Daley closing three local offices Nov. 30

Outgoing state Rep. Pete Daley announced Monday that his Donora, California and New Eagle offices are closing as his term ends on Nov. 30.

“Sadly, internet and phone services at the local offices are being disconnected,” Daley, D-California, said in a statement.

Daley directed 49th Legislative District residents to call his Harrisburg office at 717-783-9333 or his personal cell phone at 724-344-0100 if they need assistance.

“The staff and I will do our best to help in any way possible,” he said. “I’m going to miss everyone and everything about being a public servant.”

Daley, who served 17 two-year terms in the state House, did not seek re-election this year. On Nov. 8, Republican Bud Cook of West Pike Run Township beat Democrat Alan Benyak of Carroll Township for the seat.

Mahoney: Proud of 10 years of public service in the 51st Legislative District

Rep. Timothy S. Mahoney    November 22, 2016

When I was first elected to the state House in 2006, it was out of a deep-seated desire to do good for the people of the 51st Legislative District, Fayette County and the state of Pennsylvania.

I knew then that I was not the fanciest-talking elected official – nor would I ever be. But I was a straight shooter who believed that the people deserved better. From my early success as prime sponsor of the House version of an updated Open Records Law, which for the first time included the state legislature, to the recent announcement of a $1.5 million state grant to help fund expansion of the Boeing plant in Georges Township – and thousands of things, large and small, in between – I am proud of my 10-year track record as a state representative.

My time in this position ends this month, following the results of the Nov. 8 election where voters in the 51st District, which now includes part of western Somerset County, chose to go in a different direction, just as they did back in 2006 when they elected me.

I respect their decision and wish my successor good luck. We still face a lot of challenges in Fayette and Somerset counties, such as job creation, eliminating suffocating school property taxes, combating a heroin and opioid abuse epidemic that I was among the first to warn about, and obtaining a satisfactory level of police protection.

While I have worked tirelessly to achieve those goals, one quickly discovers that the wheels of Harrisburg – much like the proverbial wheels of justice – often grind slowly. In many cases, they grind way too slowly for a guy like me, who wants to get things done quickly even if it means upending and upsetting the status quo. For the past decade, for better or worse, I have told it as I saw it, with no sugar coating or sidestepping.

Am I disappointed that my idea to consolidate the administrations of Fayette County’s public school districts, at a potential savings of up to $60 million, was never seriously considered by local school boards who regularly raise your property taxes? You bet I am.

Am I proud that I was one of 13 House Democrats who voted with Republicans to end last year’s nine-month state budget impasse, so our schools and social services finally could be funded, without raising income or sales taxes despite intense lobbying from my own party to do so? You bet I am.

And do I believe that my constituents in the 51st Legislative District, whether they supported me or not, deserve top-shelf service when seeking help from state programs and agencies? You bet I do – and that’s why I stood up to the governor when he tried to make those services more difficult to obtain through the offices of several legislators, including mine, after our anti-tax budget votes. That’s called having a backbone.

I know what my legislative record was and remain confident that it will pass the test of time, rising above whatever distortions and fabrications were purposely pasted over it in the past few months.

As I exit public office to return to the private sector, which was always part of my plan, I take comfort in knowing that for the past 10 years, my legislative staff and I have done our best to provide constituent services, obtain funding for worthy projects, put new ideas on the table and fight for what we thought was right.

Local legislators not influenced by other states’ recreational marijuana legalization vote

By Mark Hofmann, The Herald Standard

Even though several states have voted to make recreational marijuana legal, those in and entering the Pennsylvania legislature said they have not changed their opinions on the subject.

In April, the state legislature approved the medical marijuana bil to allow people suffering from seizures to be treated with cannabis oil to reduce the number of seizures they experience.

However, on Election Day, the states of California, Nevada, Main and Massachusetts approved the legalization of recreational marijuana.

With Pennsylvania’s legalization of medical marijuana only five months old, legislators aren’t giving the idea of legalizing recreational marijuana use much weight.

“It has not changed my stance at all,” said State Sen. Patrick Stefano, R-Bullskin Township, who added he believes the four states that voted to make recreational use legal are making a mistake. “It will take a long time before I change my stance on recreational marijuana.”

Stefano voted for medical marijuana in Pennsylvania, but said h has issues with legalizing what people have called a gateway recreational drug during an ongoing opioid crisis.

“The risks would outweigh the benefits,” Stefano said. “I just don think we’re ready.”

State Rep. Ryan Warner, R-Perryopolis, said he, too, supported medical marijuana in Pennsylvania to help those with cancer an those who suffer seizures, but he believes the main focus needs to be eradicating the current drug epidemic.

“Addressing this opioid crisis should be one of the top priorities for every lawmaker in the state — not legalizing more drugs,” Ryan said.

“I don’t think it’s the right time for us in Pennsylvania to do that right now,” said State Rep. Pam Snyder, D-Jefferson Township. “We haven’t even implemented the medical cannabis bill.”

Snyder said she wants to wait and see what research comes out of those states that have legalized recreational marijuana, but said when it comes to cannabis, she wants to focus on the medical marijuana implementation in Pennsylvania first as she said it will help a lot of people and doctors.

“I am a staunch supporter of the legalization of medicinal cannabis, which is why I sponsored three amendments to the legislation that was championed by Sen. Mike Folmer and enacted into law,” said state Sen. Camera Bartolotta, R-Carroll Township. “In this day and age, Pennsylvanians who are truly suffering, medically, should not be denied every opportunity to treatment.”

Bartolotta, however, said she doesn’t support recreational cannabis.

“I believe it can lead to bigger problems, such as an increase in DUI cases,” she said, adding that parents and children with extreme seizure disorders are the ones that need to benefit from the medical use of marijuana. “That’s what this is all about —giving men, women and children with serious medical conditions the ability to live better lives.”

“Far too many medical professionals have called marijuana a gateway drug for me to be able to support (recreational) legalization currently,” said Matthew Dowling, a Republican, who will be serving the 51st Legislative District and agrees that the opioid epidemic is what needs to be addressed.

Seven states have now legalized recreational pot, and a recent Gallup poll showed close to 60 percent of Americans support the idea.

Stefano said he has heard from those in his constituency in the 32nd Senatorial District on both sides of the issue and said about 70 percent are against recreational marijuana use.

Colorado, where stores began legally selling recreational pot in 2014, reported almost $1 billion in legal pot sales last year. Arcview Market Research, which tracks the marijuana industry, estimates that legal annual California pot revenues could exceed$7 billion by 2020.

Even the potential for additional tax money going to Harrisburg’s pot sales hasn’t swayed lawmakers.

“The state of Pennsylvania doesn’t have a revenue problem, it has a spending problem,” Warner said.

While Warner said he respects the rights of individual states to make decisions that they deem best for themselves, he said Pennsylvania already has some of the highest sin taxes in the country, and rather than focusing on new similar taxes, legislato should be looking at ways to cut wasteful spending in Harrisburg

“Yes, I’m sure it’s going to generate revenue, but there’s things t take into account other than revenue,” Snyder said.

Stefano said the legalization of recreational marijuana could come with cost increases for things like drug treatment and different issues like the federal government’s restrictions on marijuana use.

“That complicates our ability to tax it,” Stefano said.

Dowling said relying on revenue from drugs is not sound public policy.

“Rather I think the states should control their costs and make cuts before following this path as a way to be able to further Gov [Tom] Wolf’s liberal agenda and outrageous spending,” Dowling said.

Republican newcomer Dowling reflects on political race

State Rep.elect Matthew Dowling continues to savor his election night victory.
The sea of Republican red that washed over Fayette County on election day paved the way for the small Uniontown business owner to overcome the odds of besting an incumbent Democrat.

Dowling said that all along he was cognizant it would be an uphill battle to unseat veteran and popular lawmaker — state Rep. Tim Mahoney, D-South Union Twp. — when he set out on his first political journey.

However, it had been done before.

County transition to GOP

In 2014 with the retirement of iconic Democrat state Sen. Richard A. Kasunic, the local stage was set for political newcomers to emerge. Then-Democratic state Rep. Deberah Kula opted to seek the senatorial seat, with many believing she would have no problem moving into the position.  However, Fayette County businessman and community leader Pat Stefano, a Republican, stepped forward to challenge Kula and won. At the same time, Republican Ryan Warner won a place on the ballot and squared off with a well-known
Democratic leader, Perry Township Supervisor A.J. Boni for Kula’s representative’s seat. Warner was victorious in his first political bid and won a second term by defeating Democrat James Mari in last week’s general election.

Last year, the county commission moved from a Democratic majority to a Republican majority with Dave Lohr joining fellow Republican Angela M. Zimmerlink on the board.
With the foundation set, Dowling had many reasons to be optimistic.

Dowling enters the race

As he looked at the demographics and how, in his opinion, the county had not flourished under the leadership of the Democrat Party, Dowling said he saw an opportunity and seized it. “I think this year — more than any — citizens were interested in new blood and new ideas,” he said. “I was personally extremely frustrated during the (2015 state) budget standoff that lasted six months.” While his nonprofit business employer was not substantially harmed by the impasse, Dowling said he was cognizant of agencies that were in jeopardy of providing needed services for senior citizens and others. “School districts had to take out a line of credit because of the budget standoff,” he said. “I think we could have come to a better and quicker solution.” Dowling said that he also saw the success of Stefano, R-Bullskin Township, and Warner, R-Perryopolis, in their efforts to elicit aid from Harrisburg for their constituencies, despite their short time in office. With the support of his family, the GOP community and his two mentors, Dowling embarked on his challenge to defeat Mahoney who was seeking a sixth term as the 51st Legislative District representative. He seized on what he saw as Mahoney’s shortfalls. “Rep. Mahoney had become — in some ways — a one-issue candidate,” said Dowling of Mahoney’s push for school consolidation. “We needed to look at other issues as well.” While not opposed to consideration of some consolidation of services, Dowling said an all-encompassing
measure is not feasible. “School boards should come together and figure that out for themselves,” he said.

As he knocked on the doors of those within the district, Dowling said he found that residents, too, were concerned about other issues, including the drug epidemic and the shortage of jobs. Although he had to sell himself to the constituency, Dowling credits his successful campaign to those that guided him through political maze like Stefano,
Warner and Somerset County state Rep. Carl Metzgar, along with the state GOP and the House Republican Campaign Committee, which offered financial help. “The Commonwealth Partners of Entrepreneurs were involved in the race using individual expenditures, meaning they were placing signs, paying for online advertising, and even running radio commercials without coordination or knowledge of the campaign,” he said. “Grassroots efforts, such as door knocking, sign coordination, phone banking, and coalition organization was handled by the Fayette and Somerset Republican Committees, and some 80 individual volunteers, many of whom had no previous involvement in political campaigns.”
Dowling, himself, visited or called upon 10,000 residents during the months leading up to the election. Volunteers made 4,000 calls, mailed 7,000 letters on behalf of the campaign, with ProLife volunteers distributing 2,500 pieces of literature just days before voters went to the polls.
“While much has been said about the mail pieces paid for by the Republican Party of PA, this campaign had a great deal of support at the grassroots level,” said Dowling. “It would have been impossible to share the message of my campaign without all involved.”
Efforts show results In early October, Dowling said the campaign began to see a shift as likely voters began to tie his name to the race. The needed connection was made,
he said, but would it translate into a win? “I knew our campaign had done everything it could, and made every contact possible,” he said. “Running a campaign is like a job interview. We made our case the best we could. “It was now going to be up to the voters to make the decision.” The 51st Legislative District includes portions of Fayette and Somerset counties. Mahoney took Fayette County by a 10,148 to 9,989 vote, with Dowling overcoming the deficit in neighboring Somerset County and adding to the total count. According to unofficial results, Dowling secured 3,282 votes to Mahoney’s 1,573 ballots.
Blue to red Warner, meanwhile, said the overwhelming Republican win developed at the federal level and trickled down to the state level as voters became weary of
the liberal agenda touted by the Democrats. “Whether it be Gov. (Tom) Wolf’s proposal for the largest tax increase in the history of Pennsylvania or President (Barack) Obama and (former)  Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s public war against coal and natural gas, (those agendas) do not align with southwestern Pennsylvania,” said Warner.
“Most residents in Fayette and Westmoreland counties are conservative and believe in traditional American values. “They are not going to back a candidate, or a party, that supports and advocates for illegal immigration, supports higher taxes on the working class, supports jobcrushing regulations from the EPA (federal Environmental Protection Agency) or attacks our Second Amendment rights.”

Ready to serve

Dowling, meanwhile, said the outcome not only gave him the win, but also a mandate to make a difference. When he goes to Harrisburg, Dowling said he will focus on the two major issues of concern of those that elected him to office. “(Concerning the drug issue) I think that comes down to funding law enforcement,” he said. “And, we need to find the best way to provide treatment. “When it comes to the drug epidemic, I don’t think there is going to be a one size fits all approach. “It is going to be an uphill fight that is going to take awhile (to address).” Dowling added that the discussions with the residents revealed, too, that a level of corruption exists because of the long-domination of the Democratic
Party, and it must end. “There are effective people in office that deserve to be reelected,”
he said. “I learned how hard it is to come in as a newcomer and try to get someone’s
ear.” He found that in some instances, the barriers could not be broken.
“I had people that were afraid to donate to my campaign,” he said. “We need to clean up any corruption that exists out there.” Dowling will go to Harrisburg on Dec. 1 to begin the transition process. He will take the oath of office on Jan. 3.

Fayette County provisional ballots approved, rejected

Patty Yauger, Herald Standard
pyauger@heraldstandard.com

The Fayette County Election Bureau continues to verify each ballot cast in the general election and on Tuesday added about five dozen provisional ballots to the list for inclusion in the total number.
In unanimous action, the county Election Board Commissioners Angela M. Zimmerlink and Dave Lohr, along with attorney Mark Mehalov authorized
provisional ballots cast by 46 voters to be fully accepted and 10 others to be partially approved.
Provisional ballots are used at the polling places when questions arise about the voter’s eligibility to vote in that location or if their name is not included
on the registration list.

A full count is permitted if voting occurs in the voter’s same legislative district and receives election board approval.
For example, a Uniontown resident that was registered to vote was given a provisional ballot when he did not furnish election officials with his
identification.
Larry Blosser, election bureau director, said that first time voters, whether due to a change in residence or first-time registration, are required to produce a photo identification.
Because the voter was found to have properly registered, voting took place in the correct precinct and all the signatures matched, the election board approved the complete provisional ballot.
In another case, a Redstone Township voter was required to cast a provisional ballot when the name she gave election poll workers did not match the name on the election bureau list.
Blosser said that it appeared that since the prior election the voter’s name had changed, but she had failed to notify the election bureau to update her information.
The election board also authorized a ballot to be counted for those that had wrongly been listed by the state Department of Transportation as residing in Westmoreland County when it could be verified his residence was in Fayette County. The election board approved partial vote counts for those that were registered in one legislative district, but opted to vote in another district. Blosser said the 10 provisional ballots that offered votes in the presidential, senatorial, and congressional races would be included in the county vote
count, in addition to the ballot question regarding the retirement age for judiciary members.

Several of the voters were working the polls outside their legislative districts and cast a provisional ballot at that location. Blosser said poll workers were advised in advance that they were eligible to submit an absentee ballot in advance of the election.
The board rejected 22 provisional ballots after it was learned that the voters were not eligible to vote. Blosser said in one case a Brownsville Township voter cast a provisional ballot in Luzerne Township when it was found his name was not listed. He was
also found to have cast a conventional ballot in Brownsville Township. While questions arose about a second vote, Zimmerlink speculated that the voter was “concerned” that his provisional ballot may not be counted and returned to his voting district to cast a ballot.
“It may or may not be a criminal attempt (to cast a multiple vote),” said Zimmerlink, adding that every attempt is made by the election bureau to have voters cast ballots in their appropriate precincts. “Many voters become distraught or put out that they are not in the correct voting precinct in the first place.”
Lohr noted that although the board rejected the provisional ballot, the conventional ballot was counted. Other provisional ballots were rejected because the voter was not registered in Fayette County to do so. Blosser said that his office will contact those that had submitted a provisional ballot and provide information as to how to register to vote, change their name or address or verify their polling place.
Turning to a related matter, Zimmerlink said the commissioners are considering a request by Blosser to raise the stipends paid to election poll workers, including judges, clerks, inspectors and constables. However, the pay hike, if approved, would not be effective until 2018. “We are not permitted to give an increase during their term,” said Zimmerlink of the delay. A public hearing must be held in advance of the increase.

The board also discussed the anticipated purchase of new voting equipment for the 2019 or 2020 elections. Blosser said it is likely the state will move to an all paper ballot system that will likely cost the county about $2 million. “We are going to have to start setting money aside,” said Zimmerlink. In other business, Zimmerlink commended Blosser and the election bureau staff for their efforts on election day. “The (bureau) staff did a very good job this year,” she said. “I received some very good, positive feedback.” Blosser agreed, adding that in addition to the routine duties, also oversaw the in-house
printing of ballots and other documentation. “They did a fantastic job,” he said. “They stepped up to the plate.” Blosser, meanwhile, said that the bureau staff continues to count the ballots and anticipates the election board will sign off on the count on Friday. The public is given five days to appeal the inclusion of a vote before the count is certified.

 

Shuster given nod for ninth term in congressional bid

Patty Yauger pyauger@heraldstandard.com Updated 7 hrs ago
U.S. Rep. Bill Shuster, R­Everett, appears likely to have sufficient voter support to serve a ninth term as the 9th Congressional District representative.
With all of the 12 counties reporting unofficial counts, Shuster has a strong lead over his Democratic challenger, Art Halvorson of Manns Choice, with about 62 percent of of the precincts reporting.
The congressional district includes the entire counties of Fayette, Indiana, Bedford, Blair, Fulton and Franklin, and portions of Greene, Washington,
Westmoreland, Cambria, Huntingdon and Somerset counties.
Shuster said late Tuesday that voters rejected the “nasty” campaign waged by Halvorson in favor of him.
“This election should have been about Republicans coming together,” he said. “My opponent tried to divide the party for his own selfish interests.
“We should have been out there working for (GOP presidential nominee Donald J.) Trump and (senatorial candidate Pat) Toomey.”
His focus when he returns to Washington will be to unite the party.
“We will not agree on everything, and I will not always get 100 percent of what I want,” he said. “But, if I get a substantial portion, that will be good.
“We have to work together.”
Halvorson applauded the efforts of his supporters.
“While we are all disappointed at the results of (Tuesday’s) election, we can take enormous pride in the tireless efforts of our supporters across the
district,” he said. “They took on this noble challenge with few resources and against daunting odds.
“Their bravery and integrity reflect the very best this country has to offer.”
In Fayette County, Shuster edged Halvorson by 20,267­12,171, while in Greene County, Shuster had a 3,998­1,830 edge, according to unofficial results.
In Washington County, Shuster bested Halvorson by a 10,672 to 7,783 votes.
Halvorson overcame Shuster in Westmoreland County by a margin of 245 votes, according to unofficial results.

Snyder edges out Rohanna McClure to capture third term

By Jon Stevens For the Herald­Standard Updated 8 hrs ago


WAYNESBURG – Incumbent Democrat Pam Snyder bucked the trend of Greene County voters Tuesday and unofficially captured her third term as staterepresentative for the 50th District, defeating political newcomer Betsy Rohanna McClure, a registered nurse from Franklin Township, by more than 1,000 votes.

While Democrats hold a 4,415 voter registration edge in Greene County, the electorate came out strong for Republican Donald Trump for president, as well as for GOP Pat Toomey for U.S. Senate.

Nonetheless, Snyder of Jefferson was able to sweep the precincts in the three counties that compose the 50th District. Unofficially, with all of GreeneCounty’s 44 precincts reporting,Snyder had 7,577 votes to Rohanna McClure’s 7,366. In Fayette County, a more consistent Democratic stronghold,where voters in 14 precincts cast ballots in the 50th, Snyder had an incomplete total of 1,840 votes and Rohanna McClure had 1,309 votes. Finally, in Washington County’s two municipalities that fall with the 50th. Centerville Borough and East Bethlehem Township – Snyder won by 379 votes, 1,458 to 1,079.

These totals do not include absentee ballots; in Greene County, at least 793 absentee ballots have yet to be processed.

Snyder, who was watching the election results from Carmichaels VFW Post 3491 during the evening, was pleased with the unofficial results, after all 44 Greene County precincts reported. “I am very honored that that the people have chosen me to represent the 50th Legislative District,” said “I want to thank my family, my friends and my supporters during this election. I am very proud to say that we ran a clean and positive campaign, especially in light of the negative climate that was evident in this election. And I look forward to working hard for the people of the 50th Legislative District.” In November 2012, Snyder won her first term in the state House by defeating Waynesburg businessman and borough council member Republican Mark W. Fischer, 56 percent to 42 percent in Greene County. She took office in January 2013, replacing Bill DeWeese, who held the seat for 35 years. DeWeese ran unopposed in the 2012 spring primary but was subsequently barred from appearing on the November ballot because he was a convicted felon and could not hold a public office. Following that primary, Snyder was selected by the local Democratic Committees within the 50th to be the candidate in the fall. In 2014, Snyder ran unopposed for her second term.

 

Cook apparent winner in 49th District

By Christine Haines chaines@heraldstandard.com Updated 8 hrs ago


The race for the 49th State Legislative District pitted Democrat Alan Benyak against Republican Donald Bud Cook, with Cook coming out the apparent winner according to Tuesday’s unofficial results.

Throughout the evening as votes were counted, Cook maintained a lead over Benyak that initially mirrored the lead Donald Trump had over HillaryClinton in the presidential race in Washington and Fayette Counties, with about 60 percent of the vote.

As the evening went on, Benyak picked up a greater percentage than Clinton in those counties, with approximately 46 percent of the vote, but it was not enough to overcome Cook’s lead.

“In 2014 we knocked on 9,000 doors and that wasn’t enough. This year we knocked on 20,336,” Cook said. “I interviewed for the job with the bosses.”Cook said he understood the needs of the district, with a primary emphasis on jobs.A freshman representative isn’t going to get a lot accomplished in Harrisburg, but we can get people united and work to resolve our problems in this area,” Cook said.

Benyak could not be reached for comment.

Cook and Benyak were seeking the seat that has been held for the past three decades by Democrat Peter J. Daley, who announced at the beginning of the year that he would not be seeking re­election.

Benyak, an attorney, and Cook, an e­marketing and promotions consultant, addressed numerous issues during the campaign, including opioid addiction.

Benyak said he supports pending state legislation to allow charges to be brought against anyone who provides illegal drugs that cause injury to anotherperson. He also called for programs to treat addicts, noting that the attorney general’s office is overwhelmed by drug cases.

Cook said he outlined his plan to fight drug addiction in the region on his campaign website including monitoring prescription painkillers, increasingeducation on drug abuse awareness and supporting drug take­back programs.

Benyak said he is a supporter of property tax reform, shifting to a 1 percent increase in the sales tax. Cook said he would rather address blight issues,increasing the property values in the region, thereby increasing property taxes.

When it comes to how each would work with others in Harrisburg, Cook said he was a team builder and would work with others to resolve issues.

“You attack the problem, not the people” he said.

The two candidates had very different spending habits during their campaigns. Benyak spent $42,557 and received in­kind contributions of $73,548, for
a total of $116,105, according to the latest report.

Cook spent $5,062, with in­kind contributions of $5,232, for a total of $10,294. Those figures do not include any money spent by others for or againsteach of the candidates that did not go through their campaign committees.

Cook was also outspent in the Republican Primary race, where Melanie Patterson outspent him by a 5­1 margin.

Of the six Democratic candidates in the Primary, Benyak showed the highest expenditures with a total of $49,133 between his own spending and that of his campaign committee.

Dowling unofficially edges Mahoney out in 51st District race

Mike Tony mtony@heraldstandard.com Updated 8 hrs ago


Republican challenger Matthew Dowling of Uniontown appears to have unseated the incumbent serving the 51st Legislative District in the state House of Representatives.

The unofficial tally from Tuesday’s general election showed Dowling with a relatively narrow victory over incumbent Democrat state Rep. Tim Mahoney,D/South Union Township, who was seeking a sixth term.

With 61 of Fayette County’s 80 precincts and 66 of Somerset County’s 68 districts reporting, Dowling had 8,096 votes to Mahoney’s 6,825 votes, giving Dowling approximately 54.26 percent of the vote.

Mahoney held a narrow 5,598 to 5,349 lead in Fayette County votes but Dowling held a more than 2­ to­1 margin over Mahoney in Somerset County votes. The number one issue we heard about was the drug epidemic in this area,” Dowling said, citing the apparent success of his campaign to listening to the needs of voters.

Mahoney said he was not conceding shortly before 11 p.m., but said he anticipated losing.

“I liked helping people,” Mahoney said, saying he saw his tenure as 10 years of community service and noted he will be turning 60 years old soon.

“What I’m trying to say is I’m not sorry I lost, but I’m not happy.”

The 51st District includes the city of Uniontown; Georges, German, Henry Clay, Nicholson, South Union, Springfield, Springhill, Stewart and Whartontownships; and Fairchance, Markleysburg, Ohiopyle, Point Marion and Smithfield boroughs in Fayette County.

It also includes Addison, Elk Lick, Lower Turkeyfoot, Summit and Upper Turkeyfoot townships and the boroughs of Addison, Confluence, Garrett, Meyersdale, Salisbury and Ursina, in Somerset County.

At a forum hosted by the Herald-­Standard, Greene County Messenger and the Mon Valley Herald­Standard in conjunction with the Fayette Chamber of Commerce on Oct. 14, Dowling questioned Mahoney’s focus on school district administration consolidation, arguing that consolidationwould only work for parts of the 51st Legislative District.

Dowling called for pension reform at the same forum and said Mahoney had been part of the issue of not allowing the state to come to a bipartisan solution on the budget last year.

Mahoney repeatedly advocated for school district administration consolidation, which he has pitched locally and statewide for much of his time as state representative.

“I’m just sorry I didn’t get the school consolidation done,” Mahoney said Tuesday night.

Mahoney advocated for more funding for education about drugs and recovery programs at the forum and made several attempts todistance himself from Gov. Tom Wolf, noting that he was one of 13 House Democrats that voted for the Republican­backed $6.6 billion supplemental

2015­16 budget which Wolf allowed to become law without his signature in March, ending a nine­month long budget impasse which hampered social services and schools.

Mahoney was first elected as state representative in 2006, succeeding Larry Roberts, also a Democrat.

Warner defeats Mari in 52nd District race

Mike Tony mtony@heraldstandard.com Updated 6 hrs ago


Incumbent Republican state Rep. Ryan Warner, R-­Perryopolis, appears to have secured a second term serving the 52nd Legislative District in the state House of Representatives.
The unofficial tally from Tuesday’s general election showed Warner with a comfortable victory over Democratic challenger James Mari, a North Union Township tax collector.
With 61 of Fayette County’s 80 precincts reporting and 277 out of 306 districts in Westmoreland County reporting, Warner had 11,772 votes to Mari’s6,446 votes, giving Warner approximately 64.62 percent of the vote.

Mari said Tuesday night that he had conceded to Warner’s campaign.
“When I was elected last time, I promised the constituents of the 52nd District I wouldn’t take the perks of the job,” Warner said. “I declined a state car, a state pension and per diems.”
Mari attributed his unofficial loss to what he characterized as Trump’s popularity in Fayette County.
“The Trump supporters, that’s all it was,” Mari said.
The 52nd District includes the city of Connellsville, Bullskin, Dunbar, Lower Tyrone, Menallen, North Union, Perry, Saltlick and Upper Tyrone townships and Dawson, Dunbar, Everson, Perryopolis, South Connellsville and Vanderbilt boroughs, as well as the Fayette County portion of Seven Springsborough. It also includes Scottdale borough and part of East Huntingdon Township in Westmoreland County.
At a forum hosted by the Herald­Standard, Greene County Messenger and the Mon Valley Herald­Standard in conjunction with the Fayette Chamber of Commerce on Oct. 14, Warner said he supported a bill to require monitoring when people try to get refills of certain pain killers to curb the supply of drugs on the streets. Warner also said property taxes should be reduced or eliminated and that pension reform would help with education funding.
Tuesday night, Warner attributed his unofficial win to his blue­collar background and the fact that he was not a politician prior to taking the state representative’s office.
At the Oct. 14 forum, Mari said House Bill 76 would eventually eliminate property taxes and that raising the sales tax is fair because everyone would pay it.
Warner was first elected as state representative in 2014, succeeding Deberah Kula, a Democrat