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McIlhattan seeks re-election on reform plans

| Thursday, Feb. 2, 2006

He may be seeking a sixth term, but State Rep. Fred McIlhattan, R-Clarion, has heard the calls for reform and says that is what he will be working for if sent back to Harrisburg.

"The time is overdue for some major changes in the way the Pennsylvania Legislature operates," said McIlhattan in announcing his campaign for re-election in the 63rd legislative district. "We need greater transparency in the way the legislature does business."

McIlhattan is a member of a group of legislators that is promoting a blueprint for change called the Jefferson Reform Initiative.

The reform plan calls for lobbyist reform disclosure; strict rules governing or the elimination of lame duck sessions; banning amendments to bills on concurrence votes that would change the original intent of the legislation; providing lawmakers with 72 hours to inspect bills negotiated in conference committee between House and Senate leaders; closing the loophole in the gambling legislation that allows legislators to own one percent of casino operations; and the establishment of a process to review and reduce the size of the legislature.

"I feel that the implementation of these proposals will play a major role in ending the concentration of power and control in the hands of a few, help rebuild the public trust and empower members to better respond to and serve their constituents," McIlhattan said.

In addition, McIlhattan is one of the architects of a legislative initiative that if passed would completely eliminate the school property tax on all real estate, including homes, farms, vacant land, commercial structures and industrial buildings, and replace that revenue with a lower but broader sales tax.

McIlhattan also spoke out against the legislative pay increase that was passed a few months ago.

"I want my constituents to know that I voted against that legislation," he said. "I refused to take the pay raise and cosponsored legislation that helped to lead to its repeal."

McIlhattan has been working in government and public service for almost three decades. He began his career as mayor of Knox Borough, served three terms as Clarion County commissioner and was an executive assistant in the state Senate for a decade.

In 1996, he was elected to the state House of Representatives and has been re-elected in 1998, 2000, 2002 and 2004.

His district includes all of Clarion County and the Armstrong County townships of Boggs, Bradys Bend, Cowanshannock, Hovey, Madison, Perry, Pine, Plumcreek, Sugarcreek, Washington and Wayne and the boroughs of Atwood, Dayton, Elderton, Parker City, Rural Valley and South Bethlehem.

A registered Republican, he has the support of both major political parties. In the past four primary elections, he won the nomination of Republicans and Democrats.

"I love my work and I take my responsibilities very seriously. I wake up every morning excited and ready to work hard to make life better for the people I represent," McIlhattan said. "There is still much more work to do and I want to continue fighting for the needs of rural Pennsylvania."

McIlhattan has been involved in bringing funding to his district to build new water and sewer facilities, improve highway systems, build new bridges, establish new industrial sites, support the growth of manufactured housing and wood products industries, make improvements to Clarion University, enhance recreation and support volunteer fire companies.

"I have promised I would work to rebuild our infrastructure, grow our economy, help reduce school property taxes and provide excellent constituent services and I have kept my promises," McIlhattan said.

McIlhattan serves as chairman of the House Health and Human Services Committee's Subcommittee on Health and is a member of the Aging and Older Services, Consumer Affairs and Appropriations committees.

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