Gabler reflects on first term

For state Rep. Matt Gabler, the past two years have been educational, interesting, and sometimes frustrating. During his first term representing the 75th Legislative District in the state House, the 27-year-old Republican said he learned a great deal about representing the people who elected him. "When an individual citizen speaks, you just represent yourself. When a legislator speaks, he has to do a lot more research because he represents so many people. I think that's what makes this job so fascinating," Gabler said. During his term as a freshman, Gabler's legislative priorities encompassed both regional and statewide issues. "For me, the biggest specific focus for a long time was defeating the tolls on Interstate 80," Gabler said. Act 44 of 2007 authorized the plan, which would establish tolls on I-80 to provide money for transportation improvement projects in the commonwealth. Gabler and other legislators, as well as businesses and community members along the I-80 corridor, took action against the plan, which they said would impede the development of business and job creation by causing further decline in a region that was already experiencing economic difficulties. Gabler said the tolling plan, which was ultimately rejected by the federal government, was "part of the larger picture of making jobs viable." "I think it all ties together," he said. Other priorities for the lawmaker were veterans' issues, gun rights, fiscal responsibility in state spending, government transparency and accountability, and a focus on establishing and maintaining excellent constituent service. "I think the most important thing in the job is to be accessible one-on-one with constituents," Gabler said, adding that he plans to continue his availability to constituents during his second term in office.For more on this story, see the Jan. 5 edition of The Daily Press.