School Board Service
I was encouraged by Democratic Party leaders in Spring of 2017 to run for the state legislature as they witnessed my highly effective campaign for Rose Tree Media School Director, for which I won a record number of votes in 2017. I remained committed to my School Board campaign while I thought carefully about what they had asked of me, and hoped that a strong candidate for the state House race would emerge. Ultimately I took the advice of friends in the legislature and experts in PA politics that I respect, and entered the race in January.
Regardless of the outcome of this legislative campaign, I will proudly serve out my full 4-year term on the School Board.
These two elective offices are compatible, as confirmed by a legal review of the Pennsylvania State Constitution, the 1949 School Code, all available case law, and a recent inquiry to the State Ethics Commission. This is hardly unusual; several other members of the State Assembly hold unpaid local elective office as well.
None of this has deterred a few supporters of my primary opponent from conducting a whisper campaign suggesting that I'll fail to fulfill my obligation to RTMSD, and therefore am unworthy of your trust. Nothing could be further from the truth. The rewarding experiences I had engaging with constituents, both during that campaign and now that I’m in office, have only reinforced my determination to further serve my community through elective office, spurring me to enter this race.
And determination is exactly what it takes to run for legislative office despite angry, misogynistic threats, which are what one local Democratic committee member in particular leveled against me, and others close to me, when he learned I was entering the primary against his committee's pick. He has followed through, spreading borderline-libelous lies that I'll be quitting my RTMSD role if I win this election. I will do no such thing.
Of course, the fact that some of my primary opponent’s supporters have resorted to deceitful gossip, rather than trying to make the case that he’ll be a more effective advocate than I will for the citizens of this district, is pretty telling in itself.
Behavior like this is one reason highly capable people rarely choose to run for office. Campaign work is grueling enough without the added hassle of navigating these “wait your turn” local party gatekeepers, who often seem focused on maintaining control of their fiefdoms almost to the exclusion of pursuing public policy progress.
Nevertheless, I persist in seeking this office. I'm a fighter who won't be bullied out of this race by obstructionists within the party. And as your representative in Harrisburg, I'll push back with even greater determination wherever I encounter entrenched resistance to bold progressive reform!