Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Phoenixville Councilmember Kendrick Buckwalter announces run for Pennsylvania's 157th State House District seat

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

By Dennis J. Wright, dwright@pottsmerc.com

PHOENIXVILLE — Phoenixville Borough Councilman Kendrick Buckwalter (R-West) has announced he is seeking the Republican nomination to to run for the 157th state House District.

(Click to enlarge)

The district encompasses Phoenixville, Schuylkill and Tredyffrin townships in Chester County, and portions of Lower Providence and West Norriton in Montgomery County.

The seat is held by freshman Democrat Paul Drucker, who is expected to seek re-election.

A Phoenixville resident, Buckwalter is a small businessman and 15-year veteran of municipal government in the borough. He has served as chairman of Phoenixville's zoning hearing board, and has been elected to two terms on Borough Council, where he currently serves. He has also volunteered as a firefighter, and is well-known for his support of the work they do.

Buckwalter recently won a unanimous decision before the Pennsylvania Supreme Court when he challenged the constitutionality of a Borough Council decision regarding compensation.

Buckwalter says he is a mainstream conservative who takes constitutional government seriously.

"Obviously, it put me in an awkward position and great political risk, but I thought what council did was bad public policy in the first place," Buckwalter said about his case. "I filed the complaint because it was a constitutional issue. As an elected official you take an oath of office to obey and defend the Constitution. There's no loophole for personal or political convenience. It was gratifying the Supreme Court saw it my way."

In addition to being an advocate of constitutional government, Buckwalter said he plans on being a voice for fiscal responsibility.

"There are lots of issues that concern the General Assembly," he said. "But they all come back to whether or not we are being good trustees of the public's hard-earned money. It is difficult for us to concentrate on needed education reforms, for example, when we are afraid of the commonwealth going bankrupt."

Buckwalter said his unhappiness with the current state of things in Harrisburg is palpable, and that he is an advocate for reform.

"The General Assembly has one job, really, and that's to pass a budget," he said. "This year it was months late. And the budget they did pass was in the red before the ink was dry on it. We have a Constitutional provision mandating balanced budgets, but given this, I'm not entirely sure that many people care."

As a small businessman, Buckwalter said he is especially attuned to the lagging economy in Pennsylvania, and that the economy has not "lagged just in the recent recession."

"If Pennsylvania had merely grown at the national average since 1990 we would have 700,000 additional jobs," he said. "We have some of the best colleges and universities in the world in Pennsylvania, but we can't keep those students here after they graduate. Our sons and daughters moving away. And, yes, future taxpayers are moving away, too. It is unsustainable."

In Phoenixville, Buckwalter has been an advocate of a number of initiatives not generally thought to be at the top of a conservative's list of priorities.

For example, as chairman of the health/sanitation/utilities committee, he took a hard look at the borough's trash and recycling policies.

"Before the borough took over its own trash collection and recycling services from a private hauler, Phoenixville was in the bottom five for the worst recycling rate in Chester County," he stated. "Today Phoenixville is in the top five of the best and was a recipient of a recycling performance grant of $77,165 in September of 2009.

"Being a conservative has to involve actually conserving something. Our money, sure. And traditional middle-class values. But the environment has to be a part of that mix, too."

Buckwalter said he believes the people of the district deserve nothing less than his full attention to this race, and then to performing in office. He said he feels he is certain he can win, too.

"Guy Ciarrocchi ran a great race in 2008, but couldn't quite win," he said. "The district has changed a little bit over the years. A Republican needs the votes of independents and conservative democrats, especially in Phoenixville, to win this race.

"People are sick of politics as usual, especially independents and Reagan democrats. I am not the typical politician. I'm just a small businessman who sincerely believes in civic service. We have other good Republicans interested in this seat , but I think I'm the one that really appeals to the broadest range of people, and I have done it without sacrificing basic conservative values."

Buckwalter has already set up a Web site for his campaign, www.BuckwalterForPA.com



Avenger for fiscal responisbility said...

I will be sorry to see Ken leave us to the wolves on borough council. I hope Dave G. can come through for us.

Anonymous said...

Best Wishes to Ken!! Great to have a TRUE PUBLIC Servant, aspire to higher office!

Chris DeVol
East Vincent Township