Emrick Talks Tough on State Finances
State Rep. Joe Emrick is running for re-election in the 137th Legislative District on Nov. 6.
Editor's Note -- This is the first of two parts on the candidates running Nov. 6 to represent the 137th state legislative district.
State Rep. Joe Emrick feels good.
As he sits over breakfast recently at the Forks Diner for an exclusive interview with Patch.com, Emrick believes that he has made a difference during his two years representing the 137th state legislative district.
"We've gone in and legislated the exact issues we campaigned for," the 42-year-old Upper Nazareth resident said. "We've started to achieve goals. But a lot of work needs to be done. I'm looking forward to continuing down that path."
The Republican Emrick faces former Bangor Mayor Joe Capozzolo, a Democrat, in the Nov. 6 race for state representative.
Emrick had dropped about 1,000 maroon campaign signs throughout the 13-municipality district, which has 73,000 constituents.
He finds himself, though, in a strange position: facing a challenger. When he ran two years ago, Emrick was the challenger.
"The experience is very different running as the incumbent," he said. "I'm trying to balance the legislative side of the job with campaigning. Now that I'm the incumbent, I've voted on a thousand things. You make the best decisions that you can."
Emrick keeps to his grass-roots campaign. You've probably heard a knock on your door to see his face.
During his 2010 run, Emrick knocked on 7,538 doors. He had already hit 6,034 doors about a month ago.
"The purpose in doing that is being on their front porch. I can find out what's on their minds, their concerns and how I can help them," he said. "People are very receptive. They show appreciation that I take the time. My ear is to the ground and I'm responsive to the needs."
His main focus is on getting government spending under control.
In the past two years, Emrick has worked with his colleagues to address the state's debt, helping to eliminate a $4 billion deficit.
Emrick is also focused on job creation and economic growth.
He wants a government that also lives within its means. And an education system that isn't burdened by property taxes.
Emrick is also trying to get the Delaware River Joint Toll Commission under control. He's questioned its structure, spending and bureaucracy.
"It's been a badge of honor to fight for the people," he said. "I continue to pound away on that issue. I'm not going away on it."
Emrick tries to focus on Palmer and Forks townships.
He holds an annual senior health fair in Forks and also legislative breakfasts in Forks and Nazareth.
"i'm just a kid who grew up in Bangor and loves his community," Emrick said. "I want to give back to so many people who had an influence on my life."
The 137th legislative district includes: Forks Township, Palmer Township, Stockertown, Tatamy, Nazareth, Upper Nazareth, Bangor, Upper and Lower Mount Bethel, Washington Township, Roseto, East Bangor and Portland.