Lewis, Maxwell face off again in 74th

Daily Local News (West Chester, PA) - - FRONT PAGE - By Gin­ger Rae Dun­bar gdun­bar@21st-cen­tu­ry­media.com @GingerDun­bar on Twit­ter

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.

Drug is­sues

“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

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