The Phoenix Reporter and Item (http://www.phoenixvillenews.com)

Rafferty to seek fifth term in Pa. Senate


By Tony Phyrillas, tphyrillas@21st-centurymedia.com, @tonyphyrillas on Twitter

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

State Sen. John Rafferty Jr. announced Wednesday he will seek re-election to a fifth term representing the 44th Senatorial District in Harrisburg.

“Serving the people of the 44th Senatorial District is a great honor,” said Rafferty, who has been a member of the state Senate since 2003.

The 44th Senatorial District includes parts of Berks, Chester and Montgomery counties. Senators are elected to four-year terms.

The Republican lawmaker said he is proud of his record of accomplishment in the state Capitol and emphasized his willingness to work with Democrats to get things done.

“Over my career, working in a bipartisan manner, we were able to accomplish a great deal for the people of Pennsylvania and in particular our region,” Rafferty said. “I am proud of what we have achieved and I am excited about the future of what we can accomplish to benefit the hardworking people of the 44th District.”

As chairman of the Senate Transportation Committee. Rafferty spearheaded the effort to pass a historic infrastructure bill, Act 89 of 2013, which provides billions of dollars in funding for road and bridge projects across Pennsylvania, including Route 422.

A former Pennsylvania Deputy Attorney General, Rafferty has also taken the lead on strengthening the state’s DUI laws with initiatives such as requiring ignition interlock for first time offenders. For his efforts, Rafferty, 64, has been recognized by Mothers Against Drunk Driving for the last four years as the group’s Legislator of the Year.

As vice chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, Rafferty said he has fought to provide law enforcement with the tools they need to do their jobs. He pushed through the Brad Fox legislation in the Senate that increases the penalties for straw purchasers of firearms. (Fox was a Montgomery County police officer killed in the line of duty.) Rafferty also successfully championed legislation that cracks down on gang recruitment and increases penalties for gang related crimes.

“There is no greater priority for government officials than protecting our communities,” Rafferty said.

Another important issue for Rafferty has been the fight against illegal drugs and opioids. Rafferty said he passed legislation to provide law enforcement officers with drug Narcan to help save lives of individuals overdosing. He has also supported legislation limiting the number of opioids that can be prescribed by doctors and requiring parental approval be given before opioids were prescribes to children.

Rafferty has been a longtime champion of property tax reform. He voted for and supported SB 76, the complete elimination of property taxes, saying he does not believe that “someone who is retired and living on a fixed income should lose their home because of increasing property taxes.”

Rafferty also sponsored a bill to eliminate property taxes for disabled veterans.

Another priority for Rafferty has been to protect pets from abuse and the senator was a strong proponent of Libre’s Law to increase penalties on individuals convicting of abusing animals.

Rafferty also points to his support of environment issues, including sponsoring legislation requiring riparian buffers and tightening the regulations on pipeline companies and “holding them accountable for their environmental impacts.”

A Lower Providence resident, Rafferty earned a bachelor’s degree from the University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown, a master’s degree from Beaver College and a law degree from Temple University.

Prior to serving in the state Senate, Rafferty was a private practice attorney focusing on education, real estate, zoning, business and estate law. He served on the Methacton School Board from 1980 to 1984. He also served on the Lower Providence Board of Supervisors.