The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

Editorials

December 10, 2012

As we expected, Rothfus lends an ear to constituency

— Last Wednesday, Keith Rothfus sent a message to his critics, skeptics and doubters: He’s on a mission to unite his 12th Congressional District communities and constituents.

We welcome, applaud and support his efforts.

We’ll also be watching, monitoring and critiquing his work as he moves to Capitol Hill in January to represent parts of Cambria and Somerset and all or parts of seven other counties.

After meeting earlier in the fall with our now soon-to-be congressman, we were convinced he would, if elected, do his best to serve equally all of the 12th district. We believed the same of incumbent Mark Critz.

“I’ve said it once and I’ve said it a thousand times: Please don’t think of yourself as from Johnstown or don’t think of me as being from Pittsburgh,” Rothfus told a gathering at Sunnehanna Country Club.

“We, us, we’re from southwestern Pennsylvania.”

Rothfus had accepted an invitation to speak from the Greater Johns-town/Cambria County Chamber of Commerce.

He is expected to address a similar event on Thursday at the Somerset Country Club.

“It is extremely important that we create an open dialogue with the new congressman so he has an understanding of the issues we face in Somerset County and how he can best represent us in Congress” Ron Aldom, executive director of the Somerset County Chamber of Commerce, told our Dave Sutor.

“The 12th district is very diverse in its makeup, so we really need to give Rep.-elect Rothfus a great overview of who we are, especially in a time of uncertainty in our manufacturing and energy sectors.”

We agree totally. A lot needs to be accomplished and Rothfus’ job won’t be easy.

Rothfus, rather than just through talk, immediately will demonstrate his desire and willingness to work with our two-county area. He is looking for space to open an office in Johnstown, fulfilling a promise he made on the campaign trail.

Some local business owners, politicians and residents understandably have been concerned about not having a congressman living in their immediate area. After all, it will be the first time since 1935 that a resident of Cambria County won’t be serving in Congress.

One recent writer to our Readers’ Forum predicted that “one thing local residents can count on is that Rothfus will not again set foot in Cambria County until the next election.

He was wrong, obviously, since Rothfus has revisited even before taking office.

We wish Mr. Rothfus much success in his first term in Washington. We urge area residents to keep open minds and to give our freshman congressman support as he works to improve the lot of his entire southwestern Pennsylvania district.

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