Indiana County, Pennsylvania

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The General Assembly, the legislative branch of state government, is composed of two houses, the Senate and the House of Representatives. A majority vote of both houses is necessary to pass a law. Every law concerning taxation must originate in the House of Representatives. There are 203 members of the House and 50 members of the Senate.

Senators are elected to a four-year term. The annual salary is $66,203.55.

Indiana County

Senate District 41

All boroughs and townships in Indiana County are included in Senate District 41. District 41 also includes most of Armstrong County and portions of Clearfield, Butler, and Westmoreland Counties.

Don White

Year of birth: 1950
Attended Juniata College and IUP

Qualifications for office:
During my first term in the State Senate, I have worked very hard to secure funding to improve our highways, develop water and sewer infrastructure and create opportunities to retain and create good paying jobs. I’ve also worked in Harrisburg to pass legislation to protect our doctors from frivolous lawsuits, expand prescription drug coverage and give voters a say on future increases in school property taxes. As chairman of the Veterans Affairs and Emergency Preparedness Committee and as a member of the Community and Economic Development, Agriculture and Rural Affairs, Banking and Insurance, Transportation and Environmental Resources and Energy committees, I am well positioned to represent the interests of the people of the 41st District in the Pennsylvania Senate.

QUESTION 1: Emissions of toxic mercury from coal-burning power plants can cause birth defects and other public health problems. What action do you support to address this significant risk to our environment?

Over the course of several decades, we have made great strides toward improving our environment – especially in the area of toxic emissions from power plants. Two examples are the recent opening of Reliant’s coal refuse generating facility in Seward and Midwest Generation’s new scrubber system in Homer City. These facilities are using new technology to make electric generation cleaner and more efficient. The Commonwealth must encourage power plants to use alternative fuels and cleaner methods, and I’m committed to working with Secretary McGinty and Senate leadership to champion initiatives to continue to find ways to reduce emissions while insuring an adequate and efficient power supply.

QUESTION 2: Pennsylvania is among the states with the highest tuition for residents attending state-owned universities (the 14 universities in the State System of Higher Education, including IUP).Will you support significant increases in the state appropriation for these schools? Why or why not?

I have and will continue to support increases in funding for the SSHE. IUP is not only the hub of economic activity in our community, but is a quality institution that prepares our children for today’s world. I will continue to support IUP and the SSHE under all possible circumstances.

QUESTION 3: Pennsylvania’s system of distributing state funds to schools is badly flawed, so that wealthier districts tend to receive significantly more state and local revenue than property-poor ones do. What steps must be taken to address the inequitable funding formula for public schools?

I firmly believe every child has a right to an equal and quality education. The schools I represent are some of the poorest and already receive most of their funding from the Commonwealth. However, on a per pupil basis their expenditures are much less than most schools in the more wealthy areas. I am a proponent of changing the funding formula to account for per pupil expenditures made by districts and increase state funding to ensure each child in Pennsylvania is given the same opportunities.

QUESTION 4: All lawmakers representing Indiana County support efforts to improve the local economy through job training and development and infrastructure improvements. Other than these, what will be your priorities as a member of the General Assembly?

We need to address the increasing costs of health care. I have supported medical malpractice reforms to end frivolous lawsuits and make sure our doctors can afford to practice in Pennsylvania. I have also supported efforts to increase competition among health insurance providers and will work to find new ways of providing health care coverage through programs such as tax-free health savings accounts. I’ve also support the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) and the AdultBasic program to ensure low income families have health insurance.





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