FTG 0011 - Harrisburg & Home Districts with State Rep Peter Schweyer '00 and House Analyst Eric Dice '08

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

Guest Bios:

Peter Schweyer ’00 is the PA State Representative for the 22nd Legislative District which covers parts of the City of Allentown in Lehigh County. Prior to his election to the House in 2014, he was Director of Community and Government Affairs at Sacred Heart Hospital in Allentown and was a twice-elected member of Allentown City Council. He earned a BA in Political Science with Honors from Penn State’s College of the Liberal Arts in 2000. As State Representative, Schweyer serves as a member of the House Appropriations Committee, is chair of the Utilities Sub-Committee and is a member of the Professional Licensure. Consumer Affairs and Ethics committees. He also serves as Vice-Chair of the Democratic Policy Committee and as a Deputy Whip for the PA House Democratic Caucus.

Eric Dice ’08 is a budget analyst for the House Appropriations Committee in the Pennsylvania House of Representatives in Harrisburg, PA, which he joined in 2008. He is responsible for helping legislators prepare the annual state budget, as well as estimating the fiscal impact of proposed legislation and providing analytical support to aid policy development. He earned a BS in Economics with Honors from Penn State’s College of the Liberal Arts in 2008.

Episode Specifics:

In this episode, Peter and Eric share their combined insight on:

· The value of starting at a Commonwealth Campus and getting to know your faculty and advisors

· Leveraging Penn State’s breadth to find your depth

· Utilizing department-level resources

· Finding jobs when life circumstances affect your choices and getting into public service

· What analysts and other staff do for the Pennsylvania State Assembly (and other states too!)

· Leveraging the power of the Penn State network and finding other Nittany Lions

· The importance of getting to know any and all members of your company or organization

· Gaining skills from coursework and not just the course content

· Learning to filter out the noise and separating helpful from harmful feedback

· Leaning on family and things that help you find balance and recharge

· The importance of respect and helping others feel heard

· If you pursue government, the criticality of focusing on your constituents

· Getting mentored and then paying it forward

· Why being ethical matters, especially in government work

· Keeping and listening to the good people around you and finding perspective through adversity

· Information about the Pennsylvania House’s internship programs in Harrisburg and home districts for college students

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This content is available in text form here.

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Credits & Notes:

This show is hosted, produced, and edited by Sean Goheen ‘11 Lib (Schreyer).

The artwork was created by Tom Harrington, the College’s Web Developer.

The sound effect is “Chinese Gong,” accessed via SoundBible used under Creative Commons License.

The theme music is “Conquest” by Geovane Bruno, accessed via Pixabay and used under Creative Commons License.

Greeting scholars and welcome to following the Gong, a podcast of the Shuire Honors College at Penn State. Following the gone takes you inside conversations with our scholar alumni to hear their story so you can gain career in life advice and it spanned your professional network. You can hear the true bread of how schollar alumni have gone on to shape the world after they rind the gone and graduated with honors, and learn from their experiences so you can use their insights in your own journey. This show is proudly sponsored by the Scholar Alumni Society, a constituent group of the Penn State Alumni Association. I'm your host, Shawn Doheen, class of two thousand and eleven, and college staff member. If this is your first time joining us, welcome. If you're a regular listener, welcome back. Peter Schwire, class of two thousand, is the Pennsylvania State Representative for the twenty two legislative district, which covers parts of the city of Allentown in Lehigh County. Prior to his election to the house in two thousand and fourteen, he was director of community and government affairs at Sacred Heart Hospital in Allentown and was twice an elected member of the Allentown City Council. He earned his BA in political science with honors from Penn State's College of the Liberal Arts in two thousand as a state representative, Schwire serves as a member of the House Appropriations Committee, is chair of the utility subcommittee and is a member of the professional licensure can Sumer Fairs and ethics Tomitti's. He also serves as vice chair of the Democratic Policy Committee and is a deputy whip for the PA House Democratic Caucus. Eric Dice, class of two thousand and eight, is a budget analyst for the House Appropriations Tomty in the Pennsylvania House of Representatives and Harrisburg, which he joined in two thousand and eight. He is responsible for helping legislators prepare the annual state budget, as well as estimating the fiscal impact of proposed legislation and providing analytical support to aid policy development. He earned his BS and economics with honors from Penn State's College of the Liberal Arts in two thousand and eight. In this episode, Peter and art share their combined insight on the value of starting at a Commonwealth campus and getting to know your faculty and Advisors, Leveraging Penn State's breadth to find your death, utilizing department level resources, finding jobs when life circumstances affect your choices and getting into public service. What analysts and other staff do for the Pennsylvania state assembly, leveraging the power the Penn state network and finding other nitney lions. The importance of getting to know any and all members of your company or organization. They also talk gaining stills from coursework and not just the course content, learning to filter out the noise and separating helpful from harmful feedback, leaning on family and things that help you find balance, the importance of respect and helping others feel herd. They talk about how, if you pursue government, the criticality of focusing on your constituents. They also talk about getting mentored and then paying it forward. They wrap up with why being ethical matters, especially in government work, keeping and listening to the good people around you and finding perspective through adversity. And, finally, information about the Pennsylvania houses, internship programs in Harrisburg and home districts for college students. Now let's dive into our combined conversation with representative Peter Schweier and analyst Eric dice following the Gong. Pete, Eric, thank you both so much for joining me here today on following the gone I really appreciate it. Pete, you graduated a little bit before Eric's. I'm going to start with you. Can you tell us about your Penn state days, both at Penn State, when it is now Lee High Valley, and at University partment? Yeah, thanks so much. And and and first of all, you know, at my advanced age, since I'm about a hundred years older than Eric, I'll try my very best remember what it was like at the Agricultural School of Pennsylvania back when I when I attended there. Now I I started off my my college career as an underachieving high school or from the city of Allen Town and I had options go to a bunch of different colleges, but but sort of always wanted to go to penn state. I had a...

...sort of interesting experience. I toured a school down in Philadelphia and I don't really like it and and the tour guide, they're just said to all of us, he's like, at the end of the day, you know you got to be happy. Where you go, it goes and if it's my school, if it's another school, I don't really care where you go, but you know, go be happy. And it was funny. It was the worst cell job I've ever had had and it was one that actually worked for me to not choose that school and Choose Penn State. And so, like I said, I was a bit of an underachiever in high school and didn't get into you park as a freshman and so ended up at Penn state what was then allantown. Now it's called Pensilia Valley. And you know, instead of looking at one of the other branch schools that had dorms and you know where you live on campus, I stayed home and I did so I figured if I'm not getting into you park, I'm going to save a couple bucks and work full time. So I worked forty hours a week my freshman and sophomore year at Penn state before I transferred up. And it was really during the middle of my sophomore year, beginning of my sophomore year that are that my advisor, who happened to be the dean of that campus, said, I mean, do you look at the the the Honors College. Your grades are good enough. Your sats. He kind of took a minute to look back. BASST's were high enough for entry. He's like, there's no reason why you don't try this and see see if we can get you in. and Lo and behold a few a few months later I was in their shreier's college and had absolutely no idea what to expect and made the move up to university park. And you know, two years later I graduated. was able to walk through through the theater and get my metal on top of getting my my my cap and Cap and gown the next day. Do you remember what you wrote your thesis on by any chance? Oh, I do. I wrote if anybody doesn't remember their thesis, then they didn't work hard enough on it. Mine was the role of the non traditional media in the one thousand nine hundred and nine to presidential election. It was I was a polyside major and it was a it was a co it was a code doctrine or whatever the phrases with with the communications department. So I had people reading and Coding newspaper articles and and I did some really very mediocre statistical analysis on what the coders found and and I was able to turn through that, through that, you know, hundred page document, you know, in about a year and a half, and I'll never forget. This is my favorite story about it. I want to hear a little bit about what Eric has but I remember turning in a chapter to my thesis adviser, Babo Commer, and he handed the entire thing back to me a week later with the word English question mark written at the top of it, and I realized I had a lot, I had a lot to figure out in a very short amount of time. Well, speaking of Eric, what about you? What drew you to Penn State and the Honors College? I came from a family of Penn staters, parents, uncles and siblings who have all gone to diversity so it's always been something that had been on my radar. I didn't know what I wanted to major in when I was in high school, so I thought there were benefits of going to a large public university that had a diversity of things that you could study. I knew that I wanted to continue to work hard and push myself academically, so scheiar made sense that way, and the scholarship helped as well, and I also remember that I really like the idea of the honors dorm, and that actually turned out to be really true, because I'm still in regular contact with a bunch of those guys for both partial and professional stuff. I end up in economics and pretty much ended up there because I got some great help from my advisor and the division of undergraduate studies and also because, on a whim, I went to talk to head of the Honors Program and the Economics Department, and I don't know that if all apartments have these sort of things, but and the Economics Department they had a specific program where they got together the honors students to have a Sebin our class and have a thesis writing class. That really helped seal and cap the acucational experience for...

...me in the Honors College. I just want to point out of course, dice was a economics major. I you know, the probably side majors and economics majors aren't supposed to get along because we believe in people and you believe in spreadsheets. Right, that's all right, yeah, we we try to bring this, we try to bring the spreadsheets where we can and provide value add to your pete. It's all about the jobs do. So a key theme I heard from both of your stories of your time on campus, both at Lee High Valley and a university park, was the importance of making sure you connect with your advisors, the administrators, their faults here to help you along the way. Now, Pete, you're currently a state representative, but that's not typically your first job out of college. You know, when you announced candidacies for any number of roles, people like to highlight their, you know, their professional life up to that point. What did you do before becoming a state rent? So I think a lot of like a lot of people that kind of enter this field, I always have strong interest in it, but it takes a while to you'll find your footing and, candidly, there is something to be said about being a little bit older before we enter Inter elected office, just for a little bit of a perspective in life and and from a career. And so I started off as a school teacher in West Philadelphia. I did a program. I graduated in two thousand in a program called teach Philadelphia, which is basically an offshoot of teach for America, and I wasn't I was only on there for a few months. My father. I'm an only child. My father got sick and as cancer became terminal when I was down there, and so I didn't get to spend as much time as a school teacher as I, you know, had originally expected to. Came home and still needed a job, so I ended up selling skis at the sports authority. I don't ski. It was a wildly successful I got a job, and by that I mean I wasn't from there. I got a job working campaigns and then eventually laid it in the legislative office, where I where I started, like kind of like Eric, what Eric does, but minus a thousand percent, is kind of where I started. I made all of twenty Onezero dollars year working as the as the junior staff or of a very young member of the General Assembly. But from their kind of worked my way up. So I worked for a representative Bethlem and then a senator in Bethlem. Finally came over to Allantown work for a House member here. I did some private consulting work is sprinkled through it at all, and then, you know, kind of towards the tail end of my last boss's time, I was I had the opportunity to go and work at a hospital where I did community government affairs for a small independent hospital in downtown Allen Town, where I learned a time interspersed and all of that. I did work on my transit authority, ended up becoming a board member of my transit authority and I ran for local office. So I was on city council here in Allantown, as president of city council here, and so I sort of bounced around a lot and that's not a unique story in Harrisburg. There's a lot of people that you know because by nature legislators are Jack of all trades, master of none. Eric can absolutely speak power to the speak truth of power that I am master of none of no particular policy. But you know, we we have to buy for by the very nature of the job that we do, be able to kind of fill in a bunch of different gaps and be able to try to make reasonable decisions it with, you know, partial knowledge and and you know. So I think having that wide swath of I'm in a transit authority, healthcare education was very helpful to me as I moved to the legislature. Now you mentioned being a staffer for specific rep and you've also made many allusions to what Eric does. I think most flds probably have a rough idea of why an elected official in an assembly does but Eric,...

...can you talk about how you play a really keep role in the legislative process in Harrisburg? Sure it's a big team effort. Over a hundred forty laws were passed by the Pennsylvania General Assembly in two thousand and twenty and I work on the Appropriations Committee, so we are responsible for dealing with the state budget and also for trying to figure out how much those laws are expected to cost. So in addition to the laws, there was over ninety eight billion state and federal funds spent on priorities set by state lawmakers like Pete. Thirty four billion or so from the General Fund. And the job of the staff is to help the elect officials develop, invent the ideas that they are receiving from their constituents and their communities, get them into policy proposals and then write the bills amendments and work of agencies to implement all those things. For the Appropriations Committee, specifically, budget analysts like me help forecast revenues and expenses and the cost estaments for policy prosols and then other committees may need some help with number crunching and so they can come to us and we can assist them with whatever they need to, you know, get things put together for what they want. So Pete Can, you know, pick up the phone, call us up and say I'm meeting with a group of constituents. Can Help me get prepared for that or, you know, even beyond that meeting to help out answer questions. or He might be working with a committee on a bill and they need a ballpark size of where things might cost and then we can, you know, tweak up or down based on what those numbers come in at. He's also a member of the Appropriations Committee and so regularly he has to vote throughout the year on the fiscal notes, which are documents with summarize the cost expectations of legislations. In Pennsylvania this tends to be a little bit more partisan process than some other states, and so an aspect of that is pointing out any flaws or tradeoffs from his perspective and we help with that. In March and February the preparations committee holds three to four weeks of budget hearings with heads of state agencies and also institutions like Penn State, which our state funded, and this is a huge effort. And so our job is to digest, understand and then quickly communicate what's going on in the governor's budget proposal to members so that they can take that baseline knowledge, layer in the concerns and stuff and the perspective that they get from their constituents and be able to ask the right questions, to elevate issues and get a deeper understanding of where we're spending our things. And the biggest challenge is that absolute fire hose of information that gets thrown at elected officials. I'm only responsible for my one, you know, areas of it, but folks like Pete have to handle the whole thing. So in effect, if I can summarize what you just said, tell me if I'm wrong, you are helping the elected officials take those campaign promises that they make throughout the actual election cycle and turn those into policies with the real world implications of how much does this cost, how does this actually happen? Going from the little bumper stick or you know on your car slogan into a real agency, a real program a real expense that you know they have to vote on. Is that? Is that a fair summary? Yeah, and you know it's a lot of things that they have to vote on. You know, just the budget can be anywhere from twenty five pieces or more of legislation just to put all the pieces together, and there's just plenty of other bills that are moving in any given week that have things that we need to think about. Now, Pete, you mentioned that you are both connected to the House Appropriations Committee and Penn State very much prides itself on its network. The power the pencilly network is everywhere. How did you two first...

...both cross paths and then, more importantly, how did you both discover that you were both shryer scholars? So I think I met Eric when I first joined the committee, although I first of all Eric's being a little modest. And you know, we can't do our I can't do my job, legislators can't do their job without outstanding people with us. and to be perfectly candid, I mean I was staff for eleven years. I was staff longer that I've been a member, and so, having set in similar all their different positions in Eric, I can tell you that most members, especially those like me who had been stopped before him, really seek out those those members of our team that are a experts. But be more importantly than that, I mean it's all honestly have a work ethic that, you know, fits kind of what our expectations are. Eric, Eric's you know, care. Eric is obviously extraordinarily bright, but beyond that, he works extraordinally hard and and he's was very easy to find because, whether it was, you know, roaming the halls of the capital or being being at his desk or, you know, being made a resource to us by our preparations chairman, Eric was just one of the ones that you always just naturally turned to, and so it was pretty easy for me to find them because he's kind of ubiquitous in the halls. He's he's not one of these these staff members that kind of sits in his office. It is never anywhere. I mean Eric is involved in policy across the board, from the fiscal side get providing us with that analysis. I don't know exactly how we figured out. We're both shrier scholars. I think you ot a pen state sticker up next to something and I and I so shown. I I'll say this. I remember visiting, remember just being a kid and like going to see grandma and like not calling ahead because he didn't need to, because you're just at Grandma's house and you know who cares. I believe in doing that, just generally speaking, everywhere in life, and so much to the Chagrin of our appropriation staff and others, I will routinely just show up at people's doors and be like hi, I'm gonna sit down and talk to you now. And and Eric. Eric's office is is. It's a sizeable desk, but it's surrounded on three walls by a cubicle, so he was trapped when I plop to my my key store down next to him and he he is on a his unabashed about having his game of thrones and and and some of your other wonderful cultural icons around you. Next year, Penn state sticker. I think that's how we both discovered repaen state guys, plus alm, also that dude that just yells we are randomly in the capital, so I'm not that hard to find either. I'm not sure how we both discovered we were shryer scholars. I think that was just a you know, in the midst of a conversation. But you know, it was easy for me to find Eric because I just seek people out. Plus, Eric is just all over the place, you know, and with both of us wearing are blue and white on our sleeves at all points in time, it wasn't that hard to figure out. The moral of the story is, you know, keep the swag up in your office, wherever it is. Yes, if you are penn state proud, the pride will find you. I think that's a good moral of that story. What kind of skills would you recommend that scholars work on now in Undergrad if they are interested in working in an environment like Harrisburg or perhaps even a city council or something similar, like you were a part of Pete. Yeah, so it. You know, my my my college professors would probably not like to hear this, but you know, in my four years of Penn state, my tears as a shier skyle scholar, I'd can't really tell you much about the federalist papers. I don't know if I remember a lot of details from my comparative Politics Class. Fact that, when I can assure you I don't remember many details on and an o outside of some specific courses. You know,...

...be honest with you, those weren't the skills that mattered most to me in my professional career. What Penn State was Schreier provided me was sort of a skill set beyond a knowledge base and the skill set of communication, the ability to talk to people, the ability to write, the ability to read and read critically, and sort of just being very nimble and very flexible in terms of not, you know, my ideology, my ideology is my ideology, but in terms of being able to find ways to fit into certain situations were, frankly, far more critical than any of the subject material. The subject of material was a means for me to become a grown up. It was a means for me to to become a better professional or to become a professional and and and really and really, looking at it from that perspective, I that's where the that's the value that I find. You know, when you're again, when you're in politics or Jack of all trades, master of none your you're literally, at least in a district like mine, you have to be able to communicate with folks out of Black Church, folks in a Union Hall and folks in a in a in a country club be able to give the same message but do so in language that's appropriate for the moment, so that you're not telling people what they want to hear, what you're telling them what you believe and what you think is happening in your community and so forth and so on, in an honest manner. It's the Proverbabi of meet people where they're at, and Penn state and Schreider's gave helped me learn to find my voice but also be flexible and be in those spots like that. Every thing I'd say is there's no one magic recipe for being successful in state government. I just in my career I've worked with people who've come from all sorts of different backgrounds who have worked at analysts or in other capacities. We've had PhD people, we've had master there's a public policy mash, the public administration, Political Science, economics, business, lawyers, Jim Teachers. The woman who used to be a gym teacher was fantastic because she knew how to command at tension from people who have a lot of things going on and, you know, may have been a little distracted. And so that clear and effective communication and different medium has been really valuable in our work. We do written oral presentations, data analysis, date vilization, all sorts of different things, and so just finding that right way to get the message across at the staff level is important, just like it is at the member level. I do think that some quantitative skills can help distinguish you a little bit. I think everybody, if you're in your discipline, ought to look at what coot passes are available or find a good statistic course to take as one of your electives. May Not be calculating yourselves, but then it just puts in your mind a framework of how to think about issues and when you're trying to bring data to bear on public policy problems, that can be a real help. Your industry, probably more than almost any other that I can think of, requires the thickest of skin. How do you handle criticism from you know, ultimately you don't have just one boss, you have many bosses, because your boss is your constituency. So how do you handle that and what recommendations can you share with scholars to help deal with criticism and whole feedback in a positive way to help themselves grow as individuals and professionals? The the Gods on US truth is you have to learn how to filter out as much of the noise as possible. I kind of look at almost everything we do, including dealing with criticism, like a like an old fashioned word problem in math class, where the the teacher will throw a whole bunch of extraneous stuff in the word problem that is completely and utterly irrelevant to being able to solve the solve the the question at hand. And filtering out criticism is no different. If I go...

...on Facebook, which I don't, it's stupid, but if I go on facebook and I read every comment about me, it's not only is going to be really negative, but the stuff that's really positive is also, frankly, in many ways, you know, just as dangerous. I've seen politicians that believe all of their positive comments and then therefore think that there's slated for greatness in this world. And really your a state rep like everybody else. So you have to be able to you filter out the positive end of the negative stuff that is completely and totally irrelevant to your daytoday work, to your to your operations, to your serving your constituency and knowing what is and the first step is knowing what criticism is meaningful and which is just background noise, and I'd say eighty five percent of it is background noise, at least that I've experienced. Once you realize and kind of set up that filter, you put the junk aside, you know again the posit of a negative junk aside, and you really focus on the stuff that you want to reflect on and think about. I don't really care what people think of me. I care about how people think I'm doing my job, and so, you know, it is, it's there is a tough skin element to it, but really I look at a different way. Again, I look at it as a as a as a filtration system. You just have to flush the stuff that's garbage and and and not take yourself too seriously at the same time. Those are kind of the two biggest tricks. And then, I guess, lastly, you have to figure out how to shut it off. You have to find those things in this world that you can turn to, first of all people, the human relations in your life, your family or friends, but also those things that are just quiet, you know, or at least allow you to distract or go away somewhere. So, whether for me it's riding my bike or hopping, I have a boat and hopping on my boat, or if it's playing my guitar loudly but poorly, if it's cooking, you know, any of those things that you those real life things matter. It gives you a chance to take a breath, to step away from it all and you know, kind of not get to to heat it up over over over, criticism again and you know, hopefully you're only worrying about the fifteen percent that actually matters. Yeah, and the other thing I would just add is sometimes the most stressful circumstances or where you get constituent calling in who's just having a very difficult time with whatever the issue may be, I think providing respect goes a long way to diffusing some of those tensions and just people want to be here heard out. Sometimes, ultimately we want to try and help them and solve whatever their problem is. That maybe, but even if we can't do that, just making sure that we're, you know, being careful about others and how they're feeling and providing that respect. It just goes a long way. Yeah, I think you're brings up a really important point there, which is, you know, and much of this conversation today is sort of been on the Harrisburg side of the job, but for many legislators, in fact I'd argue the majority of legislators, we focus far more on what's happening in our hometown. I don't, I often say I was never elected to represent a Harrisburg. I was elected to represent Allen town and and so I have again, I have an ideology that I that I fundamentally believe, and I have things that I care about, but at the end of the day my job is to get up every day and go to work and try to make my hometown a better place. And and that looks differently for different members. That looks differently for different unities and and and government. You have to celebrate the small victories. It is never to quote Sarah Palin again, and...

I mean that, never to quote Sarah Palin again, but the hope he change, he stuff doesn't come along all that very much. And what does come along is how, in your day to day interactions with your constituents, are you able to make their lives just a little bit better? When people come through our district offices, they have nowhere else to turn. The they don't have a network that's able to help them address whatever problem is there there in the moment. We are their network, and so you know there's absolute point to as absolute credit. You have to take people at face value. You have to show them the respect and dignity that everybody who's having a bad day deserves. You need to give them a little bit of space and at the end of the day you need to give them your very best effort and and so that's the good stuff of this job. I mean that really is the part of this job that keeps a lot of us going, a lot of staff going, and certainly kept me going when I was staff and as a member, when you know you and your team are able to make somebody's life a little bit better one day. We can do that. We can walk and Choo Gum at the same time while we're working on the big policy initiatives at facetocommon well Pennsylvania, and all of it matters, all of it is important. All of it again, makes the stupid stuff on facebook or two better. You recognize it as noise and not the real not not what actually matters in this job. I think that's great insight and I think you can translate that to a lot of industries, especially the point about treating everybody with respect. The golden rule comes to mind and I think that transcends any kind of religious background that they that might stem from. Now last heavy question. Can you both and maybe are will start with you. What has been your biggest success to date that you're most proud of, and also what's been your biggest learning moment and what you took from that? I think the biggest success for me has being able to be a part of some teams that have written some big legislation, and it's really satisfying to be able to see something that you worked really hard on come to fruition that you think is going to help people. As I become more senior within our office, I'm also able to help mentor a new analysts and staff, and that was so critical to me. When I first started, I was benefited tremendously from the expertise and wisdom of some really great people who taught me how it should be done and I want to try and pass that on. The biggest learning moment for me was actually my second day on the job, which was when a bunch of staff in the legislature were indicted as part of a huge investigation into whether campaign work had been done on the clock and if public resources were illegally used for campaigns. Our specific office wasn't affected anyway. But here I am, the second day on the job, age twenty two, watching Coworkers squint at the TV screen trying to make out who was on the poster behind the Attorney General giving the press conference. I thought to myself, have I have I made a huge mistake here and do I need to quit this job right now? I didn't quit, but it did make a huge impression on me and it was in this way I think we should all actively think about the ethical dimensions of what we're doing and not just go along with the crowd, because it is the institutional culture. You know, it is legal to be involved in political campaigns if you're a staffer, but it has to be completely separate and entirely on your own time, if your own resources, and there's a line that a lot of people do ethically walk and many people can do it. Pizza one of them. And as the elected official trying to balance those things and juggle schedules and everything, it can be challenging, but it's super critically important for me. The best thing to do was kind of swear it off completely, and so I don't get involved in any state lot campaigns, even though I have, you know, opinions about this sort of thing and they are the larger point is, you know, the only way to have ethical, responsible organizations is to have ethical, responsible people in your organizations and you...

...have to also build the culture of that instills those values and keep some central and it can start with your actions but needs to grow beyond that. I would encourage anybody, when they're interviewing for jobs, no matter where it is, to ask, you know, specific point of questions about the values and the challenges facing that organization so you can decide whether or not it's a place that you want to be and a place to where you think you can do your job. Well. Yeah, okay, so I'm laughing. I was laughing when Eric was telling that story because I was also staff member at that point in time. I didn't realize that was your second day on your on the job, Eric. So congratulations. It was a big gun. I imagine it was. I was. Anyway, I'll leave those stories for another day. So, in terms of success, need a successful like I like I said earlier, takes a number of different forms in this job. You can pass a bill, you can get a big appropriations, you can you can work with your colleagues on and all of that is true some but as a member of the minority party, the odds that you're going to be able to pass a bill or significantly to disminished, diminished to the point where it's almost impossible. I think something like seven percent of bills that get passed in the house are from the minarity party, and so you have to find new and creative ways to make an impact on your community or else you're just not trying hard enough, you're just not doing your job. And so I was inappropriations hearing, and I'm sure Eric will remember this because I've had a few choice words for for some of the leaders of this but I was with the we're with the state system of Higher Education School, so the BLOOMSBURG's. That cuts down to the world and and A. I'm a first generation college dud. If my father actually didn't finish high school. My Mom did one year of nursing school and dropped out to Mary Dad and and so college education is very important to me. It's how we break a poverty, a PSYCHOL poverty. And and my district also happens to be about eighty percent people of color. And so something through the documents that the state system schools were giving us and I noticed that the Manardi enrollment are the enrollment of students that are black or brown was, I don't remember what the numbers are anymore, but that time, pathetically low. And this is in spite of the fact that one of the one of the colleges, is a historically black college. And when you act, when I asked the question of them in the answer was, well, we have to really try to create a sense of of a college experience, a college sense, a history of education that were one doesn't exist. Frankly, thought the answer was was was just gross and and and off putting. I challenged Pashi and was able to get one of the universities to commit to having a to increasing their their enrollment from the untown school district, a school district that is ninety percent African, American and Latino and and and get a streamline the process and create some special funds and some special opportunities for kids in all intown to get a college education. And it was a really it was a really proud moment and it was really for me. It was making a stank kind of being a very aggressive, some would say borderlining something far worse than aggressive, to the chancellor, but the result of which was that a bunch of kids that I'm never going to meet are going to have a chance to go to college in an affordable setting, not all that far from home, and they are going to help that that opportunity is going to help them break the cycle of poverty, just like education did for me. So again, kids that I'm never going to meet are going to be able to go to school and that was a really cool moment where we are all to pull that off. In terms of a learning moment. For me, there are no shortage of eight million different learning opportunities that were that were disappointments...

...for me. But honestly, I think one of the first, maybe not one of the first, but one of the one of the most important, was my last reelection. I want my primary by all of fifty four and fifty three vote. I want my I'm one of my primary very very, very slim margins and to a person who never ran for office before, and all the credit in the world r she ran hard. However, in the aftermath of the campaign, she leveled a lot of a lot of criticism on the vote counting and things like that. It was extraordinarily difficult for me not to argue back, but the number of frankly other grown ups in the room that reminded me that we wont let it go. She could be a sort of loser all she wants, and you just have to stay above it, even though it didn't feel good in the moment. was absolutely the right advice that I got from a lot of people and, as a result, to this day, by keeping my wits about me and making and having people, really good people, around me, helping me keep my wits about me. You know, I didn't say or doing anything that would have put me in a bad spot, and so a very tough moment turned into a very important moment for me because, in spite of the fact that I was disappointed in the election results, I frankly thought I should have wanted significantly higher, although I don't know any politician who thinks they should win by when by less than they actually did. You know, it turned out to be a strong positive again, I kind of grew as a person. In that moment I developed a little bit more patience, I developed a little bit more tolerance and a little bit more perspective on things. Now, if a scholar wanted to reach out to either one of you to pick your brain a little bit further and dive deeper on the different care paths that you've taken to serve the constituencies that you do in your hometown in Harrisburg, how can they reach out to you? Well, we're not getting the ice cream question. I thought up all day about the ice cream question. That is the very last. Okay, I'm sorry, I stepped on. I stepped on your under podcast. For me, I as much as I hate facebook and kind of lamented it a bunch of times, I kind of do love twitter. So I am at Peter underscoreschwire. Folks in also always email me on my direct email. This is a government email, so no politics here. If somebody would shoot me a message about politics, I would forward it to an appropriate so but we do follow those ethics rules very closely. But my state email is P as and Peter Shwe Yer, so p Schwire at PA house dotnet. anyt you can also get ahold of me via email e dice edicee at Pahouse dotnet. And I also want to plug something that's a really great opportunity. The House has paid internship program, the Pennsylvania House Fellowship. The fellows are placed in either a leadership office or a high ranking committee chairman's Office. I know that we've had some of these students common work with fauce. We put arm to work doing the real thing right away and leaned on them to do our jobs and I can think of several people that I know who are now working in very high level capacities across the state who came out that fellowship program and so I say check it out if you're interested at all. There's more information at www dot PA house fellowship dot us. I know that legislative caucuses also have in turned to from time to time, sometimes in district offices. Pete, I don't know if you have any details about that. We offer paid internships, one paid internship in the summer for anybody enrolled in college. So if you would graduated from high school and are entering your freshman year, we can offer that to you as well. And that is at least for our caucus, speaking only for our caucus. That opportunity is afforded to every every member.

Now I personally will accept additional interns in for fall or springs besters, I just can't pay them for that. We only get one a year. The sound like great opportunities. So, depending on when you're listening to this, that may have already passed, but there may be one for the next year forward. So be sure to check those out if that is of interest, and be sure to reach out to Pete and or Eric to learn more. Now is the ice cream question, as you mentioned earlier, Pete. So Eric, I'll start with you and MP let you have the last word. Eric. If you were a flavor of Berkie creamery ice cream, which would you be? And, most importantly, as a scholar alum, why that flavor? So let's just approach this from our sort of like government interaction perspective. I'm going to go with peppermint stick. So it's seasonal. Maybe you don't have to, you know, come and, you know, talk with your government officials or talk to the legislature all the time, but hopefully when you do periodically, it'll be a good experience and we hope that we can provide that to, and so we'll go pepperminstad. I was judging you so hard on that. I'm not going to lie. I was really excited that you went first because I wanted to hear your answer. So I have like a good politician, I'm going to give you two answers. Number One, the best flavor and and at me. All you want, don't care, is strawberry, period, full stop. Classic Strawberry is the best flavor at a creamery and I will argue and sell them blue in the face about this. and Try me, because I've gotten hot dog wars in Allantown. I could tell you the only places that matter for hot dogs and city bouts up so very strong opinions about this. Strawberry is the best flavor, but the one to be and and I'm going to, I'm going to I'm going to dance on some some thin ice here, given given the the the the the lineage of this one. But I was nicknamed by a bunch of my kids and more I have two daughters. My kids and their friends nicknamed mean Peach Swire. They couldn't separate Pete and Schwire, so they thought my name was actually peach. So you know, because you can never knock the brand. I'd be peach swire ice cream. I mean, I even gave you a name, so you know you got everything you'd expect from a politician, a straw, a strong opinion on absolutely nothing that matters, two answers and a branding opportunity all at once. I appreciate that you had some really strong answers. I've not heard any of those flavors before on this podcast, so I appreciate getting some fresh flavors. They're nice roll whatever. Lot Be more creative. Well, I'll let you take that up with some of our previous guests, which that is a very popular answer. I also appreciate the candor. I know you don't always get that from politicians and those who work in the government space, so I really appreciate you're just very direct and clear answers to the questions that I had for you today on behalf of our Shire scholars. Eric Pete, really appreciate you coming on today. Thank you so much. Thank Shan, absolutely my pleasure. Thank you. Thank you, scholars, for listening and learning with us today. We hope you will take something with you that will contribute to how you shape the world. This show probably supports the Shuire Honors College Emergency Fund Benefiting Scholars experiencing unexpected financial hardship. You can make a difference at rays dot PSU DOT edu, forward slash shreire. Please be sure to hit the relevance, subscribe, like or follow button on whichever platform you are engaging with us on today. You can follow the college on Facebook, twitter, instagram and Linkedin to say uptodate on news, events and deadlines. If you have questions about the show or a scholar alum who'd like to join us as a guest here on following the gone, please connect with me at scholar alumni at PSU DOT ETU. Until next time, please stay well and we are.

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