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From the Desk of County Commissioner
Randy Phiel

(3/2018) Pennsylvania Congressional Redistricting has significant implications for Adams County. The Pennsylvania Supreme Court has handed down a new Congressional District map. Charges of gerrymandering against Republicans by Democrats, and counter charges of less than objective mapping decisions made by the State Democratic Executive Branch and Democratic majority Supreme Court have and continue to reverberate. On February 22, PA Republican Legislative Leaders entered an emergency appeal contesting the State Supreme Court decision to the US Supreme Court, who earlier this month rejected an emergency appeal on the matter. Until Monday, February 19, many Congressman including our Congressman Scott Perry, did not know who their constituents would be as other candidates circulated petitions. At the time of writing this article, a decision had not been rendered by the U.S. Supreme Court.

For Adams County the change is significant and possibly very detrimental. Most of Adams County would be on the far eastern end of Congressman Bill Shusterís 9th District. The District goes clear out to western PA and is probably 150-200 miles long. Adams County also loses its historic relationship with York County and is partnered with three very rural counties. Perry retains only a small sliver of Adams County. Adams County is losing a veteran and dedicated congressman in Scott Perry, who knows Adams County and is on several influential committees. With Shuster retiring, Adams County will thus have a freshman congressman with no seniority.

According to the PA Department of State, nomination petition packets became available for congressional candidates by February 22. Congressional candidates will then follow a revised circulating and filling schedule ordered by the court. The revised petition filing schedule, which applies only to congressional candidates, allows for circulating and filing petitions from February 27 through March 20. There are 54 counties that lie entirely within a single district, so candidates for those congressional districts will be able to identify significant numbers of voters even before the updated lists are ready.

Having legislators whom we know, and who know us and our issues, has been extremely important during this Adams County Board of Commissionerís tenure. We pride ourselves on those relationships. We admittedly have some concerns about the situation that has developed for Adams County and await the US Supreme Court decision.

I am honored to serve on the County Commissioners of Pennsylvania Board of Directors, representing District 3 for the past 5 years. District 3 is comprised of Adams County and nine other counties to our west. As the new year begins, Pennsylvania's counties have chosen seven legislative priorities for 2018, each of which showcases the important services they provide to commonwealth residents and emphasizes the critical need to maintain the state-county partnership in service delivery. The counties' priorities include: Human Services Funding and System Reform; Preventing Substance Abuse and Drug Overdose; Maintaining the Shale Gas Impact Fee; Increasing Forensic Bed Access for County Inmates with Mental Illness; Supporting Veterans Services; Funding for Voting Systems; and Mandate Reform. CCAP will be working tirelessly with our legislators to promote these significant issues that are important to Pennsylvania counties and their residents.

The Spotted Lantern Fly is a significant threat to Adams County and this regions important fruit industry. This Asian pest has had a devastating impact in Berks County and has been identified as close as Lancaster County. Some positive news is that U.S. Department of Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue recently committed $17.5 million in new emergency funding for Pennsylvania to combat the spotted lanternfly. This invasive species has spread to 13 southeast Pennsylvania counties and could have a significant negative impact on the state's agriculture industry. The Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture has been working in collaboration with the U.S. Department of Agriculture, other state agencies and partners to prevent the spreading of the spotted lanternfly. In a related move, Gov. Wolf proposed nearly $1.6 million in funding specifically for spotted lanternfly surveillance and response as part of his FY 2018-2019 budget plan. In Adams County, we hope and will strive to advocate that some of that funding be funneled to Penn State Fruit Research & Extension Center located in Biglerville.

Speaking of the importance of Adams County agriculture, congratulations to Adam McClain for being selected as the Adams County Conservation District Manager. Adams began his new duties on February 5th. Adam had served the Adams County Conservation District since 2009 as the Watershed Specialist. We are sure Adam will continue to advocate for promoting best natural resource practices and enhancing the relationships at the Ag Center, which include the Adams County Conservation District, Adams County Planning, Rural Resources, GIS Mapping, Penn State Extension, USDA & Land Conservancy of Adams County.

For those of you who are into numbers, here are some staggering facts related to Pennsylvania agriculture I learned at the PA Farm Show. In Pennsylvania agriculture comes in at $1135.7 Billion or about 18% of Gross State Product. Agriculture creates 580,000 jobs in Pennsylvania. Ag results in $27 billion in wages. We grow and produce 577 billion lbs. of mushrooms, 117 billion ft. of hardwood timber, 91,000 tons of grapes, 8.2 billion eggs, and 439 million lbs. of apples, 139,000 gallons of maple syrup and 10.8 billion gallons of milk.

With spring just around the corner, the prospect of totally completing the Adams County Law Enforcement Firearms Training Range beside the 911 Center grows even closer. Actual firing range construction, overall footprint, berms and lanes were completed late last fall; but too late to use the range. This spring the memorial flag plaza, shoot/storage building and pavilion will be completed using volunteer labor and some donated materials. The community stepped forward to make this long anticipated and needed training facility happen at no taxpayer cost. The Adams County Law Enforcement Association is still seeking funds to complete the structures this spring. Donations can be mailed to the Adams County Law Enforcement Association, 1935 Mummasburg Road, Gettysburg, PA. 17325. For more information contact Sheriff Jim Muller at 717-337-9828 or Commissioner Randy Phiel at 717-337-9820.

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