The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

Local News

November 3, 2010

Shuster eyes ascension with House takeover

JOHNSTOWN — Bill Shuster may have recaptured his congressional seat with a record 73 percent of the vote, but the House flipping to the GOP also has Shuster smiling.

Tuesday’s Republican victories could elevate the Hollidaysburg Republican into more of a leadership role.

In January, Republicans will control the House for the first time since 2006.

“The last four years have been difficult,” Shuster said. “In the majority, you can do so much more.”

Shuster said he is in line to be named chairman of the House Transportation Subcommittee on Railroads, Pipelines and Hazardous Materials.

Leading this committee would allow him to play a key role in development of the Marcellus Shale in Pennsylvania and the other handful of northeastern states where the rich natural gas beds lie.

The subcommittee will play a primary role in development of the pipelines needed to move the gas from the shale beds, Shuster said.

Shuster sees the Marcellus Shale as an opportunity to reinvigorate the state’s economy.

As chairman, he hopes to play a role in controlling the federal Environmental Protection Agency from regulating the gas-drilling industry heavily in Pennsylvania.

“I want to make sure we don’t allow the EPA to come into Pennsylvania and stop the Marcellus Shale exploration,” Shuster said.

The 49-year-old is now entering his second decade on Capitol Hill. He also hopes to be reappointed to the House Steering Committee, which assigns fellow members to serve on and head up House committees.

He termed the upcoming vote on who will be speaker of the House as the first and most important vote he will make.

Through the summer and fall, Shuster worked hard to assure the GOP House majority, something he said did not go unnoticed by John Boehner, the Ohio Republican likely to become speaker of the House.

Boehner is expected to replace Democrat Nancy Pelosi of California when the 112th Congress convenes in January.

“Bill’s been an excellent congressman,” said Rob Gleason, chairman of the Republican Party of Pennsylvania and the Cambria County GOP.

“He was one of the leaders in us winning five new seats in Pennsylvania,” Gleason said.

Gleason said Shuster is a key figure in the planning and execution of the GOP victory, adding that Shuster was instrumental in bringing Boehner to Pennsylvania a number of times.

Shuster also traveled out of the 9th Congressional District on a number of occasions, including a trip to Louisiana in the pre-election days to support Republican congressional candidates.

“By doing that he showed a lot of leadership,” Gleason said.

“I’m sure Bill Shuster is tops in Boehner’s mind.”

Shuster currently serves on the following committees:

• Armed Services.

• Natural Resources.

• Oversight and Government Reform.

• Transportation and Infrastructure.

Many of the committee decisions will be made over the next two months.

“We will have a better idea of leadership changes in the coming days,” Shuster spokesman Jeff Urbanchuk said Wednesday.

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