Franklin Co. lawmakers excited about Republican governor

Rob Kauffman and Todd Rock say Tom Corbett will deal with budget woes

January 18, 2011|By JENNIFER FITCH |

HARRISBURG, Pa. — Republican lawmakers from Franklin County, Pa., shared excitement Tuesday that Tom Corbett had been sworn in as the state's 46th governor.

"It's a fresh start. ... This is just a breath of fresh air," said state Rep. Rob Kauffman, R-Franklin/Cumberland.

Kauffman was on his way to the inaugural ball Tuesday evening, after watching the mid-day ceremony from an office window at the Capitol.

"We're excited about turning things around in the commonwealth," Kauffman said.

State Rep. Todd Rock, R-Franklin, said the ceremony took less than an hour in a light rain on the slushy, snow-covered grounds. Rock agreed with media reports that Corbett's speech had a somber tone.

"There's not a whole lot to be cheerful about at this point. ... He wants to let the people know what's in front of us and the tough decisions ahead of us," Rock said.

Among the challenges for the Pennsylvania General Assembly is a budget deficit estimated to be $5 billion.

Kauffman said about 45 days remain until the governor's anticipated budget address for 2011-12.

"That'll be one of the initial big tests for him," he said.

Kauffman called Corbett "a force for new ideas" as government tries to help the private sector create jobs.

Corbett's inauguration gives Republicans control of both the executive and legislative branches. The last time that happened was under former Gov. Tom Ridge, who was in office from 1995 to 2001.

"We're going to try it now while the economy is really rough," said Kauffman, who was elected in 2004.

"I think Corbett realizes the financial problems we have and is going to try to fix them," Rock said.

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