By Sen. John Yudichak

Special to The TIMES NEWS

January 19, 2011

As your new state senator, I am excited to begin tackling the many difficult issues and challenges we face. My first commitment is ensuring that government is accessible and accountable to you. My staff and I are available and dedicated to providing you with the information and access to government services you need.

This column is another means of connecting with people of this community, highlighting the big issues being debated in Harrisburg and the "kitchen table" issues facing the people in their everyday lives. This column is about you - the people of the 14th Senatorial District- and about how we can continue to make this community a great place to live, work and raise a family.

As I begin my first term representing the 14th district, I plan to continue advocating on behalf of seniors, children and families, as well as ensuring Pennsylvania's government operations are efficient and transparent.

I am honored to serve the people of this great region, and consider this a fresh start for me, my family and the people I represent as we embark on this new journey together. As I go about the people's business in Harrisburg, your needs will stay at the forefront of my priorities.

I have been appointed to serve as Democratic Chairman of the Senate Environmental Resources and Energy Committee.

This committee assignment is an opportunity to protect Pennsylvanians from repeating the mistakes of the past while developing the economy of the future. If we learn well and act prudently, we can protect our land and waterways while creating new jobs in clean-energy industries.

We are slowly emerging from one of the worse economic recessions in our history. But in our haste to create new jobs and economic activity, we cannot run roughshod over the land and water. Future generations should not have to pay for carelessness today and taxpayers should not have to pay for companies who pollute our environment in a rush for profits.

I will also serve on the Appropriations committee, a powerful committee that will be very active in the upcoming session.

With Pennsylvania facing severe revenue shortages, the Appropriations committee will have some very tough decisions to make regarding the 2011-12 state spending plan.

I will also be serving on the Senate Aging and Youth, Veterans Affairs and Emergency Preparedness, Policy and Local Government committees.

The diversity of these committee assignments will enable me to play an active role in resolving issues that impact many people in our community and throughout Pennsylvania. I am looking forward to the challenges of all my committee assignments.

Although I will spend lots of time working on legislation in Harrisburg, constituents can be assured that I will remain available and active in the community. My offices here in the district will always be available to help and provide assistance in our community.

It is my goal to have a strong presence throughout Luzerne, Carbon and Monroe Counties.

My district office addresses and phone numbers are:

Jim Thorpe Office - 1201 North Street, Suite #3, Jim Thorpe, PA 18229, Phone: 570-325-3274

Exeter Office - 1701 Wyoming Avenue, Exeter, PA 18643, Phone: 570-883-4690

Nanticoke Office - 164 South Market Street, Nanticoke, PA 18634, Phone: 570-740-2434

The Jim Thorpe and Exeter district offices are already up and running. The office in Nanticoke will be opening soon. Constituents are welcome to visit any of my local offices at any time during office hours. My staff and I stand ready to assist you in any way we can. Office hours will be 8:30 am - 4:30 pm, Monday through Friday with extended office hours available as needed.

Both Pennsylvania and this region are facing some tough challenges, but together we can meet those challenges and get back to the business of creating meaningful jobs, improving our schools and infrastructure and investing in our communities.