Democratic incumbent Robert Matzie and Republican challenger Kathleen Coder both offer reasons for claiming to be the best choice to serve residents of the 16th House District.
Kathleen Coder, 53, of Bellevue, served four years as Bellevue Council president. She is also the founder of Inta-Great, a company that serves as a catalyst for leadership development among private companies, churches, nonprofit organizations and schools.
How will you make a difference?
Matzie said he has put people before politics as a state representative, and his experience has proved to be invaluable, particularly when navigating the legislative process.
If re-elected, Matzie said he would build on that experience to continue fighting for adequate funding for schools, supporting policies that affect the district's communities and building on efforts for strong economic development initiatives.
“I will continue to provide top-notch constituent service in my district and continue to stand up and be a voice for our seniors and the most vulnerable,” Matzie said.
Coder said voters will have to ask themselves two fundamental questions on this Election Day: Are you satisfied with the failed policies of higher taxes, more spending, and protecting the status quo? Or do you want fresh ideas, real-world experience, and courageous leaders with a vision who will work with both parties to change Harrisburg and fight for Beaver and Allegheny counties?
"If you are interested in change, then I’m your candidate,” Coder said.
What are the issues you see as most important?
Coder said it’s crucial to reducing spending on many fronts.
“Cuts need to start at the top—I think we, as elected officials, need to role model what we want others to do. It needs to start with more accountability for legislators.”
Coder said she would not take a state pension and will report her expenses and receipts for per diem payments.
She also said she wants to look for ways to bring businesses into Pennsylvania and make the state more attractive for employers to move here and create jobs. She would help accomplish this by reducing corporate and business taxes.
Coder said the state needs a plan to overhaul the property tax and assessment process, as well as education.
“The current model is not working and is not sustainable,” she said.
Matzie said he will continue his support for community and economic development within the district; increasing funding for education to ensure that students from pre-kindergarten through college obtain the best possible education; and work to solve transportation challenges including adequate funding for mass transit.
Matzie said he also plans to continue to work toward ensuring growth to support the region's emerging energy sector, particular in regards to natural gas drilling, without sacrificing the environment.
“I am on record as supporting responsible drilling, but also supporting efforts to strike a balance to protect clean water and clean air," he said.
"I believe Pennsylvania can have the benefits of both development of natural gas, which means jobs and policies that allow for local input.”