This is one in a series of 2022 General Election previews.View them all with mcall.com/election.
State Senator Lisa Boscola has represented the 18th District for over 20 years. But she faces another election challenge in her November. One of her reasons for that is that the redistricting process that follows the U.S. Census every ten years has given the districts new contours.
The new District 18 includes most of Northampton County, which stretches from the Slate Belt to Lower Saukon Township, and parts of Bethlehem in Lehigh County. There are more Democratic than Republican voters, but nearly 20% are neither.
According to Boscola, it has the second-most independent voters among the state’s 50 senatorial districts, making it a likely swing district and prime target for Republicans.
With nearly 30 years of experience in state politics, Boscola, 60, is running for a seventh four-year term in the 18th District, where he has run against Republican Jim Marhotain since 1998. She previously served two terms as a state legislator. She said she stands on her record for being an independent voice.
“I will vote for the bill if I think it’s a good idea, whether it’s Democrat or Republican. I’m never going to change,” she said.
She said she was familiar with the new district.
“What many of them don’t realize is that ten years ago I represented Slate Belt,” Boscola said. In recent years the district has included the more southern Lehigh He Valley communities, such as Northampton and Katasauqua.
“I see this race as a referendum against me,” she said. “They know me and will vote for or against me based on my record.”
Merhottein, a Marine Corps veteran, businessman, and chairman of the Bethlehem Township, agrees.
Mr. Merhottein, 52, declined a request for an interview and instead responded to several issues via email. When he announced his candidacy he said Residents looking for new directions.
He said longtime Harrisburg legislators like Boscola have done little over the past few decades on issues like higher property taxes for homeowners and fairer funding for public schools. rice field.
“My opponent has been running for over 20 years on this issue with no result showing it,” Merhottein said. “This tax is putting pressure on residents, especially seniors who live on a fixed income. No tax should have the power to make you homeless.”
Both candidates from Bethlehem Township agree on several issues, including their support for the rights of the LGBTQ community. They agree that a drastic expansion of voter access in Pennsylvania could work. But, of course, they disagree on other issues.
Below are excerpts from candidates’ comments on some key issues.
boscola While current state law is restrictive, she said it strikes the “right balance” between abortion rights advocates and anti-abortion activists. family, doctors say it’s a matter of concern.
Melhotain Aside from protecting the health and safety of parents and children, and victims of rape and incest, he said he was “pro-life” — an exception included in state law. He said he supported having the opportunity to decide the issue through the question.
boscola Reducing or eliminating property taxes in favor of changes to income and sales taxes would help seniors and younger families stay home or buy homes, she said. , said the government should encourage first-time homebuyers through tools such as specialized savings accounts, down payment assistance programs, and by offering repair assistance for major code violations and weathering. rice field.
Melhotain The government said it must ensure that people have access to affordable housing options, especially in the midst of the double whammy of high prices and inflation. , the first thing people bring up is the dire economy,” he said.
boscola Harrisburg’s core function is to fund education, and it said the government should “ensure that students and educators have the tools they need.” She also supports parental involvement, but she said much of what’s going on these days is “political and polarizing.”
“Instead of talking about property tax cuts or fair funding practices, we’re caught up in this polarization about certain books and what’s being taught,” she said. So I don’t think that’s what’s going on, there’s never been a call about the curriculum and people are offended by what they’re taught in school.”
Melhotain Parents said they not only “absolutely have every right” to play an active role in their children’s education, but they can also choose where their students attend school. “The education you get shouldn’t be determined by the zip code you live in,” he said. He also likes the transparency of the curriculum for parents.
“I believe that schools are often depopulated and we overburden teachers and administrators,” he said. I hope to return to writing and mathematics, and I believe that civic and financial literacy courses should definitely be taught.”
boscola Voting laws around signature verification and dropboxes need reformed reform. She is a key proponent of her 2019 laws that allow for expanded voting and wants lawmakers to use common sense when it comes to those reforms. All in all, the 2020 elections were held legally, she said.
“There are always ways to improve, but I think allowing mail-in ballots with no excuses is working,” she said.
Melhotain We agree that bipartisan improvements should be made to the state voter law to ensure that every county in the state follows clear, consistent and transparent rules.
“Polls in Pennsylvania and across the country should be easy, safe, and have a credible end result,” he said. “Like the vast majority of Pennsylvanians, I support voter ID to ensure that these standards are adhered to and that everyone can trust the electoral process.”
Melhotain I challenged Governor Tom Wolfe’s executive order to include Pennsylvania in a regional greenhouse gas initiative. Earlier this year, Wolff vetoed legislative efforts to block Pennsylvania’s entry into RGGI, a multistate program the governor said would limit global warming by reducing carbon emissions from power plants. exercised.
The governor’s order to join RGGI is pending while the Pennsylvania Supreme Court reviews the legality of Wolfe’s actions. Merhottein said his first job if elected would be to remove the state from his RGGI. He calls it his $800 million new tax where people’s energy bills will rise by 30%.
boscola Energy prices have not risen because the state is not yet a member of RGGI. Good decisions and bad decisions” are partly to blame.
She also criticized Republican lawmakers for not creating legislation to address the issue that climate change is real. We want you to
Boscola supported the introduction of medical marijuana in Pennsylvania. First clinic opened in Bethlehem in 2018She hopes it will expand into recreational uses. Doing so would lead to the building of new industries that generate tax revenue, she said.
She said her opponents believe recreational use of marijuana leads to the consumption of other, more dangerous drugs.
Melhotain He said medical marijuana has helped people, but specific laws would need to be considered before recreational use is allowed.
“If I am elected and this issue is voted on, my final decision will be made after discussions with law enforcement and a doctor I trust,” he said. I was. Legalized in New Jersey and New York It was not a problem brought in by the inhabitants he visited.
tax and economy
boscola The corporate net income tax cuts approved as part of the 2022-23 budget “are only helping us so far,” she said. I supported a sales tax holiday and a cut in the state gas tax. According to her, neither idea has attracted attention.
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She also said states should invest more money in programs such as: Ben Franklin Technology Partner, including one at Lehigh University. The Ben Franklin Program will help grow startups that ultimately pay more taxes to the state, she said. If you invest in a program that works, I call it a true investment, not a waste of money. ”
Melhotain He said the reduction in the state’s net corporate income tax was encouraging, but plans to eventually lower the rate to 4.99% still needed to be worked out in detail. (From 1 January, the corporate net income tax rate will be Decreased by 1 percentage point to 8.99% It will increase by 0.5% each year until reaching 4.99% by 2031. )
He said raising property taxes was a major issue he heard from residents, but there was little consensus on how to get the actual tax cuts. He said.
Wake-up Call journalist Anthony Salamone can be reached at email@example.com.
This is the latest voter breakdown for the 18th State Senate district.
registered voter: 184,538
- Democratic Party: 86,314 (46.8%)
- Republicans: 61,541 (33.3%)
- others: 36,683 (19.9%)
https://www.mcall.com/news/elections/mc-nws-election-18th-pennsylvania-senate-race-20221003-2uy7tljoifgepkdgnztlplisle-story.html#ed=rss_www.mcall.com/arcio/rss/category/news/pennsylvania/ Lisa Boscola, John Marhotain on Pennsylvania Senate 18th District Issues