Late last month, I told you that teachers' union advocate Kevin Deely plans to run for Justin Simmons' seat in the state house. But he'll have to beat Simmons first. The freshman state rep. has issued a news release, announcing his intention to seek a second term.
COOPERSBURG – State Representative Justin Simmons (R-131) announced today that he will run for re-election to the Pennsylvania House of Representatives in 2012.
“During my first year in office, I have answered the public's call to restore fiscal discipline to state government and have focused on making our state more competitive in the national marketplace, but there is more to be done," said Simmons. "While we have taken the right first steps, restoring our economy, due to eight years of over-spending and over-borrowing by the previous administration, will take time."
Simmons outlined several successes from his first year in the State House, including:
- Passing a balanced budget by the constitutionally mandated deadline (the first in eight years) and without raising taxes;
- Focusing the state budget on priorities like education funding despite the loss of billions of dollars in federal stimulus funding;
- Making Pennsylvania more competitive in the national jobs marketplace through initiatives such as the Angel Investor Tax Credit, and reforms to the state’s tort system, workers’ compensation system, and business tax reductions;
- Passing legislation that would commit 100% of all gaming revenue to property tax relief;
- Passing The Castle Doctrine;
- Supporting new laws to give voters a stronger voice on property taxes and making the legislature more transparent to Pennsylvania residents.
“As 2011 began, Pennsylvania faced multi-billion dollar budget deficits and the legislature faced a simple choice: reign in spending or force tax increases on our citizens. No one can afford more in these difficult economic times, which is why I worked so hard to finally bring fiscal sanity to Harrisburg by refusing a tax increase or increasing debt in the budget process,” said Simmons.
Elected in part on his pledge to reform Harrisburg and restore the public’s trust, Simmons said that he has kept that promise. Simmons refused perks like a taxpayer paid automobile and per diems, refusing the taxpayer-paid pension, and returning the COLA for both 2011 and 2012 to the state treasury. Simmons also supported the successful effort to force House members to pay for a portion of their healthcare costs like those in the private sector.
“I ran for this office to try and make a difference for local residents and Pennsylvania, not to take part in the perks of office. I promised to turn my back on those perks and have kept that promise,” commented Simmons.
Looking ahead, Simmons said there is more work to be done to keep Pennsylvania on a course toward economic recovery.
“I will continue to work to ensure education funding remains a top priority in the budget, and push for further reforms to our state’s tax structure to help lure new job creators to our state and encourage current businesses to expand and create more jobs,” said Simmons. “I’m asking for your continued support in the upcoming election.”