Two years ago, state Rep. Pam Snyder, D-Jefferson, had a free ride on her way to winning a second term in office.
Snyder, who represents the 50th Legislative District, had no challengers back then in either the primary or general election.
But that’s changed this year as Snyder is facing a spirited challenge from Republican Betsy Rohanna McClure, a newcomer to politics.
Snyder, who served for nine years as a Greene County commissioner prior to becoming a legislator, said she’s running on her record. During a forum held last month between the two candidates, Snyder said she’s been a big proponent of both the coal and natural gas industries, sponsoring enacted legislation requiring the state Department of Environmental Protection to receive approval from the state for the regulation of carbon dioxide emissions.
Snyder noted that she was one of four lawmakers named to a legislative task force charged with investigating the opioid prescription drug abuse in the state. She said the task force produced recommendations that are now being implemented statewide.
In addition, Snyder said she’s been an independent lawmaker, standing up to Gov. Wolf in the budget impasse last year. Snyder she was one of several Democrats who went against Wolf, which resulted in the budget being approved without his signature.
A nurse in the Trinity School District, McClure said she’s been a Republican all her life, Noting that she believes in less taxes and more freedom, McClure said she became involved in politics because of Obamacare, calling it an “intrusion.’’
During the forum, both candidates expressed concerns about the opioid crisis with them both agreeing that prevention has to start with young children and making them aware of the dangers of drugs.
However, they disagreed on most of the other issues discussed at the forum, including pension reform, per diems and property taxes.
The board was critical of McClure for advocating the rights of workers to not join unions while herself being a longtime member of the Pennsylvania State Education Association which is one of the most powerful unions in the commonwealth.
The board did agree that McClure was knowledgeable about the opioid crisis but said she didn’t seem to have a good overall grasp of the issues, especially compared to Snyder.
The board said Snyder has been an informed, independent lawmaker and has fought tenaciously for the residents of her district. In fact, some board members praised Snyder for being a “real public servant,’’ calling her one of the area’s finest legislators.
They said district voters would be doing a disservice to Snyder and themselves by casting their ballots for another candidate.
In the end, the board said that Snyder has a proven track record of getting things done for residents of the 50th Legislative District and endorsed her for a third term in Harrisburg.
The 50th Legislative District covers all of Greene County, East Bethlehem Township and Centerville in Washington County and Brownsville, Luzerne and Redstone townships and Brownsville and Masontown boroughs in Fayette County.