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Changing of the guard in Pa. House

December 01, 2004|by RICHARD F. BELISLE

waynesboro@herald-mail.com

WAYNESBORO, Pa. - Tuesday was the last day in office for 12 outgoing Pennsylvania state representatives, a day when those whose terms ended were cleaning out offices while the rookies were moving in.

The scene in New Bloomfield, Pa., the county seat of Perry County, was typical.

Republican C. Allan Egolf of Landisburg, Pa., a 12-year house veteran from the 86th House District, which covers parts of Franklin County and all of Perry County, was cleaning out his district office in the Oddfellows building across the street from the Perry County Courthouse.

As Egolf was moving, Mark Keller, his GOP replacement, was moving in his office furnishings.

A similar scene was taking place in Chambersburg, Pa., where Rob Kauffman, the new 89th District Republican state representative, was setting up his new district office in the Kerrstown Square office building at 166 S. Main St.

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Kauffman was elected to the seat vacated by longtime state Rep. Jeff Coy, D-Franklin/Cumberland, who resigned in September to accept an appointment to the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board - a post that pays $145,000 a year.

Tuesday was Keller's last day as a Perry County Commissioner, a job he's held for nine years. His new state district office is across the street from the county courthouse.

Physically, it's a short step. Financially, it's a quantum leap.

Keller said he earned about $35,000 a year as a county commissioner. Effective with a new raise starting today, state representatives and senators earn $69,647.67, up from $66,203.55.

While they go on the state's payroll today, the new legislators won't officially be sworn in until Jan. 4, Keller said. The Legislature won't be back in session until next year unless an emergency session is called, he said.

Egolf, who said his 12-year tenure was guided by a philosophy of family values, is leaving the House to spend time with his growing grandchildren, "and do all the things I didn't have time to do."

He said he's proud to leave the Legislature knowing that major bills he sponsored - Internet filters on public library and public school computers and the defense of marriage bill - passed.

Egolf maintained a full-time district office in New Bloomfield plus part-time offices in Franklin County.

The 86th District covers five Franklin County townships - Fannett, Metal, St. Thomas and parts of Hamilton and Peters, and all of Perry County.

In parting advice to Keller, Egolf said it helps to maintain certain principals that guide a legislator and to ask three things before every vote.

"You have to ask yourself is it really necessary, how will it affect family life and is the cost to the taxpayers worth it," he said.

Egolf said his political career is over.

Kauffman's 89th District takes in the boroughs of Chambersburg, Shippensburg and Orrstown and the townships of Greene, Letterkenny, Lurgan, and South Hampton plus two precincts in Guilford Township in Franklin County and the parts of Shippensburg borough and South Hampton Township in Cumberland County.

He said he was looking forward to serving the residents in the district. "They're accustomed to top-notch constituent service and I want to give them good representation in Harrisburg."

His general philosophy is conservative to match that of the district, he said. "That's the way I will vote, but I will serve my constituency regardless of party affiliation," he said.

Coy could not be reached for comment.

Franklin County's other state lawmakers, state Rep. Patrick Fleagle, and state Sen. Terry Punt, both Republicans from Waynesboro, won re-election in November.

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