Democrat and Republican are running in the Aug 7 special election to become the next state senator in Pennsylvania's 40th district. The winner will complete the term of former , who was convicted and sentenced to prison for using her state paid staff to do campaign work.
Recently, the readers of the North Hills, Cranberry and Pine-Richland Patches were asked to submit questions to both candidates. The three editors of those Patch sites assembled those questions, and added a few of their own, for the candidates.
Below are their answers to the first 3 questions. The remaining questions and answers will be published throughout the week.
#1) Why do you think you are the right candidate for the 40th District seat?
Dr. Sharon Brown: "It is time for a new voice for the district – ethical, moderate, and principled – and a senator who will listen to the needs and issues of the citizens. As a nurse practitioner, educator and small business person, I have the background and real world experiences to create solid policies for the entire region. I will stop the “trickle down” tax increases – especially school property taxes – imposed on the region by the current Harrisburg crowd, and make sure our children have the educational resources they need to flourish in our 21st century economy."
Rep. Randy Vulakovich: "I’m for integrity in government, reasonable balanced budgets, and for creating a business friendly environment for our job creators."
#2) Do you support Gov. Corbett's budget? Why or why not?
Rep. Randy Vulakovich: "I’m a fiscal conservative who supports on time, reasonable, balanced, and sustainable budgets for the taxpayers of the Commonwealth."
Dr. Sharon Brown: "On time doesn’t mean correct. The Corbett/Vulakovich budgets have meant multiple cuts for local services, and repeated local tax increases.
We are robbing our children. The Corbett/Vulakovich budgets have devastated our kids’ education, with deeps cuts on all levels, from kindergarten through high school to state-supported universities. And make no mistake – the latest “flat” funding means we will have to cut more, since our costs go up each year even when funding doesn’t. Because of the Corbett/Vulakovich approach to the budget, nearly every school district in the region has had to increase their property tax millage rates in order to meet their budgetary commitments for the school year.
What’s worse, we have left money on the table. With the new industry associated with Marcellus Shale drilling, Corbett/Vulakovich have refused to make these companies pay their fair share through taxes – even though they pay these taxes in every other state where they do business.
So the costs just keep coming, and the money doesn’t – so our local taxes go up. How long can the residents of the 40th district, especially those on fixed incomes, withstand this “kick the can down the road” approach to balancing the budget on the backs of our kids and seniors?"
#3) Will funding for public schools be one of your top priorities?
Dr. Sharon Brown: "Absolutely. We must support our schools. Our kids can’t compete if we keep cutting funding to their education. And if we cannot keep our excellent schools in the 40th District fully functional, we will see the young families who give our region a future pass us by. We have to stop allowing Harrisburg to destroy our communities this way."
Rep. Randy Vulakovich: "Absolutely, I support our public schools. It is the first group of line items that I address with each and every budget. I know children must be educated to secure their future as well as the future of our country."
Tomorrow, the candidates answer questions about tuition rates at state-owned and state-related schools, such as Pitt and Penn State, and jobs.
You can chime in on what each candidate has to say in the comments box below.