Rzucidlo, Roe set to square off in 158th
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.
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.
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.”
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.
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.
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.