Rock talks about decision on future

PAT FRIDGEN, Echo Pilot

Todd Rock, (R - Franklin County), announced Tuesday morning that he would not run for re-election in November.

“After months of reflection and looking at the future, I have decided to not seek a fifth term in the Pennsylvania House of Representatives. It has been an honor and a privilege to represent the people of the 90th District in Harrisburg. I would like to thank my dedicated staff for their tireless efforts and commitment to this office over the years. I also want to thank the voters who entrusted me with this position.”

Rock will enter the private sector in January 2015 as an employee of D. L. George & Sons Inc., based in Waynesboro.

For the people

Rock, 50, was first elected to office in 2006, spurred to serve the public because of the controversial 2005 legislative pay raise. He won the Republican primary, besting 18-year incumbent Patrick Fleagle. They met in the general election with Fleagle as a Democratic write-in. Rock took 54 percent of the vote.

Rock and others elected that year entered politics to reform state government.

“Over the past seven years, the ethical climate in Harrisburg has improvedsubstantially,” he said. “As a member of the reform movement in the House, I am honored that I had the opportunity to help enact new legislative rules that put an end to many unethical practices and helped restore public confidence in an institution that had been shaken by scandals and controversies.”

He cited specifically that longtime self-serving leaders were given the boot. He said his goal was always that state government be responsive to the needs of the people, and put the interests of the public first.

“It’s a new day in Harrisburg. That’s a big deal.”

Helping people who came into his Greencastle and Waynesboro offices was among the most rewarding aspect of his job, he reflected.

“They would think there was no answer to their problems, and we always found a way to help them and gave them resources.”

He was also proud of getting state roads named after fallen soldiers.

The position also brought frustrations, such as an erratic schedule in Harrisburg, or groups that wanted his vote to benefit them at the expense of others.

“I represent 65,000 people and have to look out for all of them at budget time. I had to make hard decisions.”

Over the past six months, at least 10 people asked Rock about his plans, since they were interested in running for his seat. He has a few pieces of advice for anyone entering the race.

“Don’t make promises you are not going to keep, and be willing to do the work.”

Rock pledged to serve no more than 10 years, and he refused typical legislative perks.

He pounded on 10,700 doors in his first campaign, and used money out of pocket to spread his message. Including fundraising, he spent about $62,000 to get elected. He estimated $50,000 would be the minimal amount needed by a candidate this year.

He hoped the next person would continue working for reform and accountability in state government.

Rock expected his offices to remain open for the next representative. His staff will stay on. They include Patti Divelbiss, office manager; Pat Goodwin and Lucy Ivens, Waynesboro; Deb Daugherty, Greencastle; and Heather Rodgers, Harrisburg.

The boundaries of the 90th District changed with the last re-alignment. It includes Franklin County (except Chambersburg), with Hamilton and Letterkenny townships joining, but the area west of Antrim Township will go to another legislator.

An open door

Rock met Dave George, owner of D. L. George & Sons, about two years ago. They struck up a friendship, and talked business quite a bit. The construction, transportation and manufacturing company recently celebrated its 50th anniversary.

It has 280 employees and serves a nationwide customer base.

His job description has not been finalized, but Rock is intrigued with the possibilities of helping the company expand.

“This professional position will provide me the ability to utilize all of my previous life skills in the construction industry, education environment and public relations, while continuing to serve the Waynesboro community and support the local economy,” he said.

He and his wife Nancy will continue to live in Mt. Alto. They have two grown daughters.