Stephens faces chal­lenger Sylianteng in race for 151st

The Ambler Gazette - - LETTERS - By Eric Devlin

Repub­li­can in­cum­bent Todd Stephens faces Demo­cratic chal­lenger Will Sylianteng for the 151st ieg­isla­tive Dis­trict of the Penn­syl­va­nia eouse of Rep­re­sen­ta­tives.

Stephens, still in his fresh­man term in the eouse and rep­re­sent­ing the dis­trict since 2011, said he is the best can­di­date for the po­si­tion be­cause hav­ing been born and raised in the community, he un­der­stands the im­por­tant is­sues that the area faces. ee said he also de­serves to be re-elected be­cause of his per­sis­tence, in­de­pen­dence and will­ing­ness to stand up for his con­stituents on is­sues that mat­ter to them.

The big­gest is­sue Stephens said the ieg­is­la­ture faces in the up­com­ing term is the econ­omy.

ft’s “all about jobs, we’ve got to get peo­ple back to work,” he said. By solv­ing the eco­nomic is­sues fac­ing the community, Stephens said he thinks that will solve a num­ber of other preva­lent is­sues.

The 41-year-old

eor­sham Town­ship res­i­dent said the ieg­is­la­ture needs to continue to meet its obli­ga­tions with­out rais­ing taxes and said that pen­sLRns SRsH D sLgnL­fiFDnW threat to the state bud­get.

The for­mer Mont­gomery County As­sis­tant Dis­trict At­tor­ney also said trans­porta­tion fund­ing is an is­sue. Roads and bridges are in “alarm­ingly bad shape,” he said, and the dis­trict’s in­fra­struc­ture needs to be ad­dressed.

A pet project Stephens said he’d like to work out would be chang­ing the ed­u­ca­tion fund­ing for­mula in the state. ee said the cur­rent for­mula is “com­pletely un­fair to my lo­cal schools.”

ee said the state con­trib­utes “such a small per­cent­age to ed­u­cate students” and prop­erty taxes pick up the dif­fer­ence. Cur­rently, the state pays about 15 per­cent of school fund­ing, Stephens said, while prop­erty taxes pay the other 85 per­cent. ee said in other parts of the state, it’s the op­po­site. ee said the fund­ing for­mula needs to be changed to some­thing more equitable, “so it treats com­mon­wealth students equally.”

Stephens re­it­er­ated his abil­ity to work across the aisle and the com­mon­wealth, hav­ing passed 10 pieces of leg­is­la­tion in the eouse and three into law, as ev­i­dence of his com­mit­ment to hard work and get­ting re­sults for his con­stituency.

Sylianteng said he’s the best can­di­date be­cause by look­ing at ear­ris­burg to­day, along with his op­po­nent’s vot­ing record, it shows a clear sign that good pub­lic schools aren’t a top pri­or­ity, and the en­vi­ron­ment isn’t even on the radar. eow­ever, they would be his fo­cus along with pro­mot­ing jobs.

“f’m the only can­di­date whose gRLng WR fighW WR FRUUHFW WhH fund­ing mis­takes with re­spect to the pub­lic ed­u­ca­tion bud­get,” Sylianteng said.

The 34-year-old Mont­gomery Town­ship res­i­dent said he would fighW IRU sDIH DnG UHsSRn­sLblH frack­ing in or­der to pro­tect the en­vi­ron­ment, and frack­ing com­pa­nies should pay their fair share.

A lawyer with the law fiUP BHn­nHW, BULFk­lLn and Saltzburg, Sylianteng said the ieg­is­la­ture’s big­gest chal­lenge would be to continue mov­ing gov­ern­ment for­ward dur­ing chal­leng­ing eco­nomic times. ee also said the fate of pub­lic ed­u­ca­tion in the com­mon­wealth will be a chal­lenge.

ee said he thinks there are cur­rently two schools of thought on the is­sue of pub­lic ed­u­ca­tion. ThH fiUsW gU­RuS bHlLHvHs WhDW pub­lic ed­u­ca­tion isn’t nec­es­sary and we should move to­ward pri­va­ti­za­tion. The sec­ond group be­lieves pub­lic ed­u­ca­tion is vi­tal for democ­racy and our chil­dren, which is what Sylianteng stands for.

Along the same vein, Sylianteng pro­posed hav­ing the state ac­cept a greater re­spon­si­bil­ity for pay­ing for schools to lower prop­erty taxes in the dis­trict.

The en­vi­ron­ment would also be a key is­sue mov­ing for­ward, Sylianteng said. With new tech­nol­ogy com­ing into play and an ex­pand­ing num­ber of en­ergy re­sources such as nat­u­ral gas, wind and so­lar en­ergy, he said the ieg­is­la­ture needs WR GHFLGH hRw WR bHnH­fiW from those re­sources in a re­spon­si­ble and safe man­ner.

eis per­sonal pri­or­ity would be job cre­ation, not­ing bridges and roads need re­pairs and those jobs can’t be out­sourced.

“ThDW bULGgH FDn’W bH fixHG out­side of Penn­syl­va­nia,” Sylianteng said, adding that Penn­syl­va­nia work­ers need to be the RnHs fixLng WhHP.

ee said he’s the only can­di­date with pri­vate sec­tor ex­pe­ri­ence and doesn’t be­lieve gov­ern­ment and pri­vate cor­po­ra­tions need to buWW hHDGs buW UDWhHU finG FRP­mon ground.

The 151st dis­trict rep­re­sents Ambler Bor­ough and parts of Abing­ton, eor­sham, iower Gwynedd, Mont­gomery and Up­per Dublin town­ships.

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