"No matter what title I hold here in Harrisburg, the most important job title I could ever hold is Dad."
That was the closing statement given by Keith R. McCall, former Democratic member of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives, during his portrait unveiling held in front of many friends, family members, state officials and current members of the House Capitol Wednesday in Harrisburg.
McCall's portrait will be placed with other Speakers and historic figures, like Benjamin Franklin and other House leaders in the first-floor hallway of the ornate Capitol.
Prior to the House session, the Rev. James Burdess of St. Joseph's Church in Summit Hill, provided the opening prayer.
During the unveiling, McCall called his House service "an awesome responsibility" and said it was a great honor and privilege to serve as a member, and as speaker.
Also providing remarks during the unveiling were Speaker Sam Smith, and Representatives Frank Dermody and Bob O'Donnell.
"As we walk in the footsteps of those lawmakers who came before us, I know we will not forget the responsibility that we have for the people who sent us here," said McCall. "They sent us here for our good judgment, for our minds, for our hearts and for our courage. They depend on courage to make the right decision, not the easy decision."
Born in Coaldale on Dec. 16, 1959, McCall served 28 years in the House, retiring in 2010 as Pennsylvania's 136th speaker. McCall, who resides in Summit Hill, is married to the former Betty Wehr and they are the parents of two children, a daughter Courtney and a son, Keith III.
McCall began his career in public service as a field auditor with the Pennsylvania Department of Auditor General, working to make sure tax dollars were wisely spent. In 1982, he was elected to the General Assembly, after his district was left unrepresented for one year after the untimely death of his father, state Rep. Thomas J. McCall.
In his role as Speaker, Keith McCall pledged to restore the public's pride and confidence in government and to stand for the ideals of Pennsylvania's founders, while continuing to to move forward a legislative agenda that addressed the needs of all Pennsylvanians.
He is now a member of the state Gaming Control Board.
Prior to becoming Speaker, McCall served as a Majority Whip (the second ranked position in the House), earning the reputation of a hard-working lawmaker who always stood up for those who have no voice.
Among his many accomplishments, he authorized legislation that delivered more than $55 million to rebuild and modernize railroad infrastructure in Pennsylvania, which allowed double stacking of rail freight and renewed emphasis on rail transportation and its integral role in intermodal transportation. It also created tens of thousands of jobs at industrial sites around the commonwealth and re-energized the transportation industry.
During his tenure he authorized and advocated for stronger laws to protect Pennsylvania consumers from fraudulent home improvement contractors, which resulted in the creation of a publicly accessible database to learn about contractors who are registered to do business in Pennsylvania.
As vehicle emissions standards were being tested and set in Pennsylvania, McCall took the lead on safeguarding Pennsylvania's air quality by ensuring that testing met all federal standards, while also working to guarantee the standards were fairly administered and contained safeguards that protected both consumers and businesses.
He was also involved with creating the Energy Independent Fund, which was one of the first sources of funding for solar and energy projects for individuals and businesses.
Other key initiatives included working to improve access to affordable prescription medicine for senior citizens; and expanding property tax relief for all homeowners.
McCall also focused on preserving and promoting Pennsylvania's rich history and heritage through heritage tourism.
Along with his many accomplishments, he was a staunch advocate for protecting another of Pennyslvania's valuable resources, its state park system.