Lo­cal state House races un­con­tested

The Reporter (Lansdale, PA) - - FRONT PAGE - By Dan Sokil [email protected]­tu­ry­media.com @dan­sokil on Twit­ter

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.

61st 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.

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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.

151st Dis­trict

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.

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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.

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Kate Harper

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Todd Stephens

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Sara John­son Roth­man

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Liz Han­bidge

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