Apr 20—Calvin Clements is fed up with what he sees going on in state government.
He sees people getting elected to office who are content with collecting a big paycheck while passing the blame on their failure to deliver solutions to the critical issues facing most Pennsylvanians.
“There are so many things that I believe are broken in Harrisburg that need to be fixed,” he said.
The retired Lebanon County veterinarian believes he has what it takes to help fix those problems. That was the motivation behind his decision to launch a campaign for a seat in the Pennsylvania Senate.
Clements is running unopposed for the Democratic nomination to represent the 48th Senatorial District, which includes northern and western Berks County as well as parts of northern Lancaster County and all of Lebanon County. The district is represented by Republican Chris Gebhard of Lebanon County.
The 71-year-old said his first order of business should he be elected is to put the state back on the path to financial solvency by taking a look at where the state can save money. And that should begin with the lawmakers themselves.
“We are in a massive state of financial disarray,” he said. “We are all suffering from high inflation and rising gas prices right now, so I think it’s outrageous that the Legislature would think this was a good year to give themselves a generous raise.”
Clements said he would roll back the pay increases. He pointed out that Pennsylvania has the largest full-time legislature in the nation and its lawmakers are among the highest paid in the country, yet they are doing less and less actual lawmaking.
“We don’t need to be top dog in paying our legislators — especially not when our taxpayers are suffering,” he said. “They seem to think that the taxpayers are their cash cow.”
The second initiative on his list to get done is ensuring police departments have enough manpower to do their jobs.
Clements said local departments are often understaffed and overworked, which is leading to higher rates of violent crime. He believes the best way to combat that is by funding these departments adequately so they have more officers on the streets and better training before they begin their service.
He is also focused on providing more funding for education.
“The state is mandated to meet a certain funding level and they haven’t been doing that,” he said. “So, that falls back on taxpayers through rising property taxes.”
Clements said he thinks it’s also worth looking into cutting down on the number of school districts by consolidating some of the 500 that exist in the state. That could decrease costs by eliminating duplicate services and creating more efficient districts, he said.
“There is no need to have as many school districts as we have now,” he said.
State senators serve a four-year term and receive an annual salary of $95,432.
Meet the candidate
Candidate: Calvin Clements, 71, Lebanon County.
Position sought: State senator for the 48th Senatorial District, which includes northern and western Berks County as well as parts of northern Lancaster County and all of Lebanon County.
Current salary for position: $95,432.
Background: Clements is the former owner of Central Pennsylvania Veterinary Associates, a multiple location veterinary medical service provider. Since his retirement he runs a small beef and horse farm in South Londonderry Township and donates veterinary services to a canine rescue. He is also president-elect of the Palmyra Rotary and a volunteer at the Caring Cupboard Food Pantry.