Boling challenges Murt for 152nd state House seat
Incumbent Republican Thomas Murt is being challenged by Democrat Daryl Boling to represent the state’s 152nd House Legislative District.
The 152nd includes all of Bryn Athyn and Hatboro boroughs; all of Lower Moreland and Upper Moreland townships; and part of Upper Dublin Township.
Both candidates were asked the following questions, and below are their answers.
DESCRIBE YOUR BACKGROUND, AND WHY YOU ARE RUNNING.
I am the chief operating officer of an arts management company. Previously I served in the same position for the successful rebirth of the Bucks County Playhouse.
It is time for the country and our state to deal with the great problems of our time: education, gun safety, infrastructure and equality; in each respect, we are not doing well for our citizens.
WHAT MAKES YOUR BACKGROUND AND EXPERIENCE DIFFERENT FROM YOUR OPPONENT?
Experience in the private sector, both nonprofits and now a for-profit, dealing directly with personnel management and budgets for twenty years.
WHICH MAIN ISSUES HAVE BEEN RAISED THE MOST BY RESIDENTS? YOUR POSITION OR VIEWS ON THOSE?
Education funding — property taxes for schools — we need to end the lucrative system for cyber charter school operators and limit use of property taxes to fund local schools.
College tuition — Our state-owned university system has skyrocketed in cost compared to personal income, while having thousands of empty seats, particularly in the western and northern parts of the state where population growth is non-existent. As we age and see our prospective teacher population drop, we have to fix that system and increase affordability now.
Clean drinking water — The handling of the water pollution from Willow Grove Naval Air Station has been a fiasco. This has been a failure in governmental leadership for a decade. Waiting until an ignored problem hits the headlines is terrible government. Effective management means that government should assume responsibility under our state’s Environmental Rights Amendment. Our Legislature has chosen to ignore the costs of compliance and look the other way at the environmental costs of the very land uses that it encourages.
Gun safety — There is a real threat to our children, our public safety personnel and the safety of all citizens caused by the ready accessibility of lethal weapons. We need to require the very type of background investigations used in New Jersey for decades, end access to high capacity magazines and the weapons that use Daryl Boling Thomas Murt
them, among other things. Our Legislature, under the NRA’s thumb, wouldn’t even pass a “red flag” law.
Threats to women’s equality — Both the Trump Administration and our incumbent state representative stand ready to ban abortion even in instances of rape or incest. Like President Trump, our Legislature, including our incumbent state representative, has ignored the #MeToo movement. It is time to respect women!
HOW WOULD YOU HANDLE OR ADDRESS THE STATE’S ONGOING BUDGET ISSUES?
The state fails to fund education properly. Our over-reliance on property taxes disadvantages all, but particularly seniors, veterans and those with special needs. I support a constitutional amendment to mandate reducing their tax burden. Those who have benefited from the tremendous break to the top 1 percent under the Trump tax plan should bear the cost of helping our most burdened citizens and those who have served us honorably.
The state’s infrastructure suffers from neglect in roads, traffic congestion and underfunded mass transit. We need to toll truck traffic on Interstate 80 and undertake similar measures to get revenue from those that place the greatest stress on our highways.
Only when the state becomes more competitive in this area will it be able to meet its budgetary needs and pension obligations without borrowing massive sums.
This will also require finding funding sources that do not impact the middle class. Our middle class deserves lower taxes, but our present system of taxation pretends that middle class taxpayers should bear the same tax rates as multimillionaires. That is ridiculous.
DO YOU SEE THE NATIONAL POLITICAL CLIMATE IMPACTING YOUR LOCAL RACE? IF SO, WHY OR WHY NOT?
The divisiveness, lack of respect for women and minorities of all types and calls for nationalism are reminiscent of even darker times in our national history. Many are rightfully concerned for the future of our country. They want local voices willing to speak out against these dark trends. Our incumbent has failed to do. I will not hesitate to speak out to challenge this ugliness.
Editor’s note: Murt did not respond by press time to multiple requests to answer the same questions.
According to a biography on his campaign website, Murt has represented the 152nd District since 2007. He was born and raised in Hatboro, graduated with a B.S. degree in economics from Penn State University and a M.A. in education from La Salle University and earned a doctorate in education from Temple University in 2018.
Murt served for 10 years as a township commissioner and four years as a school board director in Upper Moreland Township, where he helped found a township historical association and trail project, initiated volunteer programs to help around the holidays and helped organize care packages for those in need. Murt retired with the rank of staff sergeant after an Army career that lasted from 1991 to 2008 and is in the U.S. Army Retired Reserves after a deployment to Iraq for 14 months starting in April 2003.