Candidates seek state House seats
Incumbent Kampf faces van Mol in 157th
A three-term state representative will square off against a political newcomer looking to make changes in Harrisburg this November.
Incumbent Republican Rep. Warren Kampf is in his fourth race facing Democratic challenger Hans van Mol for the 157th House District seat.
Other than a two-year stint by Democrat Paul Drucker stretching from 2009 and 2010, the 157th has been a Republican district from its establishment in 1969. Kampf, 49, a former prosecutor in Philadelphia and York counties, took the seat away from Drucker in 2010 and has held it since.
He currently serves on the appropriations, liquor control, consumer affairs, and insurance committees and was named co-chairman of the House Life Science Caucus. While the Tredyffrin resident works full time in Harrisburg, he’s also an attorney with the law firm White and Williams.
Meanwhile, as the youngest candidate seeking office in the region, van Mol, 27, also from Tredyffrin, hopes to bring a youthful, millennial spirit to Harrisburg. He currently teaches music part time and is an inventory manager for J.W. Pepper, the world’s largest music distribution company.
The 157th District includes Tredyffrin and Schuylkill, sections of Upper Providence and most of Phoenixville.
The two candidates both agreed more could be done to better fund education but had differing opinions about what other issues would be their priorities.
Kampf focused on improving the job sector, making education funding fairer and state government more efficient.
“Fundamentally I’m running because I like serving our community in Harrisburg and in the district,” Kampf said. “I’m a big supporter of the job sector in our region and the state. There’s more work to be done to support our job sector and the way to the future is through job growth and entrepreneurship.”
He’d also continue to work on the state’s fiscal situation. During his time in office, Kampf said he was proud of the work done to avoid increasing sales and income taxes.
“I also think the support I gave to the bipartisan budget which added $1.5 billion to the state budget was good for schools, the Department of Human Services and for taxpayers. Those issues will continue. We continue to face fiscal challenges. I support anything to help the job sector.”
For van Mol, it was witnessing the challenges local schools faced because of the 10-monthlong 201516 state budget impasse that convinced him to run for office. Despite the 201617 budget approval coming much faster than its predecessor, the partisan gridlock was evidence enough he needed to step up.
“How much dysfunction is there? What’s going to happen next year?” he said. “It’s time we cut through the matter, end the dysfunction and get back to working together.”
As a young candidate, he said he will provide a fresh perspective on the issues of the day.
“I’m a person who knows how to work together,” he said. “I don’t focus on our differences, I focus on commonality. It comes from a millennial background. If I go to the table with 10 ideas and come out with five, that’s progress.”
Van Mol said in addition to full and fair funding for schools, he’d also support new, clean renewable energies, the preservation of open spaces and waterways, equal rights policies for workers and making voting registration easier.
“I’d like to see automatic registration,” he said. “Make it opt out instead of opt in like we currently have it. It should be open to all.”
Hans van Mol