Born, raised and educated within the boundaries of the 98th Legislative District, Dave Hickernell is a product of the communities that he represents and serves. He is committed to standing up for the conservative views and values deeply held by the residents of those communities.
The Marietta native and lifelong Lancaster Countian is in his sixth term as a legislator in the Pennsylvania House of Representatives, but his history with the House dates back to the early 1980s. He joined the staff of the House Republican Caucus as a legislative assistant after graduating from Elizabethtown College. Over the next 17 years, Hickernell worked in key staff positions for the Caucus, including Director of the House Policy Committee, Executive Director for the Majority Whip’s Office and, ultimately, Executive Assistant to the Majority Appropriations Chairman.
During Hickernell’s first term as a legislator, he saw three of his bills become law. The very first piece of legislation he introduced ultimately became Act 5 of 2003, which lowered from 18 to 16 the age at which an individual can obtain a falconry permit in Pennsylvania. Act 11 of 2003 amended the Township State Highway Law to add 2.5 miles of Colebrook Road in East Donegal Township to the state highway system. Act 164 of 2004 updated and further defined the certification, sale and distribution of plant seed in Pennsylvania.
Representative Hickernell’s ability to move legislation during his second term continued in 2005 when three of his bills were enacted into law. House Bills 1338 and 2215, Acts 9 and 25 of 2005 respectively, authorized the sale of the General Shannon Armory Building and Garage to Columbia Borough. House Bill 1579, Act 73 of 2005, created the Resource Family Care Act. This new law establishes common-sense measures to ensure that foster parents get the support necessary to provide a nurturing, healthy home environment for the children in their care. Representative Hickernell’s legislation is being used as a model by foster parent organizations throughout the country.
During his third term in 2008, House Bill 420 (Act 99 of 2008) became his seventh piece of legislation to be signed into law. This legislation expands Pennsylvania’s Main Street Program to include the improvement of residential property facades in downtown areas.
In 2012, Hickernell spearheaded a multi-bill package of agriculture legislation updating Pennsylvania’s transportation laws to reflect modern agricultural practices and the size of today’s farming equipment, which was signed into law by the governor.
Hickernell has been appointed to four standing House committees for the 2013-14 legislative session: Agriculture and Rural Affairs, Professional Licensure, Insurance, and Transportation.
In 2013, Hickernell was again selected by Majority Whip Stan Saylor to serve a second term as Chief Deputy Majority Whip. As chief deputy whip, Hickernell will serve as Saylor’s primary assistant and will work with Saylor and his deputy whips to unify the party, build support for policy initiatives, educate House members and answer questions about policy. If Saylor is not on the House floor, Hickernell will serve as whip in his absence.
Prior to his election to the House, Hickernell served as Lancaster County’s Clerk of Courts from January of 2000 to November of 2002. During his tenure in the Clerk of Courts Office, he instituted several positive reforms that made criminal court records more accessible and open to the public. Foremost among his accomplishments was resolving a long-standing problem with the disbursement of fines, which freed up $2.4 million to be put to work for taxpayers.
Hickernell has been active in his community both politically and civically. He was elected to the Republican Committee of Lancaster County as a Committeeman in 1990, serving in that capacity through 1994 and again from 1996 to the present. Hickernell served as area chairman of the Elizabethtown Republican Committee from 1992 to 1994 and again from 1998 to 2000.
Hickernell is a member of the Elizabethtown Rotary Club and the Elizabethtown Grange. Dave and his family are members of St. Peter’s Catholic Church in Elizabethtown, where he has served in various leadership positions, including president of the Church council.
A 1977 graduate of Donegal High School, and 1983 graduate of Elizabethtown College, Hickernell resides in West Donegal Township with his wife, Karen, and daughter, Jessica, who is a graduate of Quinnipiac University.
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