PA Elected Officials Cross State And Party Lines After Katrina

Bill Keller and Tom Tigue are used to working together on the " house floor" but it's usually the floor of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives and not the inside a Biloxi home damaged in Hurricane Katrina.

Rep. Tom Tigue said "Government can do so much and after that it takes people. It takes a lot of people. Looking around here I mean there's groups from all over. That's the only way this is going to done."

Curt Sonney represents Erie County. Still in his first term, he says the trip has allowed him to get to know other elected officials.

"I only see the other representatives when I'm in Harrisburg," said Sonney. "So I've made new friends just from the House of Representatives that I really hadn't been friends with before."

Since Sonney is a former general contractor, the two Democrats agreed to let the Republican take the lead.

"We have two democrats and one Republican," said Keller. "Curt is doing a great job for Republicans so he's in charge. He's a builder. We're taking all the Republican's orders while we're down here."

The representatives and their staffers say working together in a place where political ideologies don't matter nearly as much as compassion for people shows them they can work together as a team.

Keller said "To socialize is very important I think with any legislators. You get to see each other in a different light and you're not on either side of a subject. That you're down here with one common purpose, I think that always helps."

"You get to know people in situations like this," said Tigue.

Curt Sonney agreed. "We might have some differences on the House floor but other than that we're all very good friends."

The representatives say they are proud of how many of their staff volunteered to come down and help this week.