Before Don Pischner was an Idaho state representative, he spread asphalt.
Not poured. Spread. You spread asphalt.
Rep. Pischner, R-Coeur d’Alene, was very clear on that point during this week’s meeting of the House Transportation and Defense committee.
He had two moments in the spotlight, first presenting his construction zone speed limit bill, then giving a half-hour presentation about asphalt.
Committee members, including Rep. Marvin Vandenberg, D-Coeur d’Alene, and Rep. Hilde Kellogg, R-Post Falls, voted unanimously on Wednesday to send Pischner’s first bill back to him for corrections.
The committee agreed with Pischner’s concept, said Rep. Ralph Steele, R-Idaho Falls, but disagreed with the way the bill was worded. Pischner plans to resubmit the legislation to the committee next Thursday.
He said as he began his presentation, “I’m not mad about the legislation. It’s my first time … but I may not talk to any of you again.”
The committee was much more receptive to his presentation about asphalt. Instead of asking questions, the committee members joked about pine trees, dirt roads, and weeds.
“I’m not the know-it-all,” said Pischner, “but I do have experience.”
He showed how roads are made: what kind of rocks and how much tar is used in asphalt, how the paving machines work, and what it’s been like to be a paver.
“In the ‘50s, you saw a dirty, terrible system,” he said. “Now, though, it’s pretty clean and efficient.”
Pischner obviously was comfortable with his subject. He referred to pavers and contractors as “we.” And the stories he told left no doubt he liked his business, and he knew what he was talking about.
Pischner and his crew did have some challenges over the years. They paved the inside of buildings, the inside of holding tanks, and, in 1975, an athletic track for a high school. They used an early form of recycled-tire paving material on the track.
“‘T’ain’t easy,” he said.
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