Pennsylvania Commission Gets Two New Members

Two new members were recently appointed to the Pennsylvania State Racing Commission by Gov. Ed Rendell, replacing one whose term had expired and another who resigned.

Rendell appointed F. Eugene Dixon Jr., former Commission chairman, to once again serve as chairman, replacing Cuyler H. Walker, who resigned. Rendell also appointed Lawrence J. Kent, a businessman who lives in Montgomery County, Pa., to replace Paul D. Mills, whose term expired. Both Dixon and Kent will serve three-year terms on the panel. The candidates were confirmed by the state Senate and will attend their first Commission meeting on July 23.

Dixon and Kent join Richard Abbott, a horse breeder from Chester County who was appointed by former Gov. Ridge seven years ago. Abbott and his wife, Dixie, run Charlton Bloodstock, which is a breeding farm near Cochranville.

Dixon, 80, whose uncle was the late George Widener, is a philanthropist and a longtime state racing and education official, who served from 1986 to 1997 as Commission chairman. He was also a former part-owner of the Philadelphia Phillies.

In an interview with the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Kent, 57, said: "There are some huge issues (facing the Commission) regarding awarding new licenses."

The slot machine issue "is a big issue for the entire state, and has impacts on the governor's tax plan," he told the paper. "I am interested in seeing this commission be beneficial for the entire state."