Sen. Specter visits Franklin County Courthouse

September 20, 1997


Staff Writer

CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. - More than 30 residents met with U.S. Sen. Arlen Specter, R-Pa., in Chambersburg Friday to air their gripes on issues ranging from abortion and health care to the national budget and milk prices, from education to the cost of day care.

Specter said he likes to visit each of Pennsylvania's 67 counties once a year. He was in Fulton County last month.

"We get isolated in Washington talking to one another," Specter told constituents at the Franklin County Courthouse.

He said he learns more meeting with people than he does through polls and focus groups.

The third-term senator from Philadelphia pointed to several recent accomplishments in Congress, including an $84 billion tax cut, which he said was not enough, and a balanced budget.


Specter also gave his constituents a reason to re-elect him next year. He said he is just two steps away from becoming chairman of the powerful Senate Appropriations Committee.

When U.S. Sen. Robert C. Byrd, D-W.Va., held the chairmanship he "paved half of West Virginia," he said.

Pennsylvania has never had a senator with enough seniority to chair a committee, he said. Specter said he is one of only three U.S. senators from Pennsylvania to serve three terms.

U.S. Rep. Bud Shuster, R-Pa., chairs the House Transportation Committee.

Abortion was on the minds of several residents during the question-and-answer part of the meeting. One resident said the country will be "doomed" if the government doesn't stop abortions.

Specter said he opposes abortion but doesn't feel it's the government's responsibility. Instead of criminalizing it there must be a change in the moral climate of the country, he said. The problem has to be solved in the home and in churches, he said.

"We have too little moral training at home," he said.

Specter called for abstinence training in the schools to help stop premarital sex among teenagers.

He also said President Clinton was wrong to veto the bill banning partial birth abortions, which Specter called infanticide,. The issue will come before Congress again and it will pass, he said.

Fielding a question on falling milk prices for farmers, Specter said Franklin County is the second largest dairy county in Pennsylvania. The state is the fourth-largest milk-producer in the nation.

"It's a serious problem," he said.

He said legislation is pending which would bring the price of milk closer to the cost of production.

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