Rep. Russ Fairchild was born in Sunbury and graduated from Lewisburg High School and Penn State University, Mont Alto campus. After college, he served in the U.S. Army and in Vietnam as an infantry platoon leader. In 1969 he returned home and started a heavy construction business with his brother in Winfield. He served as president of the company until 1988 when he was elected to the Pennsylvania House of Representatives. The House of Representatives Leadership has cited him for his perfect session attendance from the time he was first elected in 1988 to present.
Russ is a recipient of the Bronze Star and other combat citations for his Vietnam service. As a member of the American Legion, an honorary member of the Military Order of Purple Heart, a lifetime member of the VFW and the Veterans of the Vietnam War, Russ is a strong advocate for Pennsylvania’s veterans. In 2001, he authored a law that created a new criminal offense for selling or attempting to sell markers taken from the graves of veterans.
Russ serves as the Majority Chairman of the Intergovernmental Affairs Committee and is a member of the Majority Policy Committee. He recently authored a new law, Act 69 of 2005, that makes it illegal to take voyeuristic or “upskirting” photos and post them on the Internet.
He also gives high priority to firefighters’ issues. A lifetime member of the Union Township Fire Company, Russ knows first-hand about the concerns and needs of these very important volunteers.
Russ chaired the bipartisan Mental Health/Mental Retardation Task Force, which studied issues dealing with persons with disabilities. In 2002, he steered through the legislative process a measure to grant the Commonwealth more flexibility in allowing state agencies to choose from a wider variety of products made by persons with disabilities. For his efforts, he was awarded the Legislator of the Year award by the Pennsylvania Industries for the Blind and Handicapped (PIBH).
As Union County’s representative on the Penn Valley Airport Authority and as a pilot and member of the Aircraft Owners and Pilot Association, he gives his full attention to the community’s aviation issues. He serves as a major in the Pennsylvania Civil Air Patrol.
Russ has served as chairman of the bipartisan Chesapeake Bay Commission, which is a tri-state legislative commission created in 1980 to advise the members of the General Assemblies of Maryland, Virginia, and Pennsylvania on matters of bay-wide concern. It is involved in cleaning up pollution, restoring habitats and protecting fish and wildlife, not only in the bay itself, but just as important, in the Pennsylvania rivers and tributaries which feed the Chesapeake.
Russ was again appointed by the Speaker of the House to continue his work on the Chesapeake Bay Commission and chairs the Susquehanna River Legislative Caucus. As a sportsman, Russ is strongly committed to the clean up of the bay and the ecology of the Susquehanna and its many tributaries. He belongs to many local, state and national groups attesting to his commitment to preserving and protecting the environment.
Russ is a man of action and demonstrates his commitment to representing the people of the district. On the local level, Russ belongs to many civic and community organizations.
Russ and his wife, Carol, live in East Buffalo Township, outside of Lewisburg. They are both Penn State graduates; his wife works as an elementary teacher in the Selinsgrove School District. His hobbies include hunting, fishing and sailing on the Chesapeake Bay and the Atlantic Ocean.