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Franklin County GOP chief announces candidacy for state Senate

January 09, 2008|By DON AINES

CHAMBERSBURG, PA. ? Franklin County Republican Committee Chairman Jim Taylor announced Wednesday he will seek that party's nomination for the Pennsylvania state Senate seat, while the Republican who holds the seat issued a statement saying he has yet to decide on running for a sixth term.

"There are two events in the past couple of years that have really informed my decision to run," Taylor, of Mercersburg, Pa., said on the courthouse steps. "The first one was here in Pennsylvania when, after the 2005 pay raise, the voters in this state rose up in rage and forced 55 legislators into early retirement in the 2006 election."

"The second was last year when the U.S. Congress tried to pass an immigration law that included amnesty for illegals," Taylor said.

"That's the tragedy of both events: That ordinary citizens were the ones who had to rise up and enforce the law and their will on their own lawmakers and representatives," Taylor said.

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Taylor did not mention five-term incumbent state Sen. Terry Punt, R-Franklin/Adams, by name in his announcement. In response to Taylor's announcement, Punt's office issued a statement quoting the 57-year-old senator from Waynesboro, Pa.

"I am proud of my accomplishments that I have achieved for the district," Punt said in the statement. "We've secured hundreds of millions of dollars for highway and bridge improvements, economic development projects, jobs for our folks, tourism dollars, preserving our farmland and agricultural resources along with many other accomplishments."

The statement read that Punt would "announce his decision within the next several weeks."

Because this is a presidential election year, Pennsylvania holds its primary April 22, rather than in May. Candidates may circulate nominating petitions between Jan. 22 and Feb. 12.

Five hundred signatures are needed to run for state Senate.

Pennsylvania should pass tough immigration laws along the lines of those adopted by Hazelton, Pa., and its mayor, Louis J. Barletta, Taylor said. Reforming state government, reducing taxes and passing term limits are other issues Taylor said he will tackle if elected.

He criticized Senate leadership for not passing any significant property tax reform legislation and said he would term-limit himself, regardless of what the legislature does.

"I'm 64 years old. I'm not about to start a long political career," he said. Senators should be limited to two four-year terms and members of the state House of Representatives to four two-year terms, he said.

The 2006 election was the beginning of a reform movement Taylor said he wants to build on.

"They no longer serve their districts. They serve themselves and their leadership in Harrisburg," he said of many incumbent legislators.

About eight supporters joined Taylor for the announcement. Carl Barton and John Pilla each carried brooms, emblematic of Operation Clean Sweep, the 2006 effort to unseat incumbents, including former state representative Patrick Fleagle, who lost to fellow Republican Todd Rock, R-Franklin.

Taylor said he plans to remain chairman of the county GOP committee. He is also president of America's Political Action Committee, which helps fund conservative candidates.

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