I am grateful for the opportunity to serve, and for the advice and encouragement you and so many others have given. Because of what we have been able to do together to improve the quality of life in our region, I am seeking another term in the state Senate. I hope I can count on your support.
A new administration will be taking office in 2011, one that hopefully will be committed to greater fiscal responsibility and substantial reform. I will continue to oppose big state tax increases and spending plans. Honoring my pledge to be responsible in my spending, by submitting receipts for actual expenses rather than collecting per diems, saved thousands of dollars for taxpayers.
Pennsylvania faces tough challenges and difficult issues. We must find the right balance between our desire to tap potential jobs and economic growth related to natural gas drilling and our need to properly protect our water, land, and air. To prevent the type of budget crisis that hurt our communities and taxpayers last year, I prepared a Constitutional amendment and legislation to force responsible action on time.
Four years ago, I promised to be active, accessible, and accountable. My staff and I attended more than 2,000 meetings and community events. We assisted nearly 25,000 constituents in getting the answers and results they need from state government.
Ensuring that local views are front and center in decision-making, and that local problems and priorities get attention from state officials, is an essential part of the job. Together, we fought attempts to toll I-80, repaired flood damage in Luzerne County, kept the Marshall's Creek Bypass on track in Monroe County, initiated "smart" development in Pike County, improved senior housing in Susquehanna County, constructed a 911 Center in Wayne County, and upgraded public water systems in Wyoming County.
Many bills are introduced, but few become law. I am proud to have pushed through crucial initiatives, most notably legislation to substantially improve veterans' outreach. I led efforts to create a tax credit for volunteer emergency responders who are vital to our rural health and safety. When serious problems in the juvenile justice system surfaced, I immediately called for remedies and proposed reform measures.
We work hard to focus on the issues that people care about most – protecting citizens, creating opportunity, bringing about economic progress, conserving natural resources, and governing effectively and efficiently. I deeply appreciate the chance to make a difference for families and communities in our area and to build a better future.