STATE COLLLEGE — State Rep. Scott Conklin is planning on running for re-election this year while still mulling his candidacy for governor, he announced at a news conference Thursday.
Conklin, D-Rush Township, said he still frequently gets calls from people asking him to throw his name into the gubernatorial race, but that he is content keeping his position in the state House of Representatives if he decides not to run. He described his current position as a “dream job.”
The House has begun to experience increased turnover with more people losing races or not seeking re-election. He said almost 3/4 of the people he started with in 2006 are no longer in office, but that he’s still ready for more.
“We still have the fire in the belly,” he said. “We still have that desire to keep going on.”
When he loses passion for the job, Conklin said he’ll gladly step aside, but he’s not ready yet. If he does choose to run for governor, he will likely still seek re-election for his House seat.
He also announced some legislation he is hoping to introduce next week.
Conklin is seeking to institute a small natural gas severance fee to put money back into the federal LIHEAP program, which provides heating assistance for lower income residents. Pennsylvania doesn’t currently contribute money to the program, but he said more funding would be available if the state put some additional money back into the system.
He said his Philipsburg office got three calls Thursday morning from people who couldn’t afford to heat their homes.
“We’re looking at individuals who do not have heat in the house, and the LIHEAP program has been stretched thin,” he said.
Conklin added that it would be a mutually beneficial for both parties, because much of the money that the gas companies have to pay for the fee would go back into their pockets when the homes are heated. He has not decided any logistics for how much the fee is, but he said it will be very small.
He has not announced a timetable for his decision on the governor’s race, but the first day to file petitions for the office is Feb. 18.
Matt Morgan can be reached at 235-3928. Follow him on Twitter @MetroMattMorgan.