Local state House races uncontested
Incumbent Republican representatives will face challengers in November
Two longtime incumbent Republicans will face challengers on the Democratic side of the ballot for two local seats in Pennsylvania’s House of Representatives.
Current representative Kate Harper will appear on the Republican ballot oppose Democrat challenger Liz Hanbidge in November to represent the state’s 61st House District, while incumbent Todd Stephens will be opposed by Democrat Sara Johnson Rothman to represent the 151st District.
Liz Hanbidge is a business owner, attorney, child advocate and court-appointed guardian for children, who works with the Montgomery County Child Advocacy Project, police, the county’s Office of Children and Youth, judges and lawyers to help protect families and children, according to her campaign biography.
“I became a child advocate because I fundamentally believe that every child, every person, deserves the opportunity to have a happy, successful and fulfilling life,” she said in a statement on her campaign website.
“Now, I want to extend that role I want to give voice to your needs and your concerns. I want to be your advocate. And, I want to make this county and com-
monwealth a better place to live,” Hanbidge said.
Hanbidge earned her J.D. from the University of Wisconsin and is currently a member of the board of Trustees of Foxcroft School in Middleburg, Virginia, according to her biography, and recently completed a fellowship with the New Leader’s Council, and said she hopes to extend that program into Montgomery County “to help young progressives with their professional development.”
“Everyone deserves the right to be healthy, educated, safe, and have economic opportunities, and I will work to ensure that is the case for the people of Pennsylvania,” she said. “There’s too much at stake right now to allow for complacency, we need to step up, we need to fight, and we need to make Pennsylvania a better place to work and live.”
Harper is an attorney and former Lower Gwynedd supervisor who has represented the 61st District since 2000, and announced another bid for re-election in January.
“Some people run for office to be ‘somebody.’ I have always thought you should run for public office to get things done,” Harper said in her announcement.
In that announcement, Harper cited her support for projects including the expansion of Route 202 between Upper Gwynedd and Doylestown, the widening of the Northeast Extension of the Pennsylvania Turnpike from Plymouth Meeting to Towamencin, and the acquisition and preservation of the Penllyn Woods in Lower Gwynedd as examples of her ability to get things done.
“I reached across the aisle and worked with Governor Ed Rendell to get the state’s Growing Greener II legislation passed,” Harper said, referring to a 2005 state program that allocated $625 million to stream and river cleanup, preservation of open space and natural areas, and funds to protect farms, repair fish hatcheries and dams, and upgrade Pennsylvania Game Commission facilities.
FOR MORE INFORMATION
Hanbidge: Visit www. LizHanbidge.ngpvanhost.com, search for “Liz for PA” on Facebook or follow @ LizforPA on Twitter. Harper: Visit www.KateHarper.net, search for “Elect Kate Harper” on Facebook or follow @Montco061 on Twitter.
New Democrat candidate Sara Johnson Rothman is an attorney specializing in education law, a former Assistant District Attorney in Bucks County, and member of the Upper Dublin School Board, according to her campaign biography. Rothman cites as accomplishments the completion of a new contract with Upper Dublin’s teachers union in 2015, which she helped negotiate, and said in her campaign announcement that she aims to bring that background to the state legislature.
“I believe that the purpose of government is to improve the quality of people’s lives and to ‘give to every human being every right that you claim for yourself.’ But I am worried about the present and the future of our government and our country. America’s greatness is not the result of complacency, but rather a willingness to take risks for a greater purpose,” said Rothman.
“Divisive politics and career politicians have taken the country I love in too many wrong directions. If people who have had opportunity and success aren’t willing to fix it, the direction that we are headed will not change,” she said.
Since starting her campaign, Rothman has called for changes to the state’s education funding formula, said mandatory minimum sentences for drug offenses are less effective than other approaches, and said if elected she would oppose a proposed Senate bill that would allow school personnel to carry firearms.
“No woman has been Governor of Pennsylvania. No woman has been an U.S. Senator from Pennsylvania. None of Pennsylvania’s current 18 Representatives in Congress are women. 82 percent of the Pennsylvania General Assembly are men. No woman has ever represented the 151st District. How can I tell my daughter that she has the same opportunities as her brother unless those statistics change? I can’t change all of them myself, but hopefully I will change the last one,” she said.
Stephens is a former Montgomery County assistant district attorney and federal prosecutor who has held the 151st district seat since 2010. A Horsham resident, Stephens has acted as the local liaison in securing $10 million in state grant money to assist with cleanup of contaminated water at the former Horsham Naval Air Station. In his tenure, Stephens has introduced more than a dozen bills with the goal of reducing gun violence by requiring background checks, and allowing family members or law enforcement to seek temporary “extreme risk protective orders” to prevent those who are a risk to others from having access to guns.
“Other bills I’ve written or cosponsored include a ban on bump stocks, requiring domestic abusers to surrender their guns to law enforcement, tougher penalties for straw purchasers, tougher penalties for committing violent crimes with guns, improving security at our schools and tougher penalties for parole and probation violations involving guns,” Stephens said.
Other initiatives Stephens has led while in the state legislature include several bills providing penalties for animal abuse, fighting and slaughter, increased funding for education, and increased penalties for juveniles and felons who illegally possess weapons, and in February Stephens announced a $3 million state grant for upgrades to Blair Mill Road from Witmer Road to Route 611 in Horsham.
“Traffic is the number one quality of life issue I hear about in my district which is why I have focused intently on improving our transportation infrastructure. Since I was first elected I have helped secure millions of dollars for road improvements in Horsham, Montgomery, Lower Gwynedd and Upper Dublin (Townships),” he said.
FOR MORE INFORMATION
Rothman: Visit www.SaraforStateRep.com, search for “Sara for State Rep” on Facebook or follow @ Rep_Sara on Twitter. Stephens: Visit www.VoteToddStephens.com, search for “Todd Stephens PA” on Facebook or follow @RepToddStephens on Twitter.
Sara Johnson Rothman