(Mark Stevens is the endorsed Democratic candidate for PA-156, to replace Barb McIlvaine Smith)
Thank you Barb for your kind introduction, and for the wonderful job you have done in representing this district and our Party!
I also want to thank my fellow candidates Kevin Fitzpatrick for running a strong race and keeping me honest, and Todd Bales for having the courage to throw his hat in the political ring for the first time. I look forward to working with both Kevin and Todd – each of whom has a bright future – to help build a stronger Democratic Party and a stronger community.
I am running for this seat for a many reasons. We need more jobs and more value for our tax dollars. We need reform in Harrisburg, and a stream-lined, more responsive government. We need affordable, accessible healthcare. These things are essential for all Pennsylvanians, indeed, for all Americans. And in our District, we have additional priorities, 1) to lower property taxes, 2) to lower the cost of doing business, and 3) We need to promote smart growth, including protecting Open Space and bringing the R3 Train back to the district.
Property Taxes in the District are currently too high for too many. We need to implement measures to lower this burden for our seniors and for our families, while finding new, innovative ways to fund our schools. Furthermore, we need to streamline government, reduce wasteful spending, and end corruption in Harrisburg. I will bring a fresh perspective on fixing our government.
Pennsylvania needs to be competitive in the regional and global economy. Accordingly, we need to lower the cost of doing business in Pennsylvania. We need to make our Commonwealth attractive to businesses so we increase our competitiveness in the region. I will encourage investment that will bring jobs and responsible economic growth to the region, as well as reforming our business tax structure to lower taxes for small businesses.
We need to bring development to our region, but not give up our natural heritage. That’s why I believe in Smart Growth. Now, Open Space is perhaps our most valuable commodity, for once it’s developed it cannot be reclaimed. Open space is the ultimate non-renewable resource. I pledge to protect our unique & historic landscape, and set aside more land for conservation, while allowing for growth where it makes sense. Protecting and renewing our environment is not only good for our community’s health and well-being, but will lead to the creation of green jobs which will grow our economy and can never be outsourced.
Lastly, we need to bring back the train back to West Chester. A few weeks ago, I kicked off my campaign on a snowy day from the site of the old R3 Station off Market Street in the Borough. The R3 commuter train has been closed now for more than two decades; meanwhile – all around – the greater West Chester area has enjoyed a renaissance. By bringing back commuter rail service to the District, we will reduce traffic, improve the quality of life for residents, make local businesses and West Chester University more competitive, and create well-paying, secure jobs.
Ladies and Gentlemen, I’ve told you where I stand. Now it’s time for us to unite, to put our best foot forward, and get Pennsylvania back on the right track. Barb worked hard for us, and for reform in Harrisburg. Now, I need your help. I need your help to carry Barb’s legacy of legislative integrity and devoted constituent service forward. I need your help in knocking on doors and making phone calls. I need your help in gathering signatures for petitions, and I need your financial support. Join me now to fight for Open Space, for lower taxes, for Jobs, for better government and for the R3. Join me on this journey to Election Day, Nov 2nd – and when we get there, let’s already have won! Thank you!