Indiana, PA - Indiana County

Letter to the editor: Writer says Reed vs. Freeberg is a clear choice

on August 31, 2014 1:59 AM

I am a political junkie, but when it comes to local politics, I often fail to take the time to research the candidates and end up voting for no one at all. This year, however, I do know one of the candidates, Kevin Freeberg, who is running for the Pennsylvania House seat now occupied by Dave Reed. I know almost nothing about Reed so I set out to discover where he and Kevin differ most on the issues.

I met Kevin Freeberg 10 years ago when I did a workshop for his fifth-graders. Kevin has been teaching social studies in Indiana for 34 years, and he is a masterful teacher. He was really upset when Gov. Corbett chose to deal with Pennsylvania’s budget problems by eliminating 20,000 teacher positions. And Dave Reed voted for those drastic cuts. In the area of education then, there is a vast difference between the candidates’ priorities.

Another clear difference is taxes. In Kevin’s view, placing a modest tax on Marcellus shale for extracting gas from Pennsylvania — as every other large gas-producing state does — is a no-brainer. Unfortunately, Dave Reed, like Gov. Corbett, disagrees: He voted against the severance tax. If that bill had been passed in 2010, we would now have an extra $500 million in Pennsylvania’s budget. Kevin believes that money could have helped create more jobs and provide more job training in Indiana County.

I’m not sure why Corbett and Reed opposed a severance tax on Marcellus shale, but I found it very interesting to learn that Marcellus companies have given more money to Reed than to any other Pennsylvania candidate except two.

The website MarcellusMoney.org, a collaboration of Common Cause Pennsylvania and the Conservation Voters of Pennsylvania, reported that of all the contributions given to 305 Pennsylvania candidates between 2001 and 2012, Reed received the third-highest amount: $137,532.33. (Corbett was given the most at $1,813,305.59.) According to Common Cause, the Marcellus industry has spent $23 million “putting their friends in the state Legislature.”

Kevin is not a politician. He is just a good person who believes he can make a difference. I think he would be the kind of leader we need in Pennsylvania — someone who will think for himself, someone who will have the political courage to do the right thing.

So when you cast your vote in the 62nd district this year, remember, you do have a choice.

Kathleen Werner Millward

Indiana

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