BURNHAM - The Republican candidate for the U.S. 5th Congressional District, Glenn Thompson, was the guest speaker at Tuesday's Lewistown Rotary meeting at Birch Hill.
Thompson said he was pleased to attend the event and he has always felt at home in Mifflin County, citing his 30 years as a scoutmaster and current president of the Juniata Valley Boy Scout Council.
Through out his campaign, Thompson said he has tried to make an effort to listen as much as he speaks and has made a point to meet with Juniata Valley residents and businesses to hear their concerns.
Sentinel photo by BUFFIE BOYER
Glenn Thompson, Republican candidate for the 5th Congressional District, speaks to members of the Lewistown Rotary Club on Tuesday.
Thompson said the district is filled with "good hard working people" who, for the most part, want government to stay out of the way.
For the past 22 years Thompson has worked for Susquehanna Health Rehab Services, which he said has helped learn to work within a diverse group of people toward a common goal, a sentiment he hopes to carry to Washington, D.C. In addition, Thompson has served as the Centre County Republican chairman as well as on the Republican State Committee for six years and Bald Eagle Area School Board for six years.
"Reaching across the aisle to do the right thing," Thompson said his goal if he is elected to represent the people of the 5th Congressional District.
Thompson addressed several issues voiced by Rotarians and said government spending should be restricted to "responsible and wise investments."
Thompson said he was particularly pleased that the Federal Highway Administration had rejected the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission's request to impose tolling on Interstate 80, something he said would unfairly impact rural communities and small businesses in the district.
Thompson said there was a collective "sigh of relief" from everyone upon hearing the news that the tolling of the interstate had been stopped in its tracks, adding that upon speaking with people there seemed be a "consensus that it would have been detrimental to the economy."
"This is a commonwealth-wide problem, let's find a commonwealth-wide solution," Thompson said of the funding for road and bridge repairs.
Thompson said in order to maintain a safe highway system and repair bridges and roads, the first step should be to "stop stealing money out of the road and bridge fund." The second step was to take a serious look at the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission and how it operates, Thompson said. He said another part of the problem is that government is making the determination as to what bridges and roads are repaired and what order they are repaired.
"We need to allow the professionals to make that call," Thompson said, referring to structural engineers.
On energy issues, Thompson said the biggest problem is that there has not been a comprehensive energy plan for the United States in years.
"We're spending $7 billion a year overseas," Thompson said of America's dependency on foreign sources of energy. "That's a practice that needs to stop."
"We have got the opportunity and the resources here," Thompson said of oil and gas reserves in the district itself and throughout the country.
Thompson also said nuclear energy and alternative energy such as renewable resources should be factored into a comprehensive national energy plan as well.
Thompson said he was very concerned about the cost of home heating oil and the impact this will have on many people throughout the district this winter.
On transportation concerns, Thompson stressed the importance in investing and expanding the states rail system, which he said was a real asset for Pennsylvania.
Thompson was asked about his position on immigration, and said he has mapped out a plan that he calls S.E.E., which stands for Securing the nation's borders, Expediting legal immigration and Enforcing the law.
"I understand why people come here illegally but we're a country of laws," Thompson said.
Thompson said it is unfair that people who want to come the United States legally are caught up in bureaucratic red tape.
When asked about the current market crisis unfolding, Thompson said he has never been a supporter of "government bailouts" and blamed irresponsible management for the current state of some of the larger financial institutions.
Thompson said part of the problem is a few large companies were responsible for the majority of mortgages in the country. Thompson suggested that the companies that provide mortgage loans should be smaller and more diverse.
In closing, Thompson said he looked forward to serving with and working for the people of the 5th Congressional District.
"I'm committed to working for your families and your future," Thompson said to the audience at the meeting.