The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA


January 15, 2010

Reps. Phillips and Fairchild stepping down

SUNBURY — State Reps. Merle H. Phillips and Russell Fairchild, who together have more than 50 years of service representing the 108th and 85th legislative districts respectively, announced today that they will not seek re-election this year.

Both men, who visited to The Daily Item's offices in Sunbury this morning to deliver the news, said it simply was time to move on.

“It’s time to do something else,” said Fairchild, a Winfield resident. “It’s just time for someone else to take over the reins.”

Phillips noted that the region will be losing a considerable amount of seniority in Harrisburg, but someone else can continue the work when they leave office when their current terms end at the conclusion of this year.

“Come November, we trust our voters will elect two new leaders who will continue to work hard providing representation and guidance on local and statewide issues in Harrisburg,” the legislators wrote in their combined statement. “Our region is blessed with good, smart, common sense people and it is an opportune time for our next generation of legislators to lead us to greater heights.”

Fairchild and Phillips said that throughout this year, they will continue to vigerously oppose tolling of Interstate 80 and will continue to support and work for the construction of the Central Susquehanna Valley Thurway project.

But in making their announcement, both legislators clearly expressed frustration with the changing dynamics of government.

“It used to be what you said was your bond - it’s not like that anymore,” said Fairchild. “There’s so much frustration between parties.”

Phillips expressed concern about the amount of gambling revenue now being used to support the state budget and indicated is outrage over a recent decision by Gov. Ed Rendell to eliminate funding for the Science in Motion program in local schools.

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