transportation and sees the issues as inter-connected.  Drucker strongly supports fixing the state’s infrastructure and getting people to work.  He views the Paoli Transportation Center plan as a project to spur economic growth and as a means to create new jobs in the community. With a new Republican Governor-elect Corbett at the helm in Harrisburg, Drucker voiced concern for the Paoli rail yard project. With sign-off on the project required by Corbett, the future of this transportation center remains in peril.

When Thomas asked Drucker what changed during his two years in the House, his reply was, “Well, it’s changed me, I made a lot of new friends, new contacts. I certainly have a good perspective on state government. I haven’t decided what I’m going to do. I’m going to stay active and involved in what’s important to me. I’m still recharging my batteries. It’s a 24-7 job. I have never worked so hard in my life.”

For the long hours and reduced pay that many candidates receive when elected, we need to stop and thank those that have served.  I thank Paul Drucker for serving as State Representative of the 157th district.  And I thank him for his commitment to important issues and for caring about the residents of our community.  

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PA State Rep. Paul Drucker Reports House Will Hold Voting Session Nov. 15

After much debate and discussion, PA State Rep Paul Drucker is reporting that the house will reconvene for voting session on November.  Here is the press release:

House to hold voting session Nov. 15

I am pleased to inform you that legislative leaders have announced that the state House will reconvene voting session on Monday, Nov. 15.

This means that the House will be able to complete work on important, bipartisan bills and send them to the governor for his signature. I am pleased that legislative leaders listened to rank-and-file members and are allowing us to finish the job we were elected to do.

As you know, my colleagues and I urged leaders to come back into session after voting session days that had been scheduled for Nov. 8, 9, 10, 15 and 16 were canceled.

Several House bills, including pension reform legislation, will now get the attention they deserve.

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Election Day 2010 . . . The Day After

Driving many voters to the polls across the country in yesterday’s election was the theme of anxiety and disappointment.  Just about everywhere, Election Day 2010 felt far removed from 2008.  Two years ago, after all, there was no Tea Party. The rise of the conservative Tea Party movement added a new element to the election cycle, boosting little-known and inexperienced candidates into national media spotlight and in some cases, ultimate victory over mainstream political figures. Guess the jury is out whether the Tea Party movement will remain a lasting force in American politics.

Two years ago, the nation was in financial shock.  Now hard times are all too familiar.  I heard one report that 30% of all voters yesterday had  first-hand experience with unemployment; with an immediate family member currently out-of-work.  With such difficult economic times, it was particularly depressing to read that this long and bitter campaign season cost more than $3.5 billion.  How many better ways could these billions of dollars been spent in this country?

These past two years, politics across America has been fueled by turmoil – town hall meetings that dissolved into shouting matches, persistent questions about the motives of leaders on both sides and a non-stop partisan battling.  Enough negativity and nastiness existed to spawn last weekend’s rally in Washington with John Stewart, all in the name of restoring sanity in America.

The disappointment and helpless sentiment was not hard to find across the country in an election that took place against a backdrop of persistently high unemployment, no sign of real improvement in the economy and divisive politics. Everywhere you look, people seem to be looking for someone or something to blame – whether the President, Congress, a political party, etc.  Finding someone to blame would make things a lot easier to accept; but I am not entirely sure that is realistic. 

Locally, in the State House 157 race, Warren Kampf defeated incumbent State Rep Paul Drucker.  As a current sitting supervisor, Kampf will be vacating his Tredyffrin seat for his new job in Harrisburg. His departure from Tredyffrin’s Board of Supervisors is only an assumption . . . maybe there is no requirement and he can be both a state representative and a township supervisor.

Many have been let down, including myself, about the partisan divide and what seems unwillingness for people to work together and move forward.  There is much work to be done in the country, the Commonwealth and here in Tredyffrin Township but . . . I remain hopeful for the future.

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Negative Political Campaigning Needs to End . . . Election Day 2010 Cannot Come Soon Enough!

Tuesday cannot get here soon enough!  Turn on the television and you are certain to see a barrage of negative campaign ads from various candidates attacking their opponents.  With Election Day 2010 just days away, households across America are being attacked by negative political ads.  Without an invitation, the negative attack ads are finding their way into our homes, by way of television, robo-calls, on our computers and in our mailboxes. 

Everyday someone says to me they cannot wait until Wednesday when it’s over, and Election Day 2010 will be only a memory.  The amount of time, energy and money spent on negative sound bites feels eternal… and maybe it is.  With unlimited dollars (both domestic and foreign) buying airtime, it takes a persistent and dedicated voter to ferret-out all the paid-for misinformation. People complain and say they hate the ads, the mailers, the political phone calls and the mudslinging that we see in the news articles and the opinion pieces.  But they must work.  After all, it is amazing how much money is spent on these political campaigns.

Look at the contents of the political ads on TV and in the campaign mailers.  The distortion, the exaggerations, the misleading claims – the blatant lies.  True or false? Fact or Fiction?  Most of the campaign ads are more like half-truths, half-falsehoods – and a lot of embellishment. 

But do these negative ads actually work . . . do they influence decisions?  I would like to hope that they don’t work and that they don’t influence voters.  I want to believe that voters are smarter and more informed and that they rise above the distortions and exaggerations. Unfortunately, psychological research has shown that the brain processes negative information more deeply than positive information.  Guess political campaigners support the scientific research and have decided that negative ads do work – at least better than positive ads. 

By the time the calendar hit mid-October, the viciousness of the negative ads had picked up momentum.  And it is no surprise that the closer the individual race, the more negative the ads. Research suggests that negative campaign ads work even though people hate them.  I think the potential also exists that people just get tired of the negative campaign season and that this feeling can actually drive the voter turnout down.  Eventually, after being influenced by the candidate’s negative campaigning, is it possible that a voter would just stay home on Tuesday, thinking “why bother?”

Negative ads can have a powerful impact; people tend to remember them. . . . Isn’t that why bad news always enjoys more ‘play time’ on TV than good news. I would bet that none of these ads tells the whole truth – the truth you would accept as a reasonable person. Almost all the negative ads are partial or biased on one way or another or just misleading. In a perfect world, positive ads would have as much an impact as the negative ones. What would happen if someone ran an issue-based campaign with no mention of the opponent and no mudslinging?  Would an issue-based campaign ever be possible in today’s society?  Would it even work?

Where does all this leave us for Election Day; what is a voter to do?  There are no campaign enforcement police making sure everyone is telling the truth. My hope for all of you who hold the privilege to vote is to think for yourself.  Do a little research and use that developed human brain of yours.  Please try not to be influenced by the negative campaign ads. Your vote is worth more than a nay saying ad or a half-truth campaign mailer.

I hope that residents in our community have enough sense and reason to make logical decisions and can only hope that others beyond Tredyffrin will do the same.  I would ask that you stay informed by multiple sources.  Think for yourself, beyond what your neighbor, your friend or co-worker favors. Know the candidates and support those who have shown ethical behavior.  Exercise your right to vote in a sane, thoughtful manner and make your vote count this Tuesday!

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PA State Representative 157 Race – Candidate Question #6 and Response

This is the final week of candidate questions and responses on Community Matters.  As stated in the beginning, there were 6 questions ending the week before the election.  To those that followed the discussion, thank you.  To those that provided commentary to the responses, thank you. 

 Although disappointed that candidate Warren Kampf chose not to participate in the Candidate Question & Response forum,  I do want to acknowledge and thank State Representative Paul Drucker for his participation and responses to the questions.  During the past 6 weeks of candidate questions and responses, I abided by my ‘own terms’ and did not offer an opinion nor respond personally to any of the questions or comments.

_____________________________________________________________

This is the Candidate Question & Response Forum for the Pennsylvania State House 157 candidates.  As previously stated, candidate Warren Kampf declined to participate in the question and response forum.  Candidate Paul Drucker’s response follows the question.  Each Monday for six weeks, a new question and response will be posted.  The candidate forum will end the week before the election.

Question #6: Many politicians speak of the need for reform in Harrisburg. In your opinion, where is the greatest need for reform and how will you support that reform.

Paul Drucker’s Response

I was motivated to seek election to the Pennsylvania State House two years ago to help usher in a new era of reform, openness and accountability.

From the pay-raise to Bonusgate, I was shocked at the news coming out of Harrisburg and disappointed that our elected officials seemed so unwilling to deliver the type of meaningful change we deserve.

That’s why I organized an event with fellow first time candidates to propose specific changes to how Harrisburg does business. And that’s why I am fighting every day to reform our redistricting process, encourage whistleblowers to come forward and ensure taxpayers know exactly how their money is being spent.

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PA State Representative 157 Race – Candidate Question #5 and Response

This is the Candidate Question & Response Forum for the Pennsylvania State House 157 candidates.  As previously stated, candidate Warren Kampf declined to participate in the question and response forum.  Candidate Paul Drucker’s response follows the question.  Each Monday for six weeks, a new question and response will be posted.  The candidate forum will end the week before the election.

Question #5:  Small business owners are struggling to keep their doors open in today’s economy. What should government do to help them?

Paul Drucker’s Response:

The best way for government to help all business, small and large, is to make an environment that is friendly to them. One step government can take to help small business owners is to improve local downtowns and develop older communities. 

What’s more, we need to ensure that businesses, particularly start-ups and small businesses, are taxed at a fair and responsible rate. With that in mind, lowering property taxes is not only important for homeowners, but for business owners as well.

As I mentioned earlier, it is critical that we have a well-educated workforce and provide small businesses access to capital in this tight credit market.

And, once again, we cannot separate economic development from our transportation needs. We will not attract 21st century businesses with a 20th century infrastructure.

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Supreme Court Ruling Expands Rights of Gun Owners . . . Will This be a Campaign Issue for Drucker & Kampf?

Yesterday’s Supreme Court ruling of 5-4 may ultimately make it easier for individuals to own handguns in the US.  Those that follow Community Matters know of my naiveté on the subject of guns and gun control so, it has been with more than passing curiosity, that I was interested in yesterday’s high court decision.

I know that many people own guns in this country (but only recently realized how many gun owners are here in Tredyffrin).  I was not surprised to read that the United States has the world’s highest civilian gun ownership rate in the world but when the statistic was converted to actual numbers . . . I admit to being suprised to learn that our 90 million Americans own an estimated 200 million guns!  Another surprising discovery . . .  Americans spend $10 billion annually on guns and supplies.

The ruling yesterday from the Supreme Court will extend the right that individual Americans have a constitutional right to own guns – to all cities and states for the first time.  The decision to extend gun rights will be a setback for Chicago’s 29-year-old ban on handguns, which will now face legal review and will probably be overturned.  The Supreme Court ruling is expected to cause legal challenges to existing laws restricting gun use in other states and cities. The right to bear arms, under the Second Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, previously applied only to federal laws and federal enclaves, like Washington D.C., where the court struck down a similar handgun ban in its 2008 ruling.

Chicago had defended its law as a reasonable exercise of local power to protect public safety. That law, and a similar handgun ban in suburban Oak Park, Illinois, were the nation’s most restrictive gun control measures. The Supreme Court believes that the Second Amendment right is fully applicable to the states and cities.  The residents of Chicago have a fundamental right to bear arms under this ruling.

Chicago’s Mayor Richard Daley was very troubled by the decision and responded to the high court’s ruling with, “”Common sense tells you we need fewer guns, not more guns,” Daley said.”When it comes to Chicago, the court has ignored all that has been done in the past decade to reduce the murder rate and violent crime.” Daley cited statistics detailing the nation’s level of gun violence: 100,000 people shot each year, eight people dying each day from gunshots, one million dead since 1968, the year Martin Luther King and Robert Kennedy were assassinated.

Does this Supreme Court ruling have any specific meaning to us in Tredyffrin Township?  Coincidentally, I did read that at the last commissioners meeting in Radnor Township, approval was granted to change the signs in their township parks to permit guns.  Radnor actually cited Tredyffrin Township for already making the changes. 

If we take our personal feelings about guns out of the discussion, do you believe that the states rights should be governed by the Supreme Court?  Should the nation’s highest court determine the rights of the individual states and cities? 

Looking at the Pennsylvania State House 157 race, do we know how State Representative Paul Drucker and his opponent, Warren Kampf feel about states rights on gun control?  As lawyers, would they uphold the U.S. Constitution on gun control?  If that is the case, could that be extended to other states rights vs. Constitution issues?  For example, would Drucker and Kampf  support and uphold the U.S. Constitution on the  ‘women’s right to choose’ issue?  Would Drucker and Kampf similarly consider a woman’s right to choose  a Constitutional matter for the high courts and not a decision for the individual states?  As Pennsylvania State House candidates, I certainly would appreciate hearing Drucker and Kampf opinions on the subject.

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PA State House 157 Candidates Drucker & Kampf . . . Campaign Finance Reporting

In the days leading up to the May Primary, comparison of expenditures between State House 157 Republican candidates Ken Buckwalter and Warren Kampf was discussed on Community Matters. At that time, some Community Matters readers criticized me for not discussing the expenditures of Democrat candidate State House Representative Paul Drucker.  I explained that as an unopposed, endorsed candidate I thought it would be more appropriate to compare Drucker’s campaign expenses after the Primary (when we knew the identify of his Republican opponent).    However, as a reader has recently commented, the Primary is over, Warren Kampf is the Republican candidate and the campaign finance reports are available.

Comparing the latest campaign finance reports of 5/3/10 of both Drucker and Kampf was an interesting exercise. (Campaign finance reports are public documents).  Looking at the campaign finance reports shows you various things, including the level of funding received by candidates, listing of candidates expenditures and specific donations received by the candidates.

Here are the candidates totals as of 5/3/10:

  • Combining candidates contributions carried over from 2009 with funds raised during the first 4 months of 2010:  Drucker $65,925.02; Kampf $58,448.49.
  • Total expenditures of candidates: Drucker $53,297.25; Kampf $33,896.18.
  • Ending available balance of candidates (after deducting expenditures and unpaid debts): Drucker $9,627.77; Kampf $14,907.31. 

Looking at Schedule III of the campaign finance reports for Drucker and Kampf, it is interesting to look at how each candidate spent money.  Below is a breakdown of the top expenses of each campaign: 

  • Major Drucker Campaign Expenses:  $33,716.98 consulting; Paoli office rental $1,000/mo plus utilities; Phoenixville office rental $450/mo; $1,025 computer software.
  • Major Kampf Campaign Expenses: $14,445 mailers; $6,535 consulting; $7,107 postage; $5,500 website; $1,982 signs

So where did the candidates receive their major campaign funding to date?  The campaign finance report details the  (1) Political Committee Contributions of $50.01 to $250 and over $250 and (2) All Other Contributions of $50.01 to $250 and over $250. Any contribution of $50 or less is not required to be reported.

Both candidates have received many donations from generous supporters.  For the purposes of this discussion, I am only going to focus on the contributions that are $1,000 or greater.

In the category of Political Committee Contributions $1,000 or greater, the candidates received the following donations:

  • Drucker: Bricklayers Local 1 $1,000; Citizens Elect Dwight Evans for State Rep $2,500;  International Electrical Workers $1,000; Iron Workers Local 401 $1,000; LawPac $1,000
  • Kampf:  Aqua America Political Action Committee $1,000, White and Williams LLP PAC $2,000

In the category of All Other Contributions $1,000 or greater, the candidates received the following donations:

  • Drucker: Michael Barrett, Esq. $1,000; Larry Bendesky, Esq. $1,000; Stewart Eisenberg, Esq. $1,000; Ronald Kovlar, Esq. $1,000; Robert Mongeluzzi, Esq. $1,000; Deborah Willig, Esq. $1,000
  • Kampf: Paul Olson $2,500; John Piasecki $1,000; Robin Kohn $1,000; Edmund McGurk $1,000; James McErlane, Esq. $5,000

I remember hearing that the State House 157 race between Paul Drucker and Guy Ciarrocchi was the most expensive race in Pennsylvania’s 2008 election year.  The amount of money spent on the 2008 race was shocking.  How will the contributions in the Drucker and Kampf match up to the 2008 level of funding?  Although the campaign contributions and expenditures indicated in the campaign finance report for Drucker and Kampf would seem high, I think it is safe to assume that raising money in today’s economic climate will be far more difficult than just a couple of years ago.

But then again, should it really need to cost $500K or more to win a Pennsylvania state representative seat?  Personally, I would hate to think that Drucker and Kampf will expend anywhere near that kind of money between now and November’s general election.  Much time can be spent by candidates “dialing for dollars” to a select few rather than talking with a wide range of voters about their beliefs, hopes and needs. It would seem that the endless competition for funds from special interest groups weakens the role of civic dialogue and can create ineffective governance.

Pennsylvania is one of only five states that have no contribution limits and no public financing of elections. As a state representative in Pennsylvania, with a 2-year term, you no sooner are elected than you are soliciting funds for the next campaign – almost as if fundraising becomes a second profession. The lax laws mean a candidate can spend an enormous amount of money on a campaign. This puts pressure on incumbents to keep their coffers filled in case of a well-financed challenge.

The rules on funding campaigns in Pennsylvania need to change.  There are good proposals out there; lawmakers just need courage to vote on them.

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Tredyffrin’s Police Union Fundraising . . . a sign of the times?

All residents and business owners in Tredyffrin Township received a letter in the last few days from the Tredyffrin Township Police Association, the union for the police officers in Tredyffrin’s police department.

The letter from Kevin Moore (president of the local police union) stated that this was the first annual letter drive and that contributions were needed by the police for ‘local community programs’ and to ‘support our employee assistance fund’.  Many thoughts went through my mind as I read the letter; I wondered about the authenticity of the letter and the fundraising effort by the police.  Just a few weeks ago, our local firefighters had warned residents to be aware of professional solicitors asking for donations while claiming that they were raising funds for our local firefighters.  Initially I wondered if this was a similar scam; the unsigned letter did not provide a contact telephone number or email address.  Although I have been unable to authenticate the letter, I am going to assume that it is legitimate.

Since receiving the police solicitation letter, I have received a number of emails and phone calls from residents with comments, questions and concerns about the solicitation by Tredyffrin’s police union.  In addition to wondering whether the letter from the police union was legitimate, I have been asked if this solicitation implies that the police force is not fully funded by our tax dollars. The letter stated the police would use the funds for community funds — what kind of programs and (if the programs are required) why are the programs not currently funded.  Another comment I received from a resident, was in regards to the timing of the fundraising and would this resident and business solicitation somehow affect the volunteer firefighters funding efforts.  

I am not exactly sure how I feel about the solicitation letter by our local police.  I have a few questions about this fundraising effort; specifically, I would appreciate further details on the use of our contributions. Do police departments in our neighboring municipalities fundraise?  Fundraising is a common practice by police departments in other areas of the country so maybe this is a sign of the times.   I’d be very interested how others feel on this topic.

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State Representative Paul Drucker Supports Legislative Reform in Harrisburg

Over the holiday weekend, Pennsylvania State Representative Paul Drucker made a foray in to the world of  local journalism.  Coming on the heels of a statewide grand jury report which detailed reform proposals in the Commonwealth, was an article by  Rep. Drucker discussing legislative reform policy which appeared in the May 30th edition of the  Daily Local newspaper. (see complete article below).

I completely support Rep. Drucker’s appeal to terminate or at least drastically reduce taxpayer-funded political caucuses.   As a start, I would appreciate the imposing of tougher ethics practices and the halt of all payments and benefits to staffers on leave to campaigns and  ban compensatory time. If lasting reform is to be recognized in the Commonwealth, the polarization of party politics in Harrisburg needs to end.

Several months ago in Community Matters, I wrote about our state representatives usage of per diem (Pennsylvania legislators can use tax-free per diems for home purchase . . . what about taxability issues for fraud issues?)amounting to $155+/day and its ‘use’ considered a ‘legal perk’ of the job.    Some Pennsylvania state legislators are using tax-free per diems as a means of financing real estate purchases.  Annually, Pennsylvania taxpayers finance approximately $2.7 million in reimbursed per diems for our elected officials.  Previously, I have voiced my concern to Rep Drucker in regards to what I view as misuse of per diems by some of our legislators (although seemingly legal); I am pleased to read that Rep. Drucker supports reform in this area.  I would like to see the per diem payments to lawmakers stopped, or at least tied to actual expenses. Why should the taxpayers finance tax-free per diems for home purchases by our legislators? 

The inherent problem is that any changes in Harrisburg require legislative approval and I’m betting that the legislature is in no rush to address these reforms.  It is good to know that our own state representative supports change; and is willing to take a stand on behalf of Pennsylvania taxpayers.

Everybody Knows Reforms Are Needed

By PAUL DRUCKER, Guest Columnist

It is a sad day when it takes a grand jury to point out what the rest of us already know — that the state Legislature is in serious need of reform. In case you missed it, the grand jury that has been looking at the Bonusgate scandal for the past two years issued a report this week suggesting some badly needed changes to the way business is done in Harrisburg.

There are many of us who have been saying this for years. In fact, the need to make state government more responsive — and more deserving of the public’s trust — was one of the main reasons I decided to run for the state Legislature. I hope the grand jury recommendations are a wake-up call for those in the Legislature who want to keep things as they are. I personally think that when an impartial group of Pennsylvania citizens speaks about an issue this important, we should listen.

As outlined in a story printed in the Daily Local News this week, there are a number of recommendations made by the grand jury that I believe should be implemented, in order to restore public faith in state government and ensure its efficient functioning. Among these suggestions are:

Reducing the number of state employees. The average number of employees per state legislator is nine employees. I agree that this number is too high. I currently employ three full-time staff members for two offices, and one staff member who only works one day per week. Despite this, in 2009 my office was in the top 15 of constituents served out of all Democratic state representatives.

Fixing the budget process. The state budget process, as we all know, is broken. The lack of line-item control by the rank and file is frustrating and non-productive. The lack of communication between the two caucuses during budget negotiations sets the stage for budget battles and gridlock. As the grand jury recommends, I believe taxpayer-funded political caucuses should either be terminated, or modified drastically to help reduce paralyzing partisan politics.

Reforming discretionary accounts. The problem with these accounts is not the projects that are funded as much as the secretive process. I believe discretionary grant-making should be publicly disclosed, as Congress has done with appropriations earmarks.

The fact that there are separate, taxpayer-funded human resources, information technology and print shops for the Democratic and Republican caucuses is a waste of taxpayer dollars. State legislators’ staff should be employed by the state — not a political caucus. Salaries and job descriptions and all personnel matters should be handled by one state non-partisan office, as should IT support and print and copy needs.

The outdated practice of blanket per-diem payments needs to be modified. It is certainly fair to reimburse legislators when they are required to be in Harrisburg, away from home. I do accept per diem payments when I am required to be in Harrisburg, but I believe I have been prudent and have not abused the system. In addition, I do not use a state car, I do not accept reimbursement for mileage to attend district events (which would amount to a large sum of taxpayer dollars), my staff salary total is in the lower end of all representatives, and my staff has not received any raise in salary since my term began.

In July 2009, I stood with a bipartisan group of legislators and introduced a package of reforms. It included legislation that would require state representatives to pay a percentage of their salary toward their health care costs, redistricting legislation, and a ban on bonuses for all state employees. It also included legislation to create a searchable Web site to track all state legislative expenses over $1,000, and restrict the awarding of contracts that may result in public officials’ financial gain, including the financial gain of family members. These bills are now awaiting action by committees. They are all good ideas, and they need to be enacted into law, but it is unlikely that they will move unless all the members of the General Assembly feel more pressure for reform.

This is why the grand jury report this week is so important, and why we should be thanking them for their work — not dismissing them. Legislative reform must be one of the top priorities in Harrisburg, because important duties, like passing a responsible budget our constituents deserve — cannot be done efficiently until the house has been reformed.

For my part, I will continue to work toward change. I will press my colleagues to act on the package of reforms we introduced last year, and I will support legislation that improves the way Harrisburg works.

(Paul Drucker, of Wayne, represents the 157th Legislative District in the Pennsylvania House of Representatives.)

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