State Rep. Camille “Bud” George was elected in 1974 after a stint in the Navy, helping to run a Ford dealership and serving as mayor of Houtzdale Borough (population 871) in Clearfield County, a.k.a. God’s Country.
He is, at age 84, not seeking reelection this year.
He spent his career advocating for environmental and conservation issues, energy and coal technology and was instrumental in enacting laws governing recycling, waste management and environmentally safer trucking.
He is the current Democratic chairman of the House Environmental Resources and Energy Committee.
His district, in the middle of the state, is the geographically largest of the House’s 203. He has one district office.
George is known for fiery, sometimes-salty but always from-the-heart floor speeches, delivered in a distinctive voice best described as raspy and slightly leaning toward Daffy Duck.
Unlike the vast majority of his colleagues, there is genuineness about him whether you agree with his views or not.
On Valentine’s Day, George issued a statement on the state’s new Marcellus Shale impact fee signed into law by Gov. Corbett the day before.
The statement said, “Gas industry gets its Corbett Valentine.”
George later told me the new law “is not fair to the people who pay taxes.”
He calls the law “a sweetheart deal,” says the industry got 23 of 27 “suggestions” it made to Republican leaders and, therefore,“a pretty substantial kiss” from Harrisburg.
And while his statement never mentions that the campaign committees of Corbett and other GOP leaders were heavily funded by the shale industry, it ends with George suggesting a Valentine’s Day ad: “Every Kiss Begins with Campaign Contributions.”
George also says the new impact fee, which shale counties can opt out of, amounts to a “pitiful tax rate” on the industry.
I asked George if his statement was his KMA goodbye to Corbett. He just smiled.
There are very few characters (in a good way) in the Legislature.
Bud George is one. And almost always he makes me smile.