Republicans Honor Rep. Hess
County Republicans gathered for the fall dinner Friday night but more importantly took ample time to pay homage to the late Dick L. Hess, who represented Fulton, Bedford and a portion of Huntingdon County in the state House of Representatives for almost three decades.
Sam Metz, Fulton County Republican Committee chairman, opened the October 25 dinner at the Hustontown Firehall with a moment of silence for Hess and his extended family. Meanwhile, a large photograph of Hess sat at the front table amid local officials, who would later elaborate on the loss county residents have and will continue to endure with Hess’s unexpected passing.
Metz stated not only did Fulton County lose a great friend and legislator but referred to Hess as the “nicest, kindest guy you would ever meet.” Passing the microphone to Sen. John H. Eichelberger Jr., who spent almost seven years working side-by-side with Hess in the state legislature, the senator said his final day with Hess included a meeting in Fulton County regarding Meadow Grounds Lake and a luncheon in neighboring Bedford County.
Eichelberger said he and fellow legislators thought Hess would be okay during the surgery that was scheduled for a week or so later. Calling the surgery on Hess’s leg a “routine” operation, Eichelberger said Democrats and Republicans as well as seasoned and newer elected state officials continue to talk about Hess and his abilities. The senator said Hess was often the voice of reason in caucus and had the ability to get things back on track.
Fulton County Commissioner Craig Cutchall pointed out many at the dinner knew Hess personally and were aware that he was the individual to call when a job needed done. Cutchall said the county is deeply saddened by the loss and reminded everyone not to forget the efforts Hess made on our behalf.
U.S. Congressman Bill Shuster said his connection to Hess dated back 40 years when he routinely squared off against his son, Jeff, during Everett versus Bedford sporting events. Shuster referred to Hess as an advocate and tireless worker and said he always pushed him to do what was best for Bedford and Fulton counties.
Jesse Topper, Bedford County state committeeperson, shared a story about serving as a guest page in Harrisburg at the age of 14. He said when someone talked in session, no one else appeared to be listening. Topper said he was “shocked” but noticed that Hess appeared to be the one person in the room listening to everyone who was speaking.
Topper concluded that incident taught him to do a little more listening now and again. Topper is one of numerous candidates from Bedford County who have publicly announced their interest in serving the 78th Legislative District. In a press release, the Republican Party of Pennsylvania has announced the special election for the seat is set to occur on January 28, 2014. Due to the fact the district is comprised of more than one county, the state GOP will preside over a conferee meeting to select a Republican nominee on November 18 at the Bedford Elks Country Club located at 937 S. Richard Street.
Each county in the district will be represented by a set number of delegates or conferees. From the total 20 conferees who will select the Republican nominee for the special election ballot, five will be from Fulton County. Fourteen are slated to be from Bedford County and the remaining conferee will be from Huntingdon County. The names of the conferees will be released to the public prior to the November meeting.
The state GOP stated each candidate will be presented with the opportunity to make a short presentation and field questions. Following the presentations, the conferees will formally vote. A candidate is required to secure the majority of votes cast to earn the Republican nomination.
Only the candidate presentations will be open to the public and press.
Requirements indicate candidates must be at least 21 years of age, must have been citizens and inhabitants of their district for one year prior to the election and must reside in their district during their terms of services. All candidates interested in seeking the Republican Party’s nomination are asked to contact state GOP Political Director Cody Harbaugh at 717-234-4901, Ext. 142.
In addition to words from Sen. Eichelberger and Congressman Shuster Friday night, Michael Scott spoke on behalf of Pennsylvania Superior Court Judge Vic Stabile. Stabile is from the Carlisle area and was reportedly pleased from the outpouring of support from Fulton County in the past, according to Scott. Scott in turn read a letter penned by Stabile, who noted all persons coming before him will be given fair and equal justice.
Jeremiah Zook, candidate for the Fulton/Franklin County Court of Common Pleas, pointed out that judges are the most important individuals the public can elect as once a matter becomes law it is handed over to the judiciary. A judge, Zook said, helps determine how law applies to residents and the community. He referred to himself as a fiscally and socially conservative person and promised to read the law as it is written if elected.
County prothonotary Patty Suders Fix rounded out the evening’s slate of candidates reviewing the changes, her office and staff have implemented over the last four terms of office. Fix mentioned the ongoing scanning of documents as well as the computerization of her five offices and the money that is being generated through these measures. She referred to her staff as hardworking and the backbone of her office.
Fix concluded she remains diligent in providing the best service possible to county residents, and future plans include imaging and document services.