Adolph bids colleagues farewell on state Capitol floor
The chairman of the state House Appropriations Committee stood before his colleagues Wednesday afternoon and told them how he did it his way for almost three decades in the state Capitol.
“I must admit it feels a little strange up here,” state Rep. William Adolph, R-165, of Springfield, said. “I really can’t believe it. After 28 years of watching and admiring close to 150 to 200 other friends and colleagues say their farewell address, it’s now my turn.”
Adolph began his political career being appointed Springfield township commissioner in 1983 after the football coach complained about the condition of the playing field at North Avenue Park. Five years later, he won the state House seat for the 165th district, representing Marple, Radnor, Springfield and Morton.
“I have many fond memories of my time in Harrisburg,” he shared as he touched upon working on various committees, with members from different parties and hometowns. “I hope that I’ve made a positive impact for my constituents ... as well as residents throughout this commonwealth. I also find it really hard to believe that this kid from Delco born and raised in southwest Philadelphia has had the opportunity to serve in the House.”
Adolph’s farewell address was attended by family members, his wife Debbie and two of his three sons, former state Reps. Nicholas Micozzie and Mario Civera, as well as former Springfield GOP leader Charlie Sexton, the man who he pinned as responsible for him taking the seat.
“‘Bill,’” Adolph said Sexton asked him, “‘how would you like to have a nice part-time job in Harrisburg? (It) won’t interfere with your home life or you coaching your football or your business.’ And, I believed him.”
After some chuckling about how he no longer coaches football and his limited time at home, Adolph turned to Sexton and said, “Charlie, thank you because this has been the most rewarding part of my life. Thank you.”
He recalled questioning his appointment as chairman of the House Environmental Committee upon his arrival in Harrisburg.
“I couldn’t quite understand why because I was the least senior member,” Adolph said. “I think the more senior members of the Republican caucus did not want to deal with (former state Rep. Camille) “Bud” George, (D-74, of Houtzdale) on a daily basis.”
Now, chairman of the House Appropriations Committee, he took a moment in his 31-minute speech to acknowledge its staff.
“These men and women are some of the brightest folks that we have in Pennsylvania,” Adolph said. “They spend endless hours every week – budget time, weekends. And this has been a tough time.”
He thanked those who worked in his own office, including a high school friend, Jeannie Smyth, who’s worked in his office for more than 20 years.
“She’s there through thick and thin,” Adolph said. “We’ve all had tough constituents come into your office ready to take our heads off for one issue or another but after five or 10 minutes with Jeannie calming them down, being who she is, all they do is say, ‘Tell Bill I said hello.’”
Among the many legislators with whom he worked that he recognized, he expressed gratitude to the Delaware County delegation.
“To my Delco reps,” he said, naming them all, “we’ve always been able to put our political differences aside and do what’s best for Delaware County.”
After the address, Speaker of the House Mike Turzai, R-28, of McCandless, praised his departing colleague.
“You have kept a fine eye on the details on the operations of government, its debt load, its revenues, its expenditures and have helped each and every one of us understand the priorities with which to spend the hard-earned dollars of our citizens,” he said. “You’ve done it in a fair manner and you’ve always done it with class, professionalism and with respect and dignity. We are going to miss you. You’ve been a good friend.”
As Adolph’s term expires Nov. 30, he plans to spend more time with his wife, his 91-year-old father, his sons and his five grandchildren.
“I have promised (my sons) that with my retirement from the Legislature, their children will see Pop more than they did,” he said.
Yet, before he retired from the podium, Adolph acknowledged the people he’s represented, the ones who sent him there for 28 years.
“I was just thinking the other day – I’ve met presidents, I’ve met governors, U.S. senators, U.S. congressmen, ambassadors,” he said. “I was given that opportunity by my good friends and neighbors in Delaware County, the 165th District ... I wanted to thank them for that opportunity of doing things I’d never thought I’d have the opportunity to do.”
State Rep. William Adolph, R-165 of Springfield, delivers his farewell address Wednesday to colleagues in the state House of Representatives in Harrisburg.