Late Sen. Waugh honored on House floor

Mike Waugh poses in the large arena of the Farm Show Complex in Harrisburg, Pa. earlier this year. Waugh resigned as a York County state senator and has been appointed by Gov. Tom Corbett to serve as executive director of the Pennsylvania Farm Show. (Daily Record/Sunday News -- Jason Plotkin)

Mike Waugh poses in the large arena of the Farm Show Complex in Harrisburg, Pa. earlier this year. Waugh resigned as a York County state senator and has been appointed by Gov. Tom Corbett to serve as executive director of the Pennsylvania Farm Show. (Daily Record/Sunday News — Jason Plotkin)

Sen. Mike Waugh, a York County Republican who died on Oct. 8, 2014, was honored today in speech by Rep. Stan Saylor, R-Red Lion, on the floor of the Pennsylvania House.

Related: Mike Waugh, longtime York County Republican lawmaker, dies

In the speech, Saylor traced his own history with Waugh to point out the various ways he said he felt Waugh differed from other lawmakers.

For one, he said, Waugh was involved in a lot of things for many years but never seemed to take the credit he was due.

One of those accomplishments was his instrumental work to pass a statewide building code by finding common ground between the extreme views on a prospective code. That, Saylor said, also illustrated his ability to unify people.

Saylor said Waugh made sure the entire York County delegation met every month to be a united front for York County’s needs. Those meetings continued, he said, despite the changing faces in the York County delegation over the years.

Related: Friends, associates remember Mike Waugh

A partially completed transcript of the speech after the jump.

Rep. Stan Saylor

Rep. Stan Saylor, R-Windsor Township. YDR file photo.

I rise today to pay tribute to Mike and, you know, it’s funny because many of our colleagues have gone to the other side of this buildings and have become Senators as Mike did but Mike wouldn’t want me to call him Sen. Waugh today, he would want me to call him Mike because he always remembered where he came from.

And that was one of the things that was so great about Mike and it tells you a little bit about his personality. He never forgot his grass roots and where he came from as an individual but, more importantly, he was a friend to all.

You know, you heard some of his bio and I wanted to tell you Mike and I met originally when he had a construction company and I had a construction company many years ago before we both came here in 1993.

Mike and I had this discussion — at that time we created a new district in York County — and– I don’t know how to address him anymore– Congressman Platts, Judge Platts, Representative Platts, sitting over here to my left had already announced he was running and I had announced I was running for the House. Mike was debating whether he wanted to run and he asked me for my opinion and I said I really felt it was important that we elect more people who are small business people, people who serve in the community as public servants and Mike was in EMS, fire chief, township supervisors. We needed more than that in the general assembly and Mike eventually, of course, decided to run for the House.

And it’s funny because in York County back in 1993, Todd and Mike and I became known as the 3 Musketeers running as freshmen and we came in in ’93 as a class of 24 members, one of the largest classes to ever come into the House at that time on the Republican side and we were joined by 13 members of our class who are– actually our new Secretary of Labor Cathy Mandarino was chair of the Democratic freshman class.

We came in and Mike, and one of the things with Mike is he was always open to have discussions on any number of issues. He had so many issues in York from agriculture, fire and emergency services and business issues.

The thing that many of you … who might not remember Mike too much, but will remember– if you see him around the Capitol he always had his suit on but he always had his cowboy boots and, of course, that big mustache that was kind of his symbol.

Mike had accomplished many things, representative, Secretary of Welfare — Bev Mackereth really said it best when she said Mike did a lot of things. He was involved in a lot of things. But Mike never took credit for the things he was involved in or the things he accomplished over the many years. We passed a gambling and casino bill here in the Capitol and Mike was very much involved in making sure that fire and emergency services got a part of those dollars to make sure that the funding was going in their direction.

Mike– what only Mike could do, I believe, at the time, was he put through the statewide building code. That was a difficult thing to do. There were those who went way out there and have permits for everything and all kinds of regulations and then there were those who really didn’t want a building code in Pennsylvania. Mike, in his calm demeanor and his way of really talking to everybody, brought everybody together and passed our statewide building code.

You know, those are some of the things that Mike accomplished. You know, I remember going to many fire banquets with Mike and one things that he always and from the bottom of his heart he would tell everybody at a fire and emergency services banquet was “Be safe out there.” Because Mike really valued our emergency services personnel long before 9/11 came and we all became great believers in supporting our fire and police.

So, Mike laid the way there but he really had a great civic pride in everything that he did. A great love for his family, his granddaughter and son, of course his wife and his parents. So, today, the thing that I think, too, also comes to my mind about Mike was the fact that he was always about bringing people together.

He was always about unity. And because of Mike and people like Todd Platts and others, our delegation in York County is united.

It started off it was Mike and Todd and I, Bruce Smith, Steve Stetler, we would meet on a monthly basis. Then came along Eugene DePasquale and Eugene would join in the group and our delegation kept changing. But Mike always made sure we’d meet on a monthly basis as a delegation, was united. We would have our differences. As a delegation, as you all know, we would have different issues that we may face or disagree on but Mike always made sure we were together as a team as York County.

And, as Senator, he never forgot that.

He was still a team player. He was still a part of all of us. He didn’t say, ‘Oh, well, I’m in the state Senate now, see you guys later, I’ll do my own thing.’ He always thought about all of us.

One of the things, to show you how humble it is, unusual that is, with Mike, there is a story about a newspaper reporter who had come down to his farm for an assignment and it was a cold and inclement day and a photographer couldn’t find Mike and he asked the guy who was in a Carhartt hoodie who was doing farm stuff, you know, where Sen. Waugh was. And the man in the hoodie said, ‘Jason, it’s me.’ [Note: That would be YDR’s own Jason Plotkin. He tells the story here.]

Mike was just–

[End of transcription due to video error.]

About Flint McColgan

I'm a journalist covering York County, Pa., government and politics. Reach me by email at fmccolgan@ydr.com or call me at (717) 487-0823.
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