House Speaker Sam Smith announces re-election bid

PUNXSUTAWNEY — Monday, State Rep. Sam Smith (R-66) announced he will run for re-election to Pennsylvania’s House of Representatives this year.

“It is a privilege to serve the hardworking men, women and families of the 66th Legislative district in the state legislature,” Smith said.

“Our shared values are what guide me as Pennsylvania’s Speaker, and they are what drove me to help guide state government back on track after eight years of out-of-control spending and borrowing. We’ve taken the first steps to fiscal sanity, and the next steps are to restore Pennsylvania’s economy and create the jobs our families need, which will take discipline, commitment and experience.”

With a record of working with county and municipal officials, Smith said, “Good jobs continue to be the No. 1 one priority, and it is the main reason we are fighting to balance the development of the Marcellus gas industry with the rights and necessity we all have for clean water and air.”

As prime sponsor of the law that created the Environmental Stewardship Fund (Growing Greener program) Smith commented, “Acid mine drainage discharges and hundreds of acres of mine lands have been cleaned up through our work, but we must learn from mistakes of the past as we grow jobs and seek independence from foreign energy.”

Under Smith’s leadership, the House passed critical legislation aimed at restoring fiscal discipline to state government, helping make Pennsylvania more business-friendly to existing employers and those interested in starting businesses here, and preserving the values Pennsylvanians share, such as:

• Passed a balanced budget on time — for the first time in seven years — that didn’t raise taxes;

• In spite of billions of lost Federal stimulus dollars, focused state spending on priorities like education funding;

• Changing the state’s tort system to curb lawsuit abuse;

• Reforming the welfare system;

• Forced the repeal of the sprinkler mandate in new homes consistent with his long-standing opposition to the statewide building code;

• Led State House members to pay a portion of their own health care, like those in the private sector do;

• Created a comprehensive and easily searchable online database of state spending to make the budget process more transparent to protect taxpayers; and,

• Helped pass the Castle Doctrine to reinforce a person’s right to defend themselves, their families and their homes in the face of an attacker.

“I will continue to work to ensure state spending is focused on our priorities,” Smith said. “That’s why we demanded restoration of education funding from what the governor originally proposed last year.

We must demand that every state agency provide the services required while protecting taxpayers and staying out of the way of the men and women working to grow Pennsylvania’s economy.”

In looking back on his first year as speaker, Smith said, “In 2011, we were successful in improving Pennsylvania’s financial footing and beginning to blaze a path back toward economic recovery and job growth. However, I know the future has many challenges. That is why I hope to continue using my experience to work in Harrisburg for the policies that will help families and taxpayers here at home — initiatives that create jobs, economic growth and protect our values.”