JANESVILLE – State Rep. Camille “Bud” George filled Mountz Park for the final time Thursday evening at his summer picnic. He’ll be retiring from serving Pennsylvania’s 74th House District after his 19th term in office.
George offered a few highlights from his 38 years of service, which began in 1974 under former Democratic Governor Milton Shapp. He noted that Shapp inherited the governor’s office with a deficit. In 1976, he said it took six months to pass the state’s budget because of a stalemate over taxes.
Additionally, he noted that former Democratic Governor Robert P. Casey Sr. served Clearfield County. He said Casey Sr. created jobs, such as the State Correctional Institution at Houtzdale, the Wal-Mart Distribution Center, the Philipsburg Hospital and the Quehanna Boot Camp.
“Isn’t it time we recognize what is going on?” asked George.
George said during his childhood, citizens could register to vote at their polling place. He believed the voting process has become increasingly difficult with intentions of keeping citizens from participating in the electoral process.
He suggested a better voting process would allow citizens to vote on paper ballots. He said then after waiting a few days, everyone could see if any doubt emerges regarding the ballot’s validity.
George didn’t solely blame the electoral process though and those implementing it. He said there are still other citizens who simply choose not to vote, regardless of the recent voter identification law.
“It isn’t anyone’s fault, but it’s our fault. Because we say ‘what is the difference if we vote or not?’ There is a difference. When you don’t vote, when Democrats don’t vote, when responsible Republicans don’t vote, we remain in the epitome of darkness, because we aren’t doing the right thing,” said George.
He urged everyone to vote without any excuses and encouraged them to vote for the candidate who supported them – the middle class.
“Things are different about citizens today. For some reason, our society is confused and rightfully so. I was born during the Depression when we didn’t have anything. It didn’t matter how little we had, we were willing to share with those who had even less,” said George. “In those days, there wasn’t a lot of money lost by the middle class, because they didn’t have any money.”
As time elapsed, he said the middle class became more focused upon.
“In truth, it is the only class we should be concerned about. It is the class that democracy is all about. It is the working class that keeps society going,” he said.
George also lamented about people who are searching for employment when 200 million jobs have been sent to China and India. He said that a family should not only be able to exist, but also be able to thrive. He said the youth should have opportunities to become educated, to attend post-secondary institutions, graduate and find employment without $100,000 worth of debt.
U.S. Senator Robert P. Casey Jr. commented about Clearfield County Commissioner, Mark B. McCracken, who is currently a candidate for the 74th seat of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives.
“Any public official who is running this year, last year or probably the next couple years has to focus on job-related issues. There are still far too many people who are out of work across this country and across this Commonwealth,” said Casey.
Casey pointed out that Pennsylvania has 500,000 people who are jobless. He said he’s been working to resolve this issue, noting one accomplishment, a payroll tax break, which passed two years straight at $1,000 per worker per year.
Casey also explained an effort he voted on but saw voted down by the “other side of the Senate” that would have given small businesses a 10 percent tax credit for new hires or increased hours given to existing employees.
“Even if they hire one more person, they need to get an incentive for doing that,” said Casey. He emphasized that everyone needs to unite to create jobs.
“There is not a Democratic way or a Republican way of creating jobs,” said Casey.
Casey also addressed issues related to Medicare.
“It’s another issue that is central to who we are as a country and who we are as a people,” said Casey. He said this debate will be waged at the Presidential level, at the senate level and across the country.
Casey said the motive for changing Medicare would be to give tax breaks to the rich. Younger individuals would be given a warning about being moved to a voucher system, according to his source, the Wall Street Journal.
“The Wall Street Journal said, ‘It will essentially end Medicare as we know it.’ That isn’t some Democrat saying it. It was a major newspaper,” said Casey.
Casey said he’d voted for spending cuts up to a trillion dollars and should vote for more cuts. However, he didn’t feel cutting Medicare was the solution to solving the deficit. He said he would fight any efforts to end the promise of Medicare to the American people.
He offered the “basic guarantee” to veterans who served the U.S. in addressing Veteran Affairs assistance and education.
“We are also making our commitment to them. We are recommitting ourselves to taking care of them and their families,” said Casey.