Editor:I would like to take this opportunity to thank all of you who came out to vote on November 4, my supporters and everyone who did his or her civic duty by participating in the democratic process. Allow me also to thank retiring Representative Art Hershey for his 26 years of dedicated service to our district. I will do everything in my ability to earn the respect of those who entrusted the district to him for so many years. And, I will do everything in my power to meet the new challenges we now face.

In a region that is still overwhelmingly Republican, I am proud and grateful to my large base of bipartisan support. Without that, I would not be here today. Over the past three years, some 18,000 of you have granted me the remarkable opportunity to speak with you at your door and within your home about your concerns and priorities for yourselves, your families and your community. I can tell you that-Democrat or Republican - our worries, our cares are the same.

We have a tremendous agenda before us as a state and as a nation. In Pennsylvania, we are confronting crises on multiple fronts: economic, healthcare and education funding. We also have a stake in a global environmental crisis that demands our immediate action. Individual families are bearing the burden of oppressive property taxes and rising health-care costs in the midst of rising food prices and job loss.

These times present great challenge. However, there is a sense of urgency and a building momentum that is perhaps unprecedented. There is much that has to be done, but there is much we can do. However, we need to reach beyond partisan politics. We need to come together to implement solutions to our most pressing problems as I have done for seven years in London Grove Township. For five consecutive years, my bipartisan board nominated me to serve as Chairman. In that capacity, I was able to foster consensus on all the critical issues impacting our township from protecting London Grove North from development, to taking on polluting composters while expanding the operations of responsible ones, to blocking Penn Dot's plans to construct four-lane elevated bypasses that would have ripped through the township.

The opportunity to affect change on a broader scale in a more influential way is one I won't squander. I promise to keep the lines of communication open with the residents of my district, and I vow to work tirelessly as your advocate. While I do not underestimate the task that is before us, the residents of this district have filled me with optimism and hope, and provided me with great inspiration. It will be a privilege and an honor to serve you in Harrisburg.

Tom Houghton State Representative-Elect,

13th District

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