Sen. Mike Waugh, R-Shrewsbury Township, announced Friday that he will not seek re-election when his term ends in 2014.
Below is a statement released by Waugh's office Friday, followed by a July 5 article in The York Dispatch, in which Waugh discussed his future.
The statement: "It has been my honor and privilege to serve the fine people of York County in the Senate for four terms, and in the House before that," Senator Waugh said. "Words cannot express how much I appreciate the trust that my constituents have put in me. I've always done my best to represent their interests at home and in the Capitol."
Currently serving as Majority Caucus Chairman, a key leadership position, Senator Waugh is also Vice-Chairman of the Senate Agriculture and Rural Affairs Committee and co-chair of the General Assembly's Fire and Emergency Services Caucus. Additionally, he serves as a long-time member of the Chesapeake Bay Commission and the Pennsylvania State Farm Show Commission.
"I've enjoyed every part of representing the 28th District," Senator Waugh said. "Making the decision not to run again is difficult, but I've been considering it for many months and my family and I know that this is the right time for me to move on to other interests. I've been blessed to meet thousands of wonderful people through the years, many of whom have become good friends. I'll always have fond memories of my years in the General Assembly."
Senator Waugh was first elected to serve in the Senate in November 1998. Prior to being elected to the Senate, he served in the State House of Representatives for six years beginning in November 1992. Prior to being elected to the General Assembly, he served as a Township Supervisor in Shrewsbury Township, York County.
Senator Waugh also said he was recently diagnosed with a medical condition which will require a course of treatment. He's optimistic of a speedy and successful outcome.
Born in York, Senator Waugh graduated from Chambersburg Area Senior High School and attended the Pennsylvania State University, York campus. He married his high school sweetheart, Wanda. They have one son, Joseph, and a granddaughter, Camdyn.
Steve Chronister, who had expressed an interest in running for Waugh's seat, said Friday that his primary concern right now is Waugh's health, and he's hoping the senator has a speedy recovery. Chronister will weigh his options and decide whether to run at a later date, he said.
Rep. Ron Miller, R-Shrewsbury Township, said he's also just taking a moment to process the news.
"I am not even thinking about (running for the seat) right now. I think it's time just to step back and just be supportive of Mike and what we can do for him."
The York Dispatch article from July 5:
State Sen. Mike Waugh, R-Shrewsbury, says he's still considering whether he'll run for re-election, and there are at least two big names in York County politics considering a run in the 28th Senate District seat if he doesn't. Waugh, 57, said he has "also heard" a widely circulated rumor that he's not running for a fourth term next year, but "the truth is I'm still weighing options and alternatives and have not made a decision."
Waugh has served six years in the State House and is in his 14th year in the Senate. He said it's soon time for him to decide, but he wants to talk with his family and will announce his plans when he's ready.
Rep. Ron Miller, R-Jacobus and York County President Commissioner Steve Chronister have said they'll consider runs if the incumbent doesn't continue.
Possible candidates: Miller said Wednesday he has served 14 years in the legislature and understands York County, but he'll make his case for the seat if or when Waugh announces he isn't running.
Chronister is also a Republican, but he has, in his third term as commissioner, been critical of the Republican establishment, publicly blasting Gov. Tom Corbett for cutting county funding and questioning legislator accomplishment among the York County delegation.
He said he's stymied by the lack of progress in some areas, such as a York County hotel tax increase commissioners asked the York delegation to vote on almost two years ago.
The delegation still hasn't pushed the measure to vote, so York has lost out on revenue from spillover visitors staying in hotels for the 150th anniversary of the Battle of Gettysburg, he said.
Chronister said he's not a "party boy," and he thinks partisan fighting in the legislature has stifled progress on issues such as property tax reform, a priority for many York voters, and he wouldn't cast votes to be "politically correct."
He said he doesn't have a specific beef with Waugh and wouldn't run against the incumbent, "but what I've learned in the past week is that it looks like he may not be running, and there's a possibility for the seat."
Chronister said he's "fiscally conservative and moderate-thinking," and he wants to reform the criminal justice system and fix urban school districts by restructuring the curriculum for at-risk students.
He wants to be smarter about expenditures, he said, and there are numerous ways the state could save money but doesn't.
He cited the example of a lease agreement for a building to be used for county mental health offices. The state let the county negotiate the lease, and Chronister and his colleagues were able to find a better building for almost half the cost, saving the state hundreds of thousands of dollars over the 15-year life of the contract.
"I look at just that one area where we saved money," Chronister said. "What are we doing across the whole state? Right there's one area people never talk about."
Seeking limelight? York County Republican Party Chairman Bob Wilson said Chronister has "thrown his name into different hats to run for different positions and never did anything, " and he suspects the county commissioner is just "seeking the limelight."
Chronister said he has only ever "thrown my name" in one other "hat," for a brief time when considering a run for retired U.S. Rep. Todd Platts' old seat. And he said he doesn't need to announce bogus office runs to be in the limelight; commissioners' meetings are televised.
"I take that with a grain of salt," Chronister said. "That's just because Mr. Wilson doesn't have Steve Chronister as one of his suck-ups. I don't believe in following lock-step with everything that I don't believe in. I'm not going to do things just because I'm a Republican. There's no way I would kiss his ring for anything."
Prior to serving on the board of commissioners, Chronister was a professional golfer for 20 years and was a real estate investor and agent.
When asked about a possible run from Miller, Wilson said he just wants to focus on this year's election.
He'll wait for Waugh to decide whether he's going to run and, if he doesn't run, "there are other folks likely eyeing the position as well."
The 28th Senate District covers most of York County and is the only State Senate located entirely in York County.
- Reach Christina Kauffman at firstname.lastname@example.org.