Eichelberger announces plan to run for 9th District seat

State senator stresses record, plans to ‘reignite’ Obamacare repeal

EAST FREEDOM — State Sen. John H. Eichelberger Jr. pointed to his past on Saturday while laying out his hopes for a future in the U.S. Congress.

“My record is clear,” Eichelberger told the crowd of about 100 people who gathered at the Freedom Township Volunteer Fire Department on Saturday for Eichelberger’s official kick-off to his campaign to succeed Rep. Bill Shuster, R-9th District.

“Taxpayers come first,” Eichelberger said. “Every vote, every time — no compromise.”

It was 17 years ago that Eichelberger, then a Blair County commissioner, took a shot at securing the Republican nomination for the same U.S. House of Representatives seat when Bud Shuster announced he was resigning in January 2001, only to lose to Bill Shuster in what was a contentious Republican nominating process.

But it was his defeat of longtime Sen. Robert Jubilirer, then president pro tempore of the state Senate, in 2006 that Eichelberger invoked several times Saturday as he talked of his commitment to conservative values and government transparency and accountability. Eichelberger said he got to Harrisburg by standing up to the Republican establishment and “now it’s time to take the fight to Washington.”

He said he expects negative attacks are coming and they will be “bigger and uglier than before” but added, “We beat them before and we’ll beat them again.”

Eichelberger stressed no other candidate has the record he can take to Congress to fight for “solid conservative ideas” such as the Second Amendment and religious freedom.

The 59-year-old Eichelberger said he wants to “reignite” the repeal of Obamacare and go up against Planned Parenthood to defend the sanctity of life and continue the “conservative reform” he’s strived for in Harrisburg.

Eichelberger joins Bedford County’s Art Halvorson and Franklin County’s Travis Schooley in the race with Republican House Majority Leader Dave Reed telling The Associated Press he will make his decision soon.

Introducing Eichelberger to the crowd Saturday, David Taylor, the Huntingdon-based president and CEO of the Pennsylvania Manufact-urer’s Association, said Eichelberger is someone “who does the right thing for the right reason” without being asked. Rep. John McGinnis, R-Altoona, called Eichelberger “uplifting” in his eagerness to uphold conservative values in the “cesspool” that is Harrisburg and Rep. Rich Irvin, R-Huntingdon, said Eichelberger is “an ordinary guy who believes in strengthening the middle class” and is pro-good government.

Mirror Staff Writer Greg Bock is at 946-7458.