Bol­ing chal­lenges Murt for 152nd state House seat

Times Chronicle & Public Spirit - - FEATURES - By Dan Sokil dsokil@21st-cen­tu­ry­media. com @dan­sokil on Twit­ter

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.

Bol­ing

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.

Murt

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.

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