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Welcome to"Mike's Memo," an update on what's happening in the 48th Senatorial District and the State Capitol. If you haven't done so already, please take a moment to visit my website at www.senatorfolmer.com to learn more about my legislative priorities issues that may affect you and your family.

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Week of December 10, 2018

Column: Don’t Take People for Granted

With the passing of former President George HW Bush, I’m reminded of 1 Peter 4:4: “The end of all things is at hand; therefore be self-controlled and sober-minded for the sake of your prayers.” This is how George Herbert Walker Bush lived his life.

A lifetime of service, Mr. Bush was a pilot shot down during World War II, a Congressman, ambassador to the United Nations, head of the Republican National Committee, envoy to China, CIA director, Vice President, and President.

During his Presidency, he successfully navigated the break-up of the Soviet Union and the fall of the Berlin Wall, led a multinational coalition to drive Iraq out of Kuwait, and secured bipartisan support for a number of domestic initiatives.

After the Iraq War, his popularity soared to nearly 90%. Yet, two years later, he lost his bid for reelection, garnering just 37% of the popular vote in a three-person race and 168 Electoral College votes. He described the loss to his “failure to click with the American people on values, duty, and country, service, honor, decency. All the things that I really believe.”

Considering today’s divisiveness and high rhetoric, we may have taken for granted a leader who tried to bridge political divides. While ambitious, driven, and confident, Mr. Bush was also deferential. He once told President Johnson: “I may not always agree with you but you can count on me to never attack you personally.”

He lived by a Ralph Waldo Emerson quote President Franklin Delano Roosevelt also liked: “The best way to have a friend is to be one.” He often reached across the aisle to seek compromise, which sometimes led to criticism by both parties.

The words of his Inaugural Address still ring true today in our divided country: “We have seen the hard looks and heard the statements in which not each other’s ideas are challenged, but each other’s motives. Some see leadership as high drama and the sound of trumpets calling, and sometimes it is that. But I see history as a book with many pages, and each day we fill a page with acts of hopefulness and meaning. The new breeze blows, a page turns, the story unfolds. And so today a chapter begins, a small and stately story of unity, diversity, and generosity – shared, and written together.”

President Bush tried to be bipartisan, inviting both parties, supporters and detractors, and advocates and opponents alike to the White House. He believed everyone deserved their “place in the sun.”

He quoted Mao to Soviet Premier Gorbachev: “Don’t worry about excessive bombast, look at deeds and actions instead.”

While President, many of George HW Bush’s deeds and actions were sometimes overlooked. After eight years of “The Great Communicator” President Reagan, Bush admitted he was not one “who flamboyantly believes in throwing a lot of words around” and “fluency in English is something that I’m often not accused of.”

So, many of his deeds and actions were overlooked and he was hounded in the press for lack of vision, being a wimp, and unable to connect with people. With the economy in recession, people just didn’t think he could “feel their pain” and he lost his bid for a second term.

After his loss, he promised himself to “be kind, generous of spirit, be understanding, let people know how grateful you are, don’t get even, comfort the ones I’ve hurt and let down, say your prayers and ask for God’s understanding and strength, finish with a smile and with some gusto, do what’s right, and finish strong.”

Rest in peace, Mr. President.

PennDOT to Renumber State Route 295 in Northern York County

The PA Department of Transportation (PennDOT) is renumbering State Route 295 as State Route 297 through Newberry and Conewago Townships in northern York County. Upon the completion of a recent construction project on Interstate 95 in Bucks County, a portion of the existing limited access roadway was renamed Interstate 295. Due to the potential conflict involved in having two major PA traffic routes designated as 295, it was decided State Route 295 in York County would be renumbered State Route 297.

PennDOT York County highway maintenance sign crews will be completing the necessary updates to the existing route signing, including any existing directional signing for roads that intersect the state route. Work is expected to be complete this month.  Sign updates for the large green Advance Guide Signs on Interstate 83 may take additional time as they are services under contract. PennDOT will be reaching out to York County first responder organizations, stakeholders and mapping/navigation websites to inform of the change.

PA DEP Funding for Environmental Education Projects

The PA Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) is inviting schools, nonprofit organizations and businesses to apply for the 2019 Environmental Education Grants to support a wide range of enviro-education projects, such as educating participants on various climate issues or the impact of emissions on public health, offering training on the DEP permitting process, connecting city residents to nature, and instruction on reducing abandoned mine drainage or non-point-source water pollution from fertilizers.

General grants of up to $25,000 will be awarded to larger, one-year, regional or statewide initiatives. Mini-grants of up to $3,000 will be awarded to one-year projects of any size. Applications must be submitted online through eGrants by January 11, 2019. The Environmental Education Grants Program was established by the Environmental Education Act of 1993, which mandates setting aside five percent of the pollution fines and penalties DEP collects annually for environmental education in PA.

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