Clymer faces challenger Whitesell in 145th District race
Democrat Mary Whitesell is vying for the state representative seat for the 145th District, which Republican Paul Clymer holds now.
Clymer, 75, lives in West Rockhill Township and has been the state representative for the 145th District since 1980. He has lived in the district for more than 50 years. He went to Pennridge High School and Muhlenberg College, served two years in the military and worked as a credit manager at Lankenau Hospital.
Whitesell, 57, was born in Hungary but moved to the United States to escape Hungary’s repressive government; she became a citizen at 18. Whitesell now lives in Springfield Township and has lived within the district for about 30 years.
Whitesell also has 30 years of experience working as a paralegal. Some of her work included preparing multi-department budgets, providing administrative leadership and legal support and working with company personnel throughout the United States and abroad.
Arts, education and the environ- ment are three areas in which Whitesell said she has served her community. She is also the treasurer of the Bucks County Democratic Party.
Both candidates said they believe jobs are the most important issue for the state.
Clymer noted the natural gas drilling in the Marcellus Shale region has created thousands of jobs and sustained people in that area. The drilling has also had an economic impact on other industries in the area, not necessarily related to drilling, according to Clymer.
“It’s a clean source of energy,” Clymer said, also noting that the drilling both creates jobs and allows the country to be less dependent on foreign energy sources. “It’s the best of both worlds.”
Whitesell, on the other hand, is against the natural gas drilling act. She said the act was made before all the facts were made available.
“There are ways to handle it that are environmentally and fiscally responsible,” Whitesell said.
She recognized that there is rev- enue from the drilling, but said she wants to make sure the revenue stays within the district and within the state. She also said she wanted adequate regulation and finances to make sure those regulations are enforced. There is also a need for funding for any residual effects after the drilling, she said.
Like Clymer, Whitesell also said she believed that jobs were a priority. She said that there have been a loss of jobs in the area and that some local businesses have had to move away.
One recent concern of Whitesell’s is a lack of community space for local interactions and communities. She said she wants to work with local municipalities and get the support to create spaces where these interactions between local individuals and businesses can exist, so citizens are not forced to go outside the community.
“If our community dies out, people’s daily lives will suffer,” she said.
She said she also cares about educational needs like adequate funding for school programs. Whitesell said she recognizes that the district’s interests are broad, and she can work with both Democrats and Republicans.
“We need to come up with amicable ways to best serve the people of this district. We need to work together,” Whitesell said. “We need to roll up our sleeves and be a part of the daily things that impact people’s lives.”
In addition to job creation, Clymer said he is also interested in agriculture, the state’s number one industry.
“We need to continue to invest in agriculture and help our farmers,” he said.
Funding for the tourism industry is another priority for Clymer. He said he would like to continue to advertise and encourage tourists to come to the state’s historical landmarks, from Valley Forge to Gettysburg to Independence Hall, and to participate in the state’s fishing, hunting and camping sites.
Some of the bills Clymer said he was proud to pass are the lobby disclosure bill and the right-to-know bill. Both of these bills benefited citizens because they gave insight into how the government works. He also helped to save the nuakertown swamp, “an environmental jewel,” from being developed, said Clymer.
Recently, Clymer sponsored an act that would create a hotline resource for human trafficking — the act had both Republican and Democrat backers.
Clymer notes his 32 years of experience allows him to represent his district well.
“I bring honesty and integrity to the table,” he said, in addition.
He also notes that he is responsible, attending meetings in Harrisburg, holding public hearings and going to local functions.
“There’s nothing more important than the constituents,” Clymer said. “I try to be understanding and compassionate when people come in my office. I listen and care because they are real people with real problems.”
Neither candidate was aware of a scheduled debate between them.