Tuesday, January 13, 2009

PA State Rep Prepares to Serve in Iraq

When the Pennsylvania National Guard's 28th Combat Aviation Brigade begins a year-long deployment to Iraq later this month, Scott Perry will leave his day job as a state Representative and assume command of one of the unit's 5 battalions. The Brigade will spend two months training in Oklahoma before it heads overseas, but once active duty begins, military law will bar Perry from carrying out any partisan or legislative activities. The Republican says he's hired some extra staffers to make sure his office is still able to respond to York and Cumberland County constituents, but he'll keep his distance once deployment is underway. He says, “The army wants to make sure that when you're out on the mission you're focused on the mission and not focused on someone's constituent concern back in your district. So I won't be answering-nor am I allowed to be answering-constituent emails. I'm not going to be looking into, for instance, a PennDOT issue for a particular constituent.” Perry, who's a Lieutenant Colonel, says he's "humbled" by the attention his deployment has received-he's been the focus of several profiles and ceremonies, and last week House members gave him a standing ovation during its opening session. He's been in the Guard since 1980, and served a tour of active duty in the Balkans.

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