Rep. Timothy S. Mahoney November 22, 2016
When I was first elected to the state House in 2006, it was out of a deep-seated desire to do good for the people of the 51st Legislative District, Fayette County and the state of Pennsylvania.
I knew then that I was not the fanciest-talking elected official – nor would I ever be. But I was a straight shooter who believed that the people deserved better. From my early success as prime sponsor of the House version of an updated Open Records Law, which for the first time included the state legislature, to the recent announcement of a $1.5 million state grant to help fund expansion of the Boeing plant in Georges Township – and thousands of things, large and small, in between – I am proud of my 10-year track record as a state representative.
My time in this position ends this month, following the results of the Nov. 8 election where voters in the 51st District, which now includes part of western Somerset County, chose to go in a different direction, just as they did back in 2006 when they elected me.
I respect their decision and wish my successor good luck. We still face a lot of challenges in Fayette and Somerset counties, such as job creation, eliminating suffocating school property taxes, combating a heroin and opioid abuse epidemic that I was among the first to warn about, and obtaining a satisfactory level of police protection.
While I have worked tirelessly to achieve those goals, one quickly discovers that the wheels of Harrisburg – much like the proverbial wheels of justice – often grind slowly. In many cases, they grind way too slowly for a guy like me, who wants to get things done quickly even if it means upending and upsetting the status quo. For the past decade, for better or worse, I have told it as I saw it, with no sugar coating or sidestepping.
Am I disappointed that my idea to consolidate the administrations of Fayette County’s public school districts, at a potential savings of up to $60 million, was never seriously considered by local school boards who regularly raise your property taxes? You bet I am.
Am I proud that I was one of 13 House Democrats who voted with Republicans to end last year’s nine-month state budget impasse, so our schools and social services finally could be funded, without raising income or sales taxes despite intense lobbying from my own party to do so? You bet I am.
And do I believe that my constituents in the 51st Legislative District, whether they supported me or not, deserve top-shelf service when seeking help from state programs and agencies? You bet I do – and that’s why I stood up to the governor when he tried to make those services more difficult to obtain through the offices of several legislators, including mine, after our anti-tax budget votes. That’s called having a backbone.
I know what my legislative record was and remain confident that it will pass the test of time, rising above whatever distortions and fabrications were purposely pasted over it in the past few months.
As I exit public office to return to the private sector, which was always part of my plan, I take comfort in knowing that for the past 10 years, my legislative staff and I have done our best to provide constituent services, obtain funding for worthy projects, put new ideas on the table and fight for what we thought was right.