Blair County Commissioner and Republican candidate John Eichelberger, 48, will face Democrat and Altoona businessman Greg Morris, 49, in the 30th Senatorial District race next month.

Eichelberger defeated state Sen. Robert Jubelirer – one of the most powerful politicians in Pennsylvania and an architect of 2005’s ill-fated legislative pay grab – in May’s primary.

Morris was unopposed in the Democratic primary.

And while Eichelberger plans to ride the coattails of 12 years of government experience to the polls, Morris says his business experience makes him the better candidate.

Eichelberger, who resides in Blair Township, credited a statewide crusade for change, not just the pay-raise issue, for his win, and says he will continue to push government and economic reform.

If elected, he wants to audit legislators and is in favor of term limits to elected officials – or at least, political leadership positions.

“You have to be trustworthy, and have necessary integrity to do a good job,” Eichelberger said. And to show his integrity, Eichelberger said he will turn down a government vehicle paid for by taxpayers.

“I’m also not accepting contributions (to my campaign) from bankers, the farm bureau and other single-interest money,” Eichelberger said.

“It’s not because they’re bad people, it’s because I don’t want anyone to think my vote is tied to any financial contribution.”

Eichelberger is in third term as a Blair County commissioner, and says his experience is a plus.

“I understand government much more than (Morris) does,” Eichelberger said. “I’ve worked hard at it for 11 years. I understand the needs of the people in the area better than my opponent.”

Morris, who describes himself as a “businessman running for politics,” said being a legislator is just that – doing business.

“I have the business experience needed to get our area moving again,” Morris said. “My goal is to build upon and continue the accomplishments of Senator Bob Jubelirer, who brought us convention centers, baseball stadiums, low-interest loans and grants for businesses.”

Morris, whose real estate development company, Morris Management Inc., brought the new Logan Town Centre along I-99 into reality, said his company has helped to create more than 8,000 private-sector jobs in the last eight years.

“Job creation is my first priority,” Morris said. “Securing employment takes more than throwing government money at a problem.”

Morris believes the 30th district will benefit from additional manufacturing jobs, not just retail, health care and hospitality.

And while Morris is running on the Democratic ticket, he says at times, he feels more like a Republican – and he plans to take a bipartisan team to Harrisburg to run the offices of the 30th district.

“The majority of my ideology is almost identical to that of Republicans,” Morris said. “I’ve never been a person who votes by the party. “I vote for who is the best candidate, and I truly believe I am the most qualified.”

The 30th Senatorial District includes portions of Bedford, Blair, Fulton, Huntingdon and Mifflin counties.

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