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Pyle says no promises here

| Tuesday, Oct. 12, 2004

KISKI -- Being on the campaign trail has taught Republican candidate Jeff Pyle an important skill -- time management.

"I'm working full-time during the campaign," said Pyle, a candidate running to replace outgoing state Rep. Jeff Coleman in the 60th District. "I try to use the time (in the day) as best as I can."

During the first half of his day, Pyle is teaching at Ford City High School. He then spends some time at his office in the Ford City Borough building, where he serves as mayor of Ford City.

He normally campaigns door-to-door until dark each night, usually starting around 4 p.m.

"I'm asking a lot of people to put their faith in me, I think the least I ought to do is make the best effort I can to go out and meet them," Pyle said. "There are days walking in the rain that aren't so great, but you do it."

Last night, the candidate spent his evening knocking on doors along Old State Road in Kiski Township, adding 55 contacts to the roughly 7,000 he's made during the campaign.

His goal will be to reach 8,000 homes.

"People have been very receptive, very kind," Pyle said of door-to-door campaigning. "I like doing it, because I get to hear their input, their needs, their wants -- what they want to see happen in the state Legislature."

"It's been good to hear everyone's thoughts," he added.

Sometimes he'll even pitch in to help a potential voter -- Pyle said he's helped people load cinder blocks into trucks, and even mowed someone's grass while they read his campaign literature.

One thing he is careful not to do is make promises to voters, he said.

"A guy's not very good if he can't keep his word, and I've made sure not to promise property tax reform, because it's the white whale, it's the one that's always chased and never caught," Pyle said. "But I let them know, if I ever do get a chance, I am voting for a flat sales tax," to replace the current tax structure.

Instead, he delivers a simple message to the people he stops to visit.

"Tax less, spend less, it works out in the end," he said. "I think our state budgeting process needs to follow the way we do with our own checkbooks -- they shouldn't be spending the money if they don't have it."

"And state government has got to realize its not their money, it's our money that's being spent," Pyle added.

He's tried hard to make time to listen to each and every person who has something to say on his stops, and said he's learned that despite the fact that the 60th District covers a range of communities in Indiana and Armstrong counties, the concerns among voters are pretty much the same.

"We are not so different, we have the same concerns," Pyle said, noting that most people talk about personal economic issues, such as property taxes and the rising cost of health care.

The bad experiences have been few and far between -- Pyle said he's logged 20,000 miles on his vehicle and his car broke down only once -- albeit a few feet from a black bear in Indiana County.

"We've done pretty close to 7,000 doors and we've only been chased off two porches," he said. "You learn what works and you learn what doesn't."

Still campaigning is hard work, and time consuming.

"I'm not around the kids as I'd like to be, I'm not with my wife as much as I'd like to be," he said. "I refuse to politick on Sundays, I don't think that's right. So Sundays I do a lot of (school) work."

The experience has been a pretty positive one, he said, and if nothing else, he's figured out how to manage his time efficiently.

"Organization was not my forte before this began, but I'm learning it quite well."

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