74th Legislative District
Camille “Bud” George, Democrat Incumbent
Richard Hansel, Republican
GEORGE’S BACKGROUND: Except for time served in the U.S. Navy, I’ve been blessed to call Clearfield County my home. I live in the same house I built with my father and brother and where I raised six children with my wife, Edna.
I received my high school degree through the Navy after leaving Houtzdale High School early to enlist. After serving in the Mediterranean and Caribbean, I returned and installed sprinkler systems up and down the East Coast. I also worked in the coal fields and still have my heavy equipment operator’s license. I also worked at my father’s garage.
My career in public service began as administrative officer for the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation office in Clearfield. I served two terms as Houtzdale’s mayor.
I decided to run for state representative of the 74th Legislative District in 1974. I still remember slogging through snow and sleet in the first campaign with Edna, only to lose track of her while knocking on doors. I found her soaked and shivering in a kindly woman’s house, her feet in a bucket of warm water, a cup of tea in her hand and a blanket over her shoulders.
It’s a memory I’ll never forget, because it’s the people who make Clearfield County shine. Working for the people who raised our families, fought our wars, built our schools and towns is a labor of love and one I want to continue.
I’ve learned immeasurably from the people of Clearfield County as they shined through wars and recessions, tragedies and triumphs. Their work ethic and goodness guide me as I work to represent all residents, friend or foe, and I’ve been honored to have been both the Republican and Democratic nominee at various times. I will always maintain that it means little if one is Republican or Democrat and you have a sick parent or child with no means to obtain health care, or have a problem that needs addressed.
I’m not afraid to stand up for your interests at home or in Harrisburg. I fight for each and every one of you — Republican or Democrat — with integrity and with every ounce of energy I possess.
The people of Clearfield County deserve no less.
HANSEL’S BACKGROUND: I grew up working on our family farm. I graduated from Moshannon Valley High School and received my degree from Stevens College of Technology. I am currently employed as a heavy highway construction superintendent. I manage multi-million dollar projects and am responsible for overseeing labor, equipment, scheduling and meeting budgetary costs.
I served eight years on the Moshannon Valley school board and was vice president for two years. I serve on the Houtzdale Municipal Authority Board as vice chairman. I attend church weekly and volunteer my time planning and working various fundraising and recognition events.
QUESTION 1: What makes you the best candidate?
GEORGE It’s important to have a strong, experienced voice representing Clearfield County’s interests in Harrisburg because no one should ever have to choose between heating or eating.
It’s important to have someone fighting for Clearfield County whose principles and allegiances don’t change with each election season.
It’s important to have an elected representative who realizes that access to health care should not take a back seat to corporate profits or rigid, political doctrine.
It’s important to have someone working so doctors — and not accountants – make decisions on health care.
It’s important to have someone working day-in and day-out to bring industry and GOOD jobs to the district and not landfills that will cost us much more in the long run.
It’s important to have someone with the ability to bring more than $100 million in Pennsylvania Infrastructure Investment Authority financing to the county so people can have clean water.
It’s important to have a legislator who realizes public education is crucial but unfair property taxes will sour needed support for our public schools.
It’s important to target unfair property taxes with ideas and principles rather than call senior citizens “old, greedy and selfish” for trying to save their homes.
But most importantly, it is vital to have someone who will work for the good of Clearfield County and not just the rich and powerful.
I believe I have upheld these important tenets, have the record to prove it and the ability and gumption to build upon them.
HANSEL: The 74th has become economically stagnant. We have been led for the past 32 years by the same ideas, which continue to limit opportunities for our young people, for new and existing businesses and for working individuals. The limited growth has created a tax burden for our senior citizens and working middle class. It has also created large number of citizens living at or below the poverty level in Clearfield County. We need new leadership that is willing to be open to innovative solutions instead of preserving the status quo or voting party lines.
I am that leader. My job as a construction superintendent requires that I look ahead, develop new ideas, and be proactive in preventing and solving problems, all within the confines of a tight budget. I understand that people have their own vested interests. Balancing individual needs and the needs of the community requires a skilled negotiator. I use these skills daily and want to put my talents and skills to work the all people of the 74th.
QUESTION 2: What steps do you see as necessary to ensure that Clearfield County remains a viable destination for commerce and industry?
GEORGE: We have survived two governors whose policies not only neglected Clearfield County but harmed it, and that is an important hurdle to overcome.
In contrast, Gov. Ed Rendell has invested more than $75 million in economic-development and water projects in Clearfield County in just four years. We have on the drawing board a $650 million power plant that will rid our county of the waste coal ruining so much of our water and create hundreds of good-paying jobs.
We have two ethanol projects progressing that would make Clearfield County an energy leader far into the future.
A new building to be built at the Clearfield Campus of Lock Haven University will enable our young people to stay in the area with family-sustaining jobs that are in demand.
Clearfield County’s natural beauty and assets are being emphasized as never before, bringing more capital into the region. Old environmental scars are being cleaned and remedied, restoring more resources.
Rendell recently said, “There’s no one more persistent or difficult to say no to than Bud George.” He hasn’t seen anything yet! We need to see these projects through to completion and fight for more jobs and economic development.
On the other hand, we must take steps not to revert to the old way of thinking that has proved so damaging to Clearfield County. We must stop efforts by the privileged few to line their pockets with schemes that cost Clearfield County its natural resources and its quality of life while detracting from efforts to build a responsible and productive economic base.
We also must fix our health care system, which is bleeding America — its people and businesses — dry.
U.S. health spending per person is more than twice the average of such spending in Canada, France, Germany, Italy and Britain — countries that guarantee health care for all their citizens — yet citizens in these nations are more likely to say they are satisfied with their health care than are Americans.
We have 45 million Americans and almost 1 million Pennsylvanians going without health-care coverage. We have to stop the gouging. There’s nothing “American” about it.
HANSEL: The key to economic growth is a strong infrastructure and reduced business taxes. If we are going to attract new business and expand existing ones we need to insure readily available access to transportation routes. The former Corridor-O project, a four lane highway, connecting U.S. Route 220 at State College and Interstate 80 at Clearfield will provide business growth along the corridor much like along Interstate 99 between Tyrone and Altoona. I will work to get this project back on the table.
I will also work to establish railroad access to further broaden industry and commerce opportunities.
“It has been proven that you can have government growth or economic growth, but you can’t have both. Since 1970, Pennsylvania’s operating budget increased 160 percent in inflation-adjusted dollars, and between 1970 and 2005 Pennsylvania ranked: 49th in job growth, 46th in personal income growth, and 47th in population growth.” (Commonwealth Foundation, 2006). My plan is to attract new industries by lowering business tax and reduce the size of government which includes no pay raises to legislators and unvouchered expenses.
QUESTION 3: What do you plan to do to ensure financial stability for people just starting their careers, families or individuals with low to moderate incomes and the elderly?
GEORGE: For too long, the playing field has been tilted to benefit the rich and powerful at the expense of the people who work — or have worked — darn hard just to make ends meet.
We have seen — and fortunately rejected — the plan to privatize Social Security, which would take the security out of the most successful government program in U.S. history and guarantee lower benefits.
Countless jobs have been shipped overseas with the promise that high-paying, high-tech jobs would emerge for Americans. Now, those jobs are being exported to India and Indonesia — anywhere, it seems, but to our back yards.
A proposal unleashed in the state House would have broadened Pennsylvania’s sales tax to include food, fuel, clothing and medicine and even Bibles and American flags, increasing the tax burden on the lower and middle classes.
The middle class should be declared an endangered species. It’s under assault from unfair taxes to soaring college costs.
Even the Medicare prescription drug plan “was nothing more than a hoax on the American people by the pharmaceutical and health insurance lobbies,” according to one Pennsylvania newspaper.
Efforts to raise the federal minimum wage have been hog-tied to a bid to erase the estate tax that affects only the richest among us.
It’s got to stop. Teeter-totter politics — pushing one side up and the other down — is an economic and moral trap for Republicans and Democrats.
Business and industry need working families and retirees to have enough jingle in their pockets to be able to buy their products and invest in their companies.
Working Americans need business and industry to thrive and provide jobs that can sustain families.
In Harrisburg, I will fight for fair wages and kept promises on pensions and health care that enable people to live in dignity.
I will fight for fairer tax policies that provide more property-tax relief to working families.
I will fight for more access to health care through my legislation that would have medical schools in Pennsylvania reserve class positions for in-coming students promising to serve in medically underserved areas of the state.
There are no winners when Pennsylvanians come out on the losing side on health care, jobs, education and taxes.
It’s time to push all segments to make a rising tide that lifts not only the yachts, but also the rowers.
HANSEL: Financial stability is impossible with out economic growth.
Low- to moderate-income means it is necessary for families to rely on two incomes in order to meet the family budget. Single-parent households struggle to survive. Working your way out of poverty is becoming increasingly more difficult. Without family-sustaining jobs people of the 74th will continue to struggle and live at or below the poverty level.
Many of our skilled craftsmen, equipment operators and highly trained individuals travel long distances outside the county to find work. Outrageous gas prices continue to impact the family budget. The hours spent traveling reduces time spent with family and volunteering in their community.
Young people graduate from post-secondary education and move away. Senior citizens are left with the burden of helping to sustain the economy. This is an unfair burden on their fixed income. Unfortunately their income increases minimally. The SSI yearly cost of living increase does not match the rising fuel costs, rising medical care, and rising cost of goods and services. We can not continue to burden them with unreasonable property tax responsibilities.
Career politicians, our current legislator included, make promises around election time. Just before the last election the incumbent legislators announced a $2 million grant for the Berg plant. They failed to inform voters that the grant was contingent on matching funds. Where does a depressed area like Clearfield County obtain that kind of money?
My plan is to work together with progressive non-partisan legislators to bring new business and industry to Pennsylvania and to the 74th. We need to bring our young people home to live and work in Clearfield County. Economic growth will alleviate the tax burden on the senior citizens.