Monday, July 31, 2006

What rain?

THANK YOU to all those who participated in, helped to organize and contributed to our 2nd Paul Snatchko for State House Golf Outing on Friday at Fort Cherry Golf Club. We had a great time despite two rain delays in the early morning. Congratulations to our winners:

1st Place: Team from Boilermakers Local 154. (Pictured at right. They were ten under par!)

2nd Place: Republican State Committeewoman Albie Mercer, Bob Mercer, Tod Wilcock and Barb Wilcock (Six under par!)

3rd Place: Joe Snatchko & George Fedinetz

My THANKS goes out to:

-- ALL of our golfers as well as everyone who joined us just for the post-golf luncheon.

-- Our Sponsors: Captain Steven Fischer, Richard Lounder, Michael Wallace and Paul Adomshick.

-- Our Donors: Joe Snatchko, Chris Kramer, Mary Ann Green, Sandy West, Meryl Hatton, Ron Kramer, Susan Stravakis and Kay Snatchko.

-- The Golf Outing Committee: Sara Snatchko (Chair), Joe Snatchko (Co-Chair), Kay Snatchko, Mary Ellen Snatchko, Erin Snatchko, John Welch, Campaign Manager Tom Baker and Assistant Campaign Manager Andy Walz. (Tom, Aunt Kay and Sara are pictured at left.)

-- Dave Arison and the staff at Fort Cherry Golf Club for their kind hospitality and excellent service!

Sunday, July 30, 2006

The Year of Reform

Last November, Paul and I started meeting to work on the State House race in the 46th District. Paul stressed to me at the time that 2006 truly was going to be the "year of reform". While I wasn't certain at first with regards to how right he was, I am happy to see that this important issue has continued to stay relevant.

The top story in the Post-Gazette today is about the expenses associated with our state representatives. The article can be read at: Paul was absolutely correct in predicting that reform and making our government function in an affordable and effective manner would be paramount to voters this year. He vowed last December to not accept the stipend for a car that State House members are provided. This is the same concept that we have seen the State Senate take steps recently to address.

Paul is truly the reform-oriented candidate in this race and has been sharing this message since the end of 2005. I feel strongly that he will work his future colleagues in Harrisburg to help make our state government more cost effective and efficient.

Tom Baker, Campaign Manager - Snatchko 2006

Saturday, July 29, 2006

A Question of Trust

On Thursday evening, I was in attendance for three hours of the four hours of testimony heard by the Robinson Township Supervisors on the waste-coal power plant proposed for the gob pile off Beach Hollow Road near the McDonald/Midway exit of Route 22-30. Caroline Shannon has a report in Saturday's O-R about the hearing.

Among the presenteers was Dr. James Roberts, director of the Magee-Womens Research Institute and a professor of epidemiology at the University of Pittsburgh. Dr. Roberts, an expert on the causes of health problems that originate during pregnancy, advised the township supervisors to deny the permit applications for the plant due to public health risks that could be caused by the mercury it would emit into the air. Attorneys for Robinson Power Co., the applicant, downplayed Dr. Roberts' testimony on the basis he is not an expert on this type of power plant and the procedures to be used there.

Perhaps one of the most interesting exchanges between Dr. Roberts and attorneys for Robinson Power Co. occurred when the attorneys pushed Dr. Roberts on the fact that the state Department of Environmental Protection has indicated that the amount of mercury to be emitted by the plant is safe. Dr. Roberts responded that there may be a difference between "what is permitted and what is healthy." The ability of local officials and residents to trust the state DEP and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has been a question throughout the hearings and meetings on the plant.

An aside: The hearing was held in the Fort Cherry High School Auditorium. The auditorium, which does not have air conditioning, felt like a sauna due to Thursday's high temperatures and humidity. Sitting there, I thought back to the Fort Cherry school board meetings 14 years ago held in that same auditorium on the proposed high school renovation project. It was in one of those meetings that the school board decided not to put A/C in the auditorium as a cost-saving measure. I was a junior and a student council member at FC that year and spoke at the meetings in favor of the renovation project. At the time, not providing for air conditioning in the auditorium seemed like a reasonable step to reduce the overall cost of what was a controversial project. But, no one then ever anticipated this four-hour hearing in late July 2006 when several dozen residents, consultants and lawyers would all shed several pounds from the heat!

Friday, July 28, 2006

Sewers in Cecil

Also in the July 27 edition of the Observer-Reporter was John Richard's report on how and when the bonds will be issued for the Millers Run Road Sewerage Project in Cecil Township. This $19-million project will mean approximately $6,000 tap-in fees (!) for many homeowners. Residents of housing plans with existing sewers will pay half that amount.

If I am elected to the PA House on November 7, I pledge to assist residents of the project area apply for USDA Rural Utility Service grants that may help with the tap-in fees. At a recent Cecil Township Municipal Authority meeting which I attended, authority administrator Dennis Bell said applications for these grants are available in his office at the township building.

If I am elected, I anticipate that the members of my staff and I would become expert in filling out these grant applications and the criteria for selection. This would be the case for infrastructure projects throughout the 46th District. In my opinion, helping constituents navigate the often confusing stream of government grants is one of the most important parts of a state representative's job.

$14.994 million

The O-R carried a brief today about the 2006-2007 budget for the Burgettstown Area School District. Similar to what we saw from so many of the other local school districts this summer, Burgettstown's Board of Education approved a four-mill tax increase. From the brief:

The plan sets total spending at $14.994 million for the coming school year. The millage increase means the tax rate will be 100 mills for residents of Burgettstown Borough and Smith, Hanover, and Jefferson townships. At that rate, the owner of a $100,000 home with an assessed value of $25,000 will pay $2,500 in taxes next year, an increase of $100.

Superintendent Deborah Jackson said the increase is the result of raises for teachers and funding for a middle-high school renovation project. The board decided on a design for the project, which will cost the district about $28.5 million, in early March.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Happy Birthday, Councilman Snatchko!

What do Mick Jagger, Dorothy Hamill, Kevin Spacey, and Sandra Bullock all have in common? They all share a birthday with our favorite State House candidate, Paul Snatchko, on July 26. Happy Birthday goes out to Paul today as he turns the big 3-0! We are having a private fundraising get-together for the campaign this evening. First though, he'll be stopping at three community events and attending three meetings. He will also be knocking on some doors as he continues to spread his positive message throughout the 46th District. Happy Birthday, Paul!

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Fair Season

If I am elected to the PA House on November 7, I think one part of the job I would greatly enjoy is the opportunity to be the state representative for the Washington County Fairgrounds located in the Village of Arden in Chartiers Township. In addition to what the fair does to highlight the county's agricultural community, the week-long event also brings together some of the county's best community organizations, artisans and vendors.

The O-R had an article today on some changes and added attractions at this year's Washington County Fair.

Of course, one of the best assets of the county fair is its proximity to the Pennsylvania Trolley Museum. I know many people who have made a tradition of parking at the Trolley Museum and using that old-fashioned transport to take them to the fairgrounds gates. (The Trolley Museum also draws volunteers from far and wide. It's not unusual for the volunteer trolley conductors to come from out-of-state just for fair week.)

Monday, July 24, 2006

A Greenhouse Grows in Buffalo

The O-R had a great profile today out of Buffalo Township -- the story of Peg Hoover who recently became a small business owner for the first time at age 75.

From the article:

Throughout her life, especially in her 21 years working in a greenhouse, she always held strong to the notion that she wanted to start her own business.

In late April, she opened Peg's Greenhouse on a plot behind her Buffalo Township home, just off Mounts Valley Road.

She had just turned 75 which, as Hoover sees it, was all the more reason to stay busy.

"People sit down once they become 65 and they don't move and they die," said Hoover. "It was an easy decision because I'm in good health and my doctor said, 'Go for it, girl.'"

O-R Business Editor Mike Bradwell also had a piece in today's paper about another woman from the 46th District who is starting a new small business -- Michelle Hernandez of Burgettstown who has created the "Skatermom" clothing label. Craig Howell also has an article on Michelle in the PA Focus.

BEST WISHES to these two local entrepreneurs!

Snatchko named Colts' Honorary Captain

This Saturday, July 29, Paul will be the honorary captain for the match-up between the Pittsburgh Colts and the Ohio Invaders. Paul will do the coin toss and do play-by-play during the first half. We are looking forward to this evening of minor league football and were happy that the Colts asked Paul to join their team for the night. Kick-off will be at 7:00 p.m. and all Snatchko supporters are cordially invited to attend.

For more details about the Colts please visit and for more information about the game on Saturday visit

The Colts play their home games at Canon-McMillan High School's "Big Mac Stadium". We hope to see you there to support Paul and the Colts!

PA Focus Now On-Line!

Congratulations to the good people who put together the PA Focus, which is now on-line! The Focus is a publication of the Weirton Daily Times that reports on happenings in northwestern Washington County and surrounds. The staff of the Focus have been admirably filling a void in our communities created some years back by the closing of the McDonald Record-Outlook / Burgettstown Enterprise.

I'm proud that what I believe is the inaugural on-line edition of the Focus carries a well done article by Audra Taylor about the Burgettstown Area Republican Committee (BARC) and all of the help it has been giving to my campaign. In the article, Audra quotes BARC Treasurer Bill Lindley:

“We feel Paul Snatchko has made many inroads in our community by picking up several supporters from the Paul Walsh primary campaign,” Lindley said. “He will continue to gain support as his positive message of reform and prosperity reaches the voters of our community.”

The article also notes that BARC and the Snatchko Campaign will be hosting a BREAKFAST PICNIC the morning of Saturday, August 5, at the pavilion at the new Burgettstown Community Park.

Everyone is invited to attend this FREE event that will run from 9 to 11 a.m. We'll be having coffee, juice and various breakfast foods. It's a chance for the voters of the 46th District to learn more about me and the issues of this year's campaign in a casual setting. To RSVP or for details on the picnic, please contact BARC Secretary Jen Bertha at

Sunday, July 23, 2006

Some Words of Thanks

I need to extend a BIG THANK YOU to all those Snatchko Campaign volunteers who have helped out the last few days on a myriad of activities:

To everyone who helped to pass out balloons and otherwise support yours truly at the Oakdale Hose Company's parade and carnival on Friday evening and the Cecil Township Fire Company No. 3's parade and carnival earlier tonight. These supporters included: Assistant Campaign Manager Andy Walz and his college buddy Beth Floro; my cousin, Josh Snatchko of Oakdale; Mike and Heidi Neville; and Bob Keagy. Thanks also to Ernie McCullough, Meryl Hatton and Campaign Manager Tom Baker who joined me at the carnivals earlier in the week.

To the Snatchko Golf Outing Committee -- the members of which are now putting the finishing touches on the 2nd Paul Snatchko for State House Golf Outing to be held the morning of Friday, July 28 at Fort Cherry Golf Club. The committee includes: my cousins Sara Snatchko and Mary Ellen Snatchko; my aunt, Kay Snatchko; my brother and sister-in-law, Joe and Erin Snatchko; John Welch; and Campaign Manager Tom Baker. There is still time to RSVP for the golf outing if you would like to golf or just attend the post-golf luncheon. To make a reservation, please contact Sara at (724) 531-1991 or

To those family members and friends who joined me Thursday evening when we had some new photos taken for our campaign literature. Here's a sneak peak at one of the photos:

This wonderful group includes (clockwise from the top): Ernie McCullough of South Franklin Township; Andy Walz; Betty Brodmerkel of Frankfort Springs; my cousin Casey Fehl Horvath holding her three-week-old son, Brandon Richard Horvath; Rocco Giglio of Mt. Pleasant Township; and my Goddaughter, Georgianna Horvath.

Quick Aside:
You can see little Brandon Richard yawning in the photo above. He slept through the entire photo shoot -- despite the flash, barking dogs and other unexpected distractions. It's very appropriate he's in the photo, however. His middle name is taken from his paternal grandfather, Rich Horvath, who passed away a few years back. Rich was a big supporter during my 2002 race for the 46th District seat, putting up yard signs in parts of Robinson Township that I then didn't know existed. I'm glad to have Rich's namesake be a part of this year's campaign (even if he slept through the moment).

Saturday, July 22, 2006

Power Plant Hearing Heats Up

Caroline Shannon has a report in today's O-R from the Thursday evening hearing of the Robinson Township supervisors on the proposed "Beach Hollow Road" power plant. (Note to new readers of this blog: see the "King Coal" posts below for background.)

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Blood Drive on Saturday

This is not campaign-related in any way but I wanted to give it a plug in case the readers of this blog might like to give:

The Central Blood Bank is holding a blood drive this Saturday (July 22) from 9 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. in the St. Alphonsus Church Hall on West Lincoln Avenue in McDonald. To schedule an appointment, please call Vicki Lauff at (724) 796-4885. Walk-ins are also welcome.

King Coal Part Two

Dave Templeton has a well-done article in today's Pittsburgh Post-Gazette summing up the current status of the proposed refuse-coal power plant in Robinson Township. From Dave's article:

The commission said the company's application was deficient in describing land development, storm-water management, erosion and sediment control and grading once fly ash is disposed on site.

The commission also raised concern that the company will create the largest and most concentrated fly-ash and coal-combustion waste disposal site in eastern United States.

Fly ash, produced when coal or coal refuse is burned, contains heavy metals and other contaminants. The company proposes turning the fly ash into concrete to stabilize it before disposal.

Judy Kramer, planning commission secretary, said the six commission members did hundreds of hours of impartial research before rendering a decision.

"[Company officials] failed to prove they could control the dust," she said. "They failed to prove the project would not become a nuisance. They failed to prove they could control storm-water runoff."

The project, whose size gives it "regional significance," also would disturb an already contaminated site that's higher than surrounding properties, the commission said.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

King Coal

You only have to take a passing glance at today's Observer-Reporter to understand the impact that the coal industry has on the 46th Legislative District. Today's O-R carries one coal-related story from one of the northern reaches of the 46th and another coal-related story from the southern border of the 46th.

Caroline Shannon reports that Tuesday evening the Robinson Township Planning Commission voted unanimously to recommend that the township supervisors deny permits for the construction of a new $425-million power plant that would burn refuse coal from the "gob pile" near Beach Hollow Road and the McDonald/Midway exit of Route 22-30.

Linda Metz has a report on the anxiety of some residents of South Franklin Township whose homes are above an area that is slated to be mined by longwall coal-mining. Linda reports that:

... CONSOL Energy announced plans to expand Enlow Fork mine by about 7,050 acres for longwall mining and revise 2,638 acres of its current development mining to longwall mining.

The expansion will affect property in East Finley, South Franklin and Morris townships. Streams to be impacted include Crafts Creek, Ten Mile Creek, Templeton Fork, Buffalo Creek and Sawhill Run.

The mine's current permit consists of 26,627 underground acres and 488 surface acres. The expansion will take the mine's boundaries to within two miles of Interstate 70 and Route 18 in Prosperity, and one mile to Claysville.

Canton Revitilization

On July 13, I was able to attend the Canton Township meeting where the township supervisors, in conjunction with the Washington County Redevelopment Authority, and the Canton Planning Commission introduced the preliminary plan for Canton revitilization, or as it has been dubbed "Canton 2010." During the following six months residents and local businesses will be able to provide their input as to what should be placed in the area set aside for redevelopment. For more information on the project please see this link:

The residents in attendance at the meeting also expressed their desire for a Canton park to be opened. While 42 acres have been set aside for the project no money exists currently for it to be carried through. I believe this to be another reason Paul Snatchko should be elected to State House. He will fight to provide monies for quality projects, that can only enhance the 46th District as a whole. If citizens are dedicated to getting a project completed they should have a State Representative who will be there to fight with them, not tell them why it can't happen. Exactly how Paul would handle things if he were to be elected.

Friday, July 14, 2006

Bridge to WashPA

Kathy Warco reports in today's O-R that the new North Main Street bridge over I-70 may be open by Labor Day. This was welcome news for all those motorists (including yours truly) who often reach WashPA via that stretch of road from the Village of Arden in Chartiers Township. It's too bad it won't be up in time for the Washington County Fair. The fairgrounds are just north of the site.

From Kathy's article:

The North Main bridge, along with bridges on Lakeview Drive, also in South Strabane east of the south junction with I-79, and Sumney Road in Somerset Township, were demolished this year. All three spans took traffic over I-70. Structural deficiencies were discovered by the state Department of Transportation during inspections that followed the partial collapse of the Lakeview bridge onto the highway.

These are just three examples of the 22.4 percent of Pennsylvania bridges that engineers say are not as strong as they should be. If elected to the State House on November 7, I will support improvements to the PennDOT budget (and overall state transportation policy) that ensure replacement of "structurally deficient" bridges occurs on a timely basis.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Keeping the Doors Open

This weekend at Burgettstown Community Days, leaders of the Burgettstown Teen Center told us they are in danger of having to close the center's doors at the end of August due to the high cost of the center's utility bills. In addition to seeking government and private grants, they are also asking members of the community to consider making emergency contributions.

The teen center is located in a storefront in what many would consider the "old" part of Burgettstown, next to Pennsy's Restaurant and near the borough's one-time train station and the place where the Panhandle Trail is slated to be extended. (The teen center is not to be confused with Burgettstown's "Kids Center," which is located in the former senior center building next to the fire department.)

If you would like to learn more about the B'Town Teen Center, its mission and activities, please call Deb Trump at (724) 947-2490, Bill Richey at (724) 263-0505 or Vince Scalise at (724) 796-5937. (Vince is working towards the establishment of a boxing program at the center.)

They are asking that contributions be sent to:

Burgettstown Teen Center
P.O. Box 348
Burgettstown, PA 15021

According to their appeal letter, the center has received 501(c)3 status so contributions would be tax deductible.

Monday, July 10, 2006

Burgettstown Community Days were great!

Congratulations to everyone who helped put together Burgettstown Community Days this past Friday and Saturday. We had a great time at the event and had a Snatchko booth on Friday night and all day on Saturday. We also ran a game booth (scatter ball) during the afternoon and Paul helped out by working a food stand during the evening hours.

The BCD Parade, held on Saturday at 6:30 p.m. was also terrific. It started a little later than expected, so Paul, Jim Guiddy, and I got a chance to walk from person and person and meet the majority of people on the parade route. Thanks to everyone who helped out at the Snatchko table (Debbie Guiddy, Jim Guiddy, Bob Keagy, Andy Walz, Sara Snatchko, Jen Bertha, Kay Snatchko, Larry Snatchko, Vicki Bozic, and Cort Bozic). Burgettstown Community Days were a major success and we were glad to be part of it!

Sunday, July 09, 2006

Room to Grow

On Thursday, we attended the ribbon-cutting ceremony / open house for the new emergency department at Canonsburg General Hospital. Congratulations to all those involved in the creation of this new $7.3 million addition! At 11,200 square feet, it's a welcome change from the cramped quarters of the old ER (only about 4,000 square feet in size). Hospital administrators say the new ER will be large enough to accommodate new patients stemming from the residential and commercial growth expected in coming years for the hospital's service area (which includes communities in the 46th District).

From the hospital's press release:

The new Emergency Department features cutting-edge equipment and 18 specialty examination rooms each with a sliding glass door and curtain to maximize patient privacy. Among those 18 rooms will be two trauma rooms and a decontamination area to treat patients involved in industrial accidents. All of the examination rooms will be equipped with cardiac monitors.

Other features within the new department include an enlarged entryway, a medical imaging suite, expanded family waiting areas, new cardiac monitor technology and increased office space for medical personnel. A medical imaging suite within the department will result in the following benefits:

-- The images will be digital allowing the technologist to optimize resolution and to send images to the radiologist and Emergency Department physicians within seconds, thereby decreasing turnaround time.

-- Waiting time is also decreased since the medical imaging suite is dedicated to emergency department patients only.

An outpatient surgical suite and enhancements to the ambulatory care department, including a more private patient triage area, larger waiting area, and surgical recovery room, are also part of the project.

A grant from The Mario Lemieux Foundation's Playroom Project for an Austin's Playroom was awarded to Canonsburg General Hospital. The playroom, one of 14 Austin's Playrooms in western Pennsylvania, will include child-size furniture, an aquarium, games, a television with a VCR/DVD player and toys. It is located within the family waiting area.

In addition to the state and federal grants that helped to make the new ER a reality, countless local organizations and individuals contributed funds for the construction of the new ER. But, even with this tremendous support, the ER fundraising committee is still seeking funds to reach its goal. Here's the address if you would like to send a contribution to support the new ER:

Canonsburg General Hospital
Attention: Fundraising Coordinator
100 Medical Boulevard
Canonsburg, PA 15317

Quick aside: State Senator Barry Stout was among the speakers at the ribbon-cutting ceremony. He noted he is now the third-longest serving member of the Senate. This makes him, he quipped, "the third oldest rat in the barn."

Saturday, July 08, 2006

Putting the Brakes on "A Cherished Perk"

Tom Barnes and Tracie Mauriello of the Post-Gazette report today that, on the 1st Anniversary of the infamous legislative pay raise, the Pennsylvania Senate put an end to its members' taxpayer-paid car leases of up to $600 a month. The state senators also agreed that they and their staff members (about 1,000 people, according to the P-G) would begin contrituting to the cost of their health care plans.

From the article:

Until now, the (health care) premiums were fully paid by the state. The change should save taxpayers at least $450,000 a year, Mike Long, an aide to Senate President Pro Tem Bob Jubelirer, said yesterday ... The new policy on car leasing will take effect Aug. 1. The health premium change will take effect Sept. 15.

Mr. Long said that of the 50 senators, only 10 had been using the car leases, and not all of them at the $600-a-month level...

One is Mr. Jubelirer, an Altoona Republican who lost his re-election bid in May and will leave office Nov. 30. He leases a 2003 Lexus for $1,006 a month, with $600 coming from the state and the rest from himself.

Sen. Jane Orie, R-McCandless, used to lease a 2002 Ford Explorer for $498 a month, but has switched to a less-expensive 2006 Jeep Grand Cherokee at $364 a month.

Sen. Barry Stout, D-Washington, leases a 2005 Cadillac for $599 a month.

Mr. Long said that 30 other senators drive their own cars and are reimbursed for mileage. The remaining 10 senators drive cars from the state fleet...

"The members wanted to be responsive to the voters," Mr. Long said. "It was clear the lease arrangements were something the voters didn't like. They favored mileage reimbursement arrangements as they are used to in their own workplace."

Friday, July 07, 2006

1st Anniversary

Today is the 1st Anniversary of what will be remembered as a key date in the history of the Pennsylvania Legislature. It was around 2 a.m. on July 7, 2005 (in the final minutes of the session), that the Legislature voted to give itself a 16 percent to 54 percent raise (less for back-benchers, more for committee chairs and leaders). The provision included the unconstitutional move to receive the raise prior to the next election (as "unvouchered expenses"). The raise was approved without a single public hearing.

The raise was in addition to the legislators' automatic annual cost of living adjustment -- based on inflation rates in Philadelphia. It was in addition to their approximately $140 per diem. It was in addition to the free state-owned or state-leased vehicle of which each legislator may avail themselves.

The voters of Pennsylvania responded with justifiable outrage. Last November, the majority of voters chose to not retain state Supreme Court Justice Russell Nigro -- the first time in Commonwealth history that a state-level judge was not retained. (In an earlier instance, Nigro had voted on the court to allow the "unvouchered expenses.") Had it been left only to the voters of the 46th District, Supreme Court Justice Sandra Shultz Newman also would have been thrown off the bench. A week after Russell Nigro's ouster, the PA Legislature repealed the pay raise and hoped to put it behind them.

But that was not to be. In the primary election on May 17, the voters ousted 17 legislators (including the two highest-ranking Republicans in the State Senate). That's in addition to the 30 legislators, including the 46th District's Victor Lescovitz, who chose to retire this year.

In the end, I believe that all of this has been healthy for democracy in Pennsylvania. In 2006, we have more people running for office, more people campaigning, more people telling their friends and neighbors about the workings of state government (which many probably often forget exists). The pot has been stirred.

For my part, the pay raise fiasco of 2005 motivated me to sign up with PA CleanSweep, the grassroots organization dedicated to changing the culture of Harrisburg through the 2006 elections. As a PA CleanSweep-recommended candidate, I have pledged to uphold the following declaration:

I, the undersigned, hereby declare my commitment, upon election to the Pennsylvania General Assembly by the citizens of my legislative district, to sponsor and/or vote to enact legislation to specifically meet the following goals:

1. the repeal of Act 44, effectively returning compensation for members of Pennsylvania's legislative, executive and judicial branches to pre-Act 44 levels;

2. establishing a policy whereby all future compensation changes for Pennsylvania's legislative, executive and judicial branches shall be subject to voter approval by referendum;

3. and establishing a policy whereby no legislation in the General Assembly shall be considered for final passage until the citizens of the Commonwealth have been given no less than ten business days to review such legislation and provide comment to their respective legislators.

I also declare that while my party affiliation and/or personal ideology may differ from others who have signed or will sign this declaration, those differences are far less important than the primary need to reform the Pennsylvania General Assembly into a body which is more responsive and accountable to the citizens of the Commonwealth.

Separate from this declaration, I have also pledged (in my campaign announcement press release and in several public forums) that, if elected, I will not accept a free state-owned or state-leased vehicle for my use. This is just a small way I can show my commitment to cutting back the perks granted to our legislators. If I am elected on November 7, look for me to be driving my own car to Harrisburg.

Final Submission

Caroline Shannon has an update in today's O-R on the Robinson Township Planning Commission's deliberations on the waste-coal-fired power plant that has been proposed for construction near Beach Hollow Road and the McDonald/Midway exit of Route 22-30.

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Driving for Reform in the Fair Way

Attention Paul Snatchko supporters and golfers:

The Paul Snatchko for State Representative Golf Outing will be held Friday, July 28 at Fort Cherry Golf Club at 80 Fort Cherry Road, outside McDonald, PA. Registration begins at 8 a.m. with a shotgun start at 8:30 a.m.

The event will include a four-man best ball scramble, prizes and giveaways, and a buffet lunch at 2 p.m. If golfing doesn't interest you, and you'd still like to join in the fun and support Paul's candidacy, you can come for lunch only. The cost for golf and lunch is $100.00 per person ($375.00 for a foursome) and the cost for lunch only is $20.00.

Hole sponsorships are available for individual donors and political action committees. If you'd like to sign up to attend the event or volunteer, please contact Sara Snatchko at (724) 531-1991 or or Tom Baker at (412) 608-8842 or

(Disclaimers: state law prohibits corporate contributions to political committees. This event is paid for by the Paul Snatchko Campaign Committee.)

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Celebrating the 4th in Canonsburg

We had a great time today at the Canonsburg 4th of July Parade! Above is a picture taken by Canonsburg photographer Steve Burchesky of Tom Baker, Ernie McCullough and yours truly as we made our way along the parade route greeting voters. (Thank you to Steve for sending us this photo!)

THANK YOU to all those supporters who came out today in the rain to pass out balloons for me and other GOP candidates to parade-goers. Some of our friends braving the elements included Joanna Renko, Kim Ward, Meryl Hatton, Bonnie West, Sandy West, Caitlin Amos, Erin Baker, Lyn Tinkey, Andy Walz, Albie Mercer, Laura Zajdel, Chad McCutcheon, Lisa Maust, Eric Maust, Theresa Maust, Liz Davies, Hal Davies, Tammy Davis and Jason Davidek -- as well as Ernie and Tom. And a Special Thank-You to Shirley Liapes of Bluff Avenue for opening up her parade-route home to our volunteers!

Happy Independence Day!

John Adams originally thought it would be July 2, not July 4, that would be celebrated as America's Independence Day. But, he correctly predicted how the day would be commemorated:

I am apt to believe that it will be celebrated by succeeding generations as the great anniversary festival. It ought to be commemorated as the day of deliverance, by solemn acts of devotion to God Almighty. It ought to be solemnized with pomp and parade, with shows, games, sports, guns, bells, bonfires, and illuminations, from one end of this continent to the other, from this time forward forever more.

Our Declaration of Independence (ratified in what was then the Pennsylvania State House) is one of the most important documents in the history of democratic thought. It deserves to be reread frequently. Here it is:


WHEN, in the Course of human Events, it becomes necessary for one People to dissolve the Political Bands which have connected them with another, and to assume, among the Powers of the Earth, the separate and equal Station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's GOD entitle them, a decent Respect to the Opinions of Mankind requires that they should declare the Causes which impel them to the Separation.
We hold these Truths to be self-evident, that all Men are created equal, that they are endowed, by their CREATOR, with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness.--That to secure these Rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just Powers from the Consent of the Governed, that whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these Ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its Foundation on such Principles, and organizing its Powers in such Form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate, that Governments long established, should not be changed for light and transient Causes; and accordingly all Experience hath shewn, that Mankind are more disposed to suffer, while Evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the Forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long Train of Abuses and Usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object, evinces a Design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their Right, it is their Duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future Security. Such has been the patient Sufferance of these Colonies; and such is now the Necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government. The History of the present King of Great-Britain is a History of repeated Injuries and Usurpations, all having in direct Object the Establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid World.

HE has refused his Assent to Laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public Good.

HE has forbidden his Governors to pass Laws of immediate and pressing Importance, unless suspended in their Operation till his Assent should be obtained; and when so suspended, he has utterly neglected to attend to them.

HE has refused to pass other Laws for the Accommodation of large Districts of People, unless those People would relinquish the Right of Representation in the Legislature, a Right inestimable to them, and formidable to Tyranny only.

HE has called together Legislative Bodies at Places unusual, uncomfortable, and distant from the Depository of their public Records, for the sole Purpose of fatiguing them into Compliance with his Measures.

HE has dissolved Representative Houses repeatedly, for opposing with manly Firmness his Invasions on the Rights of the People.

HE has refused for a long Time, after such Dissolutions, to cause others to be elected; whereby the Legislative Powers, incapable of Annihilation, have returned to the People at large for their exercise; the State remaining, in the mean Time, exposed to all the Dangers of Invasion from without, and Convulsions within.

HE has endeavoured to prevent the Population of these States; for that Purpose obstructing the Laws for Naturalization of Foreigners; refusing to pass others to encourage their Migrations hither, and raising the Conditions of new Appropriations of Lands.

HE has obstructed the Administration of Justice, by refusing his Assent to Laws for establishing Judiciary Powers.

HE has made Judges dependent on his Will alone, for the Tenure of their Offices, and the Amount and Payment of their Salaries.

HE has erected a Multitude of new Offices, and sent hither Swarms of Officers to harrass our People, and eat out their Substance.

HE has kept among us, in Times of Peace, Standing Armies, without the Consent of our Legislatures.

HE has affected to render the Military independent of and superior to the Civil Power.

HE has combined with others to subject us to a Jurisdiction foreign to our Constitution, and unacknowledged by our Laws; giving his Assent to their Acts of pretended Legislation:

FOR quartering large Bodies of Armed Troops among us:

FOR protecting them, by a mock Trial, from Punishment for any Murders which they should commit on the Inhabitants of these States:

FOR cutting off our Trade with all Parts of the World:

FOR imposing Taxes on us without our Consent:

FOR depriving us, in many Cases, of the Benefits of Trial by Jury:

FOR transporting us beyond Seas to be tried for pretended Offences:

FOR abolishing the free System of English Laws in a neighbouring Province, establishing therein an arbitrary Government, and enlarging its Boundaries, so as to render it at once an Example and fit Instrument for introducing the same absolute Rule into these Colonies:

FOR taking away our Charters, abolishing our most valuable Laws, and altering fundamentally the Forms of our Governments:

FOR suspending our own Legislatures, and declaring themselves invested with Power to legislate for us in all Cases whatsoever.

HE has abdicated Government here, by declaring us out of his Protection, and waging War against us.

HE has plundered our Seas, ravaged our Coasts, burnt our Towns, and destroyed the Lives of our People.

HE is, at this Time, transporting large Armies of foreign Mercenaries to complete the Works of Death, Desolation, and Tyranny, already begun with Circumstances of Cruelty and Perfidy, scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous Ages, and totally unworthy the Head of a civilized Nation.

HE has constrained our Fellow-Citizens, taken Captive on the high Seas, to bear Arms against their Country, to become the Executioners of their Friends and Brethren, or to fall themselves by their Hands.

HE has excited domestic Insurrections amongst us, and has endeavoured to bring on the Inhabitants of our Frontiers, the merciless Indian Savages, whose known Rule of Warfare, is an undistinguished Destruction, of all Ages, Sexes, and Conditions.

IN every Stage of these Oppressions we have Petitioned for Redress in the most humble Terms: Our repeated Petitions have been answered only by repeated Injury. A Prince, whose Character is thus marked by every Act which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to be the Ruler of a free People.

NOR have we been wanting in Attentions to our British Brethren. We have warned them, from Time to Time, of Attempts by their Legislature to extend an unwarrantable Jurisdiction over us. We have reminded them of the Circumstances of our Emigration and Settlement here. We have appealed to their native Justice and Magnanimity, and we have conjured them by the Ties of our common Kindred to disavow these Usurpations, which would inevitably interrupt our Connexions and Correspondence. They too have been deaf to the Voice of Justice and of Consanguinity. We must, therefore, acquiesce in the Necessity, which denounces our Separation, and hold them, as we hold the Rest of Mankind, Enemies in War, in Peace Friends.

WE, therefore, the Representatives of the UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, in GENERAL CONGRESS Assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the World for the Rectitude of our Intentions, do, in the Name, and by Authority of the good People of these Colonies, solemnly Publish and Declare, That these United Colonies are, and of Right ought to be, FREE AND INDEPENDENT STATES; that they are absolved from all Allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political Connexion between them and the State of Great-Britain, is, and ought to be, totally dissolved; and that as FREE AND INDEPENDENT STATES, they have full Power to levy War, conclude Peace, contract Alliances, establish Commerce, and to do all other Acts and Things which INDEPENDENT STATES may of Right do. And for the Support of this Declaration, with a firm Reliance on the Protection of DIVINE PROVIDENCE, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes, and our sacred Honour.

John Hancock.

GEORGIA, Button Gwinnett, Lyman Hall, Geo. Walton.

NORTH-CAROLINA, Wm. Hooper, Joseph Hewes, John Penn.

SOUTH-CAROLINA, Edward Rutledge, Thos Heyward, junr. Thomas Lynch, junr. Arthur Middleton.

MARYLAND, Samuel Chase, Wm. Paca, Thos. Stone, Charles Carroll, of Carrollton.

VIRGINIA, George Wythe, Richard Henry Lee, Ths. Jefferson, Benja. Harrison, Thos. Nelson, jr. Francis Lightfoot Lee, Carter Braxton.

PENNSYLVANIA, Robt. Morris, Benjamin Rush, Benja. Franklin, John Morton, Geo. Clymer, Jas. Smith, Geo. Taylor, James Wilson, Geo. Ross.

DELAWARE, Caesar Rodney, Geo. Read.

NEW-YORK, Wm. Floyd, Phil. Livingston, Frank Lewis, Lewis Morris.

NEW-JERSEY, Richd. Stockton, Jno. Witherspoon, Fras. Hopkinson, John Hart, Abra. Clark.

NEW-HAMPSHIRE, Josiah Bartlett, Wm. Whipple, Matthew Thornton.

MASSACHUSETTS-BAY, Saml. Adams, John Adams, Robt. Treat Paine, Elbridge Gerry.

RHODE-ISLAND AND PROVIDENCE, Step. Hopkins, William Ellery.

CONNECTICUT, Roger Sherman, Saml. Huntington, Wm. Williams, Oliver Wolcott.

Monday, July 03, 2006

Jet Blue Lands in Pittsburgh

Tom Fontaine reports yesterday at (the home of the Beaver County Times & Allegheny County Times on the Web) about the arrival on Friday of Jet Blue at the Pittsburgh International Airport. The addition of this "discount carrier" at the airport is an important step in the efforts to diversify the options for travelers to and from the Pittsburgh area. From Tom's article:

Since 2000, eight so-called low-fare carriers have entered the Pittsburgh market. Four remain, including JetBlue, which launched service to New York and Boston on Friday. According to JetBlue, before the airline announced in March that it was coming to the Pittsburgh market, fares offered by its competitors on the New York and Boston routes were more than 80 percent higher than they were Friday.

Even though the Pittsburgh International Airport is not located in the 46th District, its economic impact on the district is undeniable (being just a five-minute drive from the district's northern boundary). I don't think it's stretching to say that thousands of jobs of 46th District residents are impacted in one way or another by the airport.

If I am elected to the State House on November 7, I would seek to be an active partner in efforts to strengthen the airport and ensure its viability in these years when it adapts from being a USAirways hub. In the past year, I have attended many events sponsored by the Pittsburgh Airport Area Chamber of Commerce and, if elected, would work with the chamber to bring more jobs into the region.

And, from the northern to the southern reaches of the 46th District, I also would seek to be a partner with Washington County officials to grow the Washington County Airport -- located in South Franklin Township. Is is possible that one day the Washington County Airport could be on par with other small airports such as the Arnold Palmer Regional Airport in Latrobe?

Sunday, July 02, 2006

Hot Times in Avella

Hello Everyone,

I'm Andy Walz and recently I came on board the campaign as assistant campaign manager. It has been an interesting couple of weeks and I have enjoyed my time thus far. I just want to introduce myself a bit before getting into the Independence Township meeting. I recently graduated from Saint Vincent College where I served in the student government for four years, and the final one as president, and majored in political science. Last summer I had the privilege to intern in the Executive Office of the President, needless to say I just love politics. I'm looking forward to learning a lot more from Paul and Tom, though. On to the meeting......

I believe this township meeting epitomized every reason Paul is running for State House, the idea of Public Service vs. Self Service and the preservation of power. Obviously, Paul believes the need of his constituents will always outway the preservation of any elected officials power, which is why he is such an ardent supporter of term limits. But, I am getting off course. The major issue brought up at the meeting was that nearly all of the business owners in downtown Avella want the township to step in and either condemn or tear down the buildings that are basically falling down. However, the supervisors seemed to believe that this issue was not really in their jurisdiction, and recommended that a chamber of commerce be formed to put together a funding plan. While this seems like a good idea, it appeared to me that the business owners already had thought through a number of issues and the supervisors were just unwilling to act, and did not want to take any responsibilty, thus passing the decision off to a yet to be formed chamber of commerce.

Actions like these are unacceptable in an area as financially strapped as Southwestern Pennsylvania. If a group of concerned citizens band together to get a project done that will ultimately enhance the community as a whole, they should not have to fight with the local government to get it done. Rather, that government should count its blessings that the citizens actually care and are willing to put a lot of time and energy into the project.

I think a state representative who has experience in small town issues and knows the concerns and problems within them, like Paul, will work to put together a plan so concerned citizens can take action within their communities, and once again be proud to call a place, like Avella, home.

Thank You to our McSummerfest Parade Team!

I would like to extend a THANK YOU to all those Snatchko Campaign volunteers who joined in our "balloon brigade" yesterday during the McSummerfest Parade along East Lincoln and West Lincoln avenues in McDonald. My thanks goes out to Ernie McCullough, Joyce Morich, Bonnie West, Sandy West, Lyn Tinkey, Roxanne Buckels, Phyllis Englert, Gretchen Englert, Dan Bates, Megan Bates, Emily McConnell, as well as the Snatchko Campaign's Tom Baker and Andy Walz.

I'd also like to extend a special thank you to California Borough Mayor Casey Durdines and former Peters Township Councilman Mike Neville who joined me in walking alongside my car during the parade. (You'll be seeing more of Mike -- he will be a candidate for Washington County Commissioner in 2007.)

Thanks also to those who stopped by during the open house we held during the parade at the Snatchko Campaign headquarters at 106 West Lincoln Avenue. Stopping in were Midway Borough Councilman Bob Growden, former Cecil Township Supervisor B.C. Coleman, Jen Bertha and the other members of the All-American Girls Dance Team, as well other family members and friends. Registering to vote during the open house was 18-year-old David Growden of the Gladden Heights neighborhood of Cecil Township. Thanks, David!

We also were glad to be joined in our balloon brigade efforts at the HQ by Elizabeth Borough Council President Monica Douglas, Trip Oliver, Christa Meeder and Chad McCutcheon with their crew from the Swann for Governor campaign.

And, last but certainly not least, THANK YOU to Joe Sekura and the other members of the McDonald Fire Department for organizing the annual McSummerfest Parade. At nearly two hours in duration, this year's parade was the longest in memory for this borough native.

Saturday, July 01, 2006

Great visit to the Burgettstown Senior Center

Paul and I had a great visit to the Burgettstown Senior Center on Friday. Everyone in attendance was very supportive of Paul and asked him some terrific questions. Jan and the staff at the Center were very nice and invited us to stay on for lunch. It was our second time visiting with Burgettstown residents in the last 24 hours. On Thursday night we attended the Strawberry Festival in Burgettstown, sponsored by the Knights of Columbus. We really appreciated how welcoming the organizers and leaders of the group were. It is nice to see how naturally Paul fits in with residents at events and meetings and it is obvious that they trust him. Also, it is great to hear that many sincerely hope that Paul will be their representative in Harrisburg. We continue to enjoy making dozens of friends daily throughout the 46th District!