Lewis, Maxwell face off again in 74th
Downingtown Mayor Josh Maxwell and state Rep. Harry Lewis Jr. are facing off again in the 74th Legislative District race in November.
The 74th District encompasses Caln, Coatesville, Downingtown, East Caln, East Fallowfield, Modena, Parkesburg, South Coatesville, Sadsbury and Valley. The 74th District was created in 2013 as the newest legislative district in Chester County, added because of increases in county population.
“As a lifelong community leader in the Coatesville area, I am uniquely positioned to be a voice for my constituents in Harrisburg,” said Lewis, 75, of Caln. “I am actively working to bring the community together for a stronger, brighter future as a leader for education, revitalization, family sustaining jobs and opportunities
for new business ventures.”
Republican Lewis was elected as state representative in 2015, after he defeated Maxwell, 33, of Downingtown, in the general election. Democrat Maxwell defeated Caln Commissioner Joshua Young, a Democrat, in the primary election in 2014.
“I would like to make sure every child in the Coatesville, Downingtown and Octorara School Districts has the opportunity for pre-K,” Maxwell said, “build out the Coatesville, Downingtown, and Parkesburg train stations in a way that brings long-term economic growth to those areas and preserve the open space that makes Chester County beautiful.”
Coatesville Area School District
With the media reports during the past two years of fighting and other incidents at the Coatesville high school, both candidates held several forums with school district leaders, church leaders, law enforcement, the community and others to address this matter.
Lewis said in response to the community forum he established an advisory committee of experienced teachers, school administrators and community leaders to meet regularly to provide expert advice and develop recommendations to bring to the Coatesville area school board to help improve school safety, and disciplinary procedures, similar to what school district officials have done this academic year, in addition to adding and updating its security cameras and hiring more security personnel in the high school. Lewis spent more than 40 years with the Coatesville Area School District as a student, teacher, coach, and high school principal.
Maxwell plans to establish his office in Coatesville, if elected, to be closer to Coatesville teachers, students and parents. Lewis has district offices in Downingtown and Parkesburg.
“I’ll immediately coordinate a meeting between law enforcement, parents, teachers and students to figure out where the problems are and find solutions,” Maxwell added.
State funding for education
“During my first term, I sponsored legislation that would ensure the continuity of education for children in foster care,” Lewis said.
Maxwell said his votes will align with the shared goals for the district.
“I believe in a coordinated approach. The state needs to meets its funding obligation, but we also need to work locally on finding funding streams for pre-K and technology grants for students,” Maxwell said. “I will fight for the funding our students need, but also work locally to give our children the resources they give them the best opportunity to be successful.”
Lewis said he is proud that he voted for budgets that increase state funding for basic education to record-levels including.
“We need to treat drug addiction as a disease instead of forcing children into the legal system,” Maxwell said. “The Downingtown Police Department has ramped up training for drug enforcement so we get the dealer as soon as possible and worked with families so that people with the disease of addiction get the help they need.”
Lewis said he and his colleagues passed the following legislation that included millions in funding: House Bill 1698, awaiting approval by the Senate, it would require insurance plans to cover abuse-deterrent opioid analgesic drugs; and House Bill 1737, awaiting approval by the Senate, which allows drug companies to destroy pharmaceuticals through wasteto-energy facilities to ensure the safety of drinking water and prevent further unintended access to medication.
There will be a debate between Lewis and Maxwell this Saturday at noon at the Coatesville Senior Center at 250 Harmony St. in Coatesville.
Visit Daily Local News staff writer Ginger Rae Dunbar’s blog about journalism and volunteering as a firefighter at FirefighterGinger.blogspot.com.
State Rep. Harry Lewis Jr.
Downingtown Mayor Josh Maxwell