The upcoming primary election on May 17 will be the first under the new Pennsylvania House District 8, which includes parts of Lawrence and Butler counties.
Three candidates are running for the Republican nomination, while there are no registered candidates on the Democratic side, meaning the winner of the primary election is likely to be the winner of the Nov. 8 general election.
More: Who is running in the 2022 Lawrence County midterm primary?
The three Republican candidates include incumbent Aaron Bernstine, New Beaver; Eric DiTullio, Lancaster Township; and John L. Kennedy, Township of Middlesex.
In Lawrence County, the district includes the townships of Little Beaver, Perry, Plain Grove, Scott, Slippery Rock, Washington, and Wayne, and the boroughs of Ellport, Ellwood City (part of Lawrence County), Enon Valley, New Beaver, Volant and Wampum. .
In Butler County, the district includes the townships of Brady, Center, Clay, Connoquenessing, Forward, Franklin, Lancaster, Middlesex, Muddycreek, Penn and Worth, and the boroughs of Connoquenessing, Portersville, Prospect, West Liberty and West Sunbury.
More: Election 2022: Your guide to Pennsylvania’s leading candidates
Bernstine is seeking his fourth term, winning the 2016 election for the first time and re-elected in 2018 and 2020.
He said he was grateful for the support of his constituents, or his “bosses”, over the past five years, and said that during that time he had worked to meet the needs of voters, recruit businesses to create jobs in the area and pass legislation to improve the community and protect the constitutional rights of all Pennsylvanians.
“Over the past five years, I have remained focused on three main areas: voter services, common sense legislation and improving economic development,” Bernstine said. “We will continue to develop these efforts over our next two years in office.”
Bernstine said the reliance on property taxes to fund schools is a problem that needs to be addressed and seeks to address that problem, saying he favors the state moving to a levy system like the Ohio, which allows taxpayers to vote for or against any property. tax hike.
Bernstine also said he was a strong advocate for lowering taxes to help the state become more economically competitive, that he was against the state joining the Regional Gas Initiative greenhouse (RGGI) and that he believed that the way to create a sound environment for economic development was cheap, abundant and reliable energy, and wanted local governments to cooperate together.
John L. Kennedy
Kennedy has served on the Mars Area School Board for 12 years and is in his third year as board chairman. He has also worked with the Mars Planet Foundation, the Butler County Area Vocational and Technical School, and other committee assignments.
He is a farmer and owner of two small businesses: a landbird hunting preserve for almost 30 years and a retail meat cooperative for over 20 years.
Kennedy said if elected, he would bring his core conservative principles to Harrisburg, such as being pro-life, a “fierce” defender of the Second Amendment, supporting medical freedom, fighting government mandates, promoting the environmental stewardship through land preservation and defending local interests. , natural resources, fossil fuels.
He said he would prefer to see local control rather than state-mandated control, as with local government, school districts and businesses, saying he would prefer to see a smaller form of state government generally.
Kennedy said he wanted to be a supporter and voice for the district, stating he wanted to support both types of areas – suburban areas, as well as rural and agricultural areas that have farming and mining industries.
“I am there for them, the people of the community. I’m here to help solve the problems,” Kennedy said. “I’m here to support them, to be with them in the community.”
DiTullio said if elected his top priority would be to look after the fiscal health of the Commonwealth, which he says has not been done.
“We need a long-term, apolitical plan to manage Commonwealth income and expenditure that is a multi-year/multi-decade approach,” he said.
DiTullio served 12 years on the Seneca Valley School Board, four years on the Butler County Vocational and Technical School Joint Operating Committee, four years on the Midwest Intermediate Unit IV Board, and four years on the Pension System of public school employees.
“I have successfully used consensus instead of compromise to get results, and I will use those skills to bring about positive change in Harrisburg,” he said.
DiTullio believes that school districts should have the flexibility to adjust taxes in the best way for their district, appropriate funding and long-term planning by local governments will help meet infrastructure needs, reduce the tax burden businesses, to increase funding for vocational and technical training, including the expansion of secondary and post-secondary support, the state should not join RGGI and invest in all kinds of energy and manufacturing sources for the economy .
“I support fracking and allow Pennsylvania to use its natural resources for the benefit of the Commonwealth,” he said.
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