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Pa. Senate candidates take questions at Fayetteville forum

April 04, 2008|By CHRIS CARTER

FAYETTEVILLE, Pa. -- The four candidates for the Pennsylvania state Senate's 33rd District addressed almost 60 people Thursday afternoon at Penn National Golf Club's Trellis Terrace.

Richard Alloway II, Catherine Cresswell, Robert "Bob" Curley and Jim Taylor spoke for about 90 minutes on various issues in hopes of increasing momentum for the April 22 primary election.

The senate hopefuls each used a 10-minute allotment to iterate experience and personal history as grounds for collecting support. A question-and-answer period followed with preselected questions that each candidate was given three minutes to answer.

The first question asked the state's role in protecting the environment and what actions each candidate would take to strengthen regulations.

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Taylor, chairman of the Franklin County Republican Committee, advocated creating strict environmental protection laws that punish offenders accordingly - to the point that jail time is handed down.

Curley cited his business history, pointing out the need to find the best "bang for your buck."

"There is technology out there to help with the environmental issues," said Curley, of Waynesboro, Pa. "What we need to do is maximize impact for the minimum dollar."

Cresswell, of Buchanan Valley, Pa., spoke of the need for adequate planning and the need to look to future solutions.

"We can't look back at what is already ruined," Cresswell said. "Too often there are not enough resources for proper planning to be done. We have to be ready for what is coming next for the environment."

Alloway, of Chambersburg, Pa., the last of the four to address the question, cited the need for better planning. He was the only candidate to suggest reopening a local Department of Environmental Protection office, an idea praised by DeEtta Antoun, director of Citizens for a Quality Environment.

"Who doesn't want clean air and clean water?" Alloway asked. "The question is, how are we going to do it? How are we going to pay for it and how are we going to get it done? We need to reopen the DEP and fund it properly."

The candidates next addressed a way to simplify government and each delivered similar viewpoints - to reduce government involvement. Alloway and Cresswell suggested a 10 percent budget decrease, while Taylor called for a 35 percent reduction in legislation and again suggested the need for term limits.

"People in there for eight years will be more willing to vote themselves out of a job than people in there for 20 or 30 years," Taylor said.

Curley was not so concerned, saying that "term limits are not all that important."

The candidates also presented similar arguments for ways to improve an educational system that has resulted in an aging and decreasing state population, according to the third and final question asked during the session.

Cresswell, Alloway and Taylor agreed that there must be reduced and more efficient spending, while Curley strayed from the bunch.

"I don't think we want to underspend on the children. You don't skimp on education just like you don't skimp on employees," he said, pulling on his business background.

Patrice Nitterhouse, vice president of White Rock Inc., the developers of the Penn National Community, considered the forum - the second at the facility - an enormous success.

"It was helpful to hear what these people want to accomplish and how they plan to do it," Nitterhouse said. "I wanted for the people in this community to hear it so that they can cast thoughtful votes."

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