Rzu­cidlo, Roe set to square off in 158th

Daily Local News (West Chester, PA) - - FRONT PAGE - By Fran Maye fmaye@21st-cen­tu­ry­media.com @ken­nettpa­per on Twit­ter

EAST MARLBOROUGH >> Vot­ers in the 158th leg­isla­tive dis­trict will be choos­ing a new rep­re­sen­ta­tive — ei­ther Demo­crat Su­san Rzu­cidlo or Repub­li­can Eric Roe — on Nov. 8. State Rep. Chris Ross, 64, who has held the seat for the past 20 years, is not seek­ing re­elec­tion.

Rzu­cidlo, of New Gar­den, has chal­lenged Ross for the seat un­suc­cess­fully in the past three elec­tions. Roe, of West Goshen, the son of a pop­u­lar QVC host, is run­ning for the first time. The 158th House Dis­trict is com­prised of Lon­don Bri­tain, New Gar­den, East Marlborough, West Marlborough, Newlin, East Brad­ford,

West Brad­ford, parts of West Goshen and Avon­dale.

Roe, 28, is a self-de­scribed Rea­gan Repub­li­can. He holds a de­gree from Amer­i­can Univer­sity in Washington, D.C., where he stud­ied po­lit­i­cal sci­ence as an un­der­grad­u­ate. He is cur­rently the ad­min­is­tra­tive as­sis­tant to County Com­mis­sioner Michelle Kich­line. He is on the board of di­rec­tors of the Do­mes­tic Vi­o­lence Cen­ter of Ch­ester County and vol­un­teers as a Ci­ti­zen­ship Teacher for La Co­mu­nidad His­pana as well as a vol­un­teer for Ch­ester County Women’s Ser­vices. He is flu­ent in Span­ish and French.

Rzu­cidlo, 53, is a small busi­ness owner and founder and direc­tor of SPEAK Un­lim­ited Inc., a non­profit or­ga­ni­za­tion rec­og­nized na­tion­ally for con­cep­tu­al­iz­ing and im­ple­ment­ing first re­spon­der com­mu­ni­ca­tion tools and dis­abil­ity sup­port pro­grams such as the state Premise Alert sys­tem, Op­er­a­tion Com­mu­ni­ca­tion Boards, and in­for­ma­tion and re­source guides.

Roe’s top three leg­isla­tive pri­or­i­ties are pushing prop­erty tax re­form and pen­sion re­form, strength­en­ing ed­u­ca­tion, and help­ing job cre­ators

grow the econ­omy. Rzu­cidlo’s top three leg­isla­tive pri­or­i­ties are main­tain­ing qual­ity pub­lic ed­u­ca­tion, re­duc­ing taxes and pro­tect­ing the en­vi­ron­ment and open spa­ces.

Ed­u­ca­tion

On ed­u­ca­tion, Rzu­cidlo said she would like to end the Key­stone Grad­u­a­tion Ex­ams man­date, and re­duce the use of high-stakes stan­dard­ized tests. She said col­lege prep stu­dents should be pre­pared for col­lege so they don’t have an added year of tu­ition, ca­reer and tech­ni­cal ed­u­ca­tion should be em­braced, and said the state needs to in­crease men­tor­ing op­por­tu­ni­ties for novice teach­ers and en­sure qual­ity teacher train­ing pro­grams.

Roe said he sup­ports fully fund­ing the state’s pub­lic schools. In ad­di­tion, Roe said he fa­vors end­ing the prac­tice of us­ing ten­ure as the sole de­ter­min­ing fac­tor in em­ploy­ment de­ci­sions in pub­lic schools and ef­forts must be made to en­sure the most qual­i­fied and ef­fec­tive teach­ers are work­ing the class­rooms.

Tax re­form

On tax re­form, Rzu­cidlo said tax money must be uti­lized in a way that is trans­par­ent, re­spon­si­ble and rea­son­able. And elected of­fi­cials should be con­sci­en­tious and thrifty stew­ards when tax money is spent.

“I pro­pose elim­i­nat­ing in­ter­nal fraud, waste, and abuse as a way of re­duc­ing gov­ern­ment ex­pen­di­tures,” she said. “We must also im­ple­ment spe­cific tax changes that could pro­vide sub­stan­tial relief to our cit­i­zens. For ex­am­ple, Penn­syl­va­nia tax­pay­ers would ben­e­fit from the im­ple­men­ta­tion of a nat­u­ral gas sev­er­ance tax. We are cur­rently the only nat­u­ral gas state that does not at­tach a tax to the col­lec­tion of nat­u­ral gas. Our elected lead­ers refuse its im­ple­men­ta­tion, since it would neg­a­tively im­pact some of their largest cam­paign con­trib­u­tors.”

Rzu­cidlo said Penn­syl­va­nia would ben­e­fit from the ag­gres­sive re­cruit­ment of new busi­nesses and in­dus­try. She also wants to close ex­ist­ing loop­holes that al­low for pub­lic sub­si­diz­ing of cor­po­ra­tions without of­fer­ing any pub­lic ben­e­fit.

Roe said the state is in dire need of tax and pen­sion re­form. He wants to get all new state em­ploy­ees into a de­fined con­tri­bu­tion 401(k) or 403(b) re­tire­ment plan, much like the pri­vate sec­tor has been do­ing for years.

“Let me be clear, if we have made a pen­sion prom­ise to any state em­ploy­ees, in­clud­ing teach­ers, we must keep that prom­ise,” he said. “How­ever, we must stop mak­ing pen­sion prom­ises we can no longer keep.”

Roe said tax re­form starts with the state liv­ing within its means. He also said when lo­cal busi­nesses thrive, prop­erty taxes dive.

“Small busi­ness own­ers are the risk tak­ers and job cre­ators of our com­mu­nity,” Roe said. “I will work

hard to get Har­ris­burg’s bu­reau­crats off the backs of our small busi­ness own­ers, so they can keep hir­ing our tal­ented work­ers in Ch­ester County and con­tinue to grow our econ­omy. I will sup­port le­gal reforms that bring fair­ness, bal­ance and com­mon sense to the jus­tice sys­tem.”

Open space

Roe said he is a big ad­vo­cate of keep­ing the nat­u­ral beauty of Ch­ester County land­scapes. He said he will “strongly pro­mote Growing Greener III, an en­vi­ron­men­tal stew­ard­ship fund whose mis­sion is to pro­mote and ad­vo­cate for the con­ser­va­tion, pro­tec­tion and restora­tion of land, wa­ter and wildlife.” In ad­di­tion, he will sup­port “Clean and Green” leg­is­la­tion.

Rzu­cidlo, who earned the en­dorse­ment of the Penn­syl­va­nia Sierra Club, the Con­ser­va­tion Vot­ers of Penn­syl­va­nia and Clean Wa­ter Ac­tion, said pre­serv­ing open space has al­ways been a top pri­or­ity.

In­fra­struc­ture

Roe, en­dorsed by the Penn­syl­va­nia Cham­ber of Busi­ness and In­dus­try, the Ch­ester County Cham­ber of Busi­ness and In­dus­try and the Na­tional Fed­er­a­tion of In­de­pen­dent Busi­ness, said roads and bridges must be im­proved. He said he “will be a tire­less ad­vo­cate for

re­ceiv­ing our fair share of trans­porta­tion fund­ing. Not only is heavy traf­fic and con­ges­tion a nui­sance, but it di­rectly af­fects our qual­ity of life.”

Rzu­cidlo said the leg­is­la­ture has failed to pro­vide for rou­tine main­te­nance of roads, and it costs tax­pay­ers money. She also said the leg­is­la­ture must en­sure all work is done on time, hire only qual­i­fied con­trac­tors, stop the “pay to play” con­tracts, col­lab­o­rate with the fed­eral gov­ern­ment to lever­age money to im­prove roads and bridges, and make sure all ex­pen­di­tures are trans­par­ent and eth­i­cal.

Other is­sues

Rzu­cidlo is not a pro­po­nent of pri­va­tiz­ing the state Liquor Con­trol Board, and wants to see uni­ver­sal back­ground checks for ev­ery gun sale in Penn­syl­va­nia. She said women must have easy ac­cess to health care, and be­lieves all forms of le­gal dis­crim­i­na­tion should be abol­ished. She wants full trans­parency and wants to put an end to the prac­tice of leg­is­la­tors re­ceiv­ing gifts from lob­by­ists.

Roe would like to strengthen cur­rent state law to en­sure equal pay for women, sup­ports ef­forts to ex­pand health care ac­cess to fam­i­lies, and sup­ports leg­is­la­tion to keep fam­i­lies safe.

Eric Roe

Su­san Rzu­cidlo

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