by Alex Lloyd Gross
EDITORS NOTE. DELAWARE VALLEY NEWS IS GOING TO FEATURE BOTH CANDIDATES, LAURIE SMITH AND KC TOMLINSON. WE REACHED OUT TO KC TOMLINSON WHO WILL BE SPEAKING with US IN THE NEAR FUTURE. THAT PROFILE WILL RUN NEXT MONTH.THIS PUBLICATION WILL NOT ENDORSE ANY CANDIDATE.
One of two dynamic women will be your elected State Representative if you live in Bensalem or Hulmeville Boro, in Bucks County. Laurie Smith is the democratic candidate running. She was appointed by the party to run after the nominee bowed out due to personal reasons. Smith is a married mother with three sons. She was a teacher in the Bensalem School District.
“As a former teacher, I feel that i have more experience in what teachers need and while we have made some strides, we are way behind in public funding of what we need. as a teacher I feel I can use that experience to bring a persuasive point in this matter,” Smith said. She does live in the district and has taught at Struble Elementary for much of her career.
There are several topics that PA residents want to know about a candidate. Smith does not agree with a total ban on abortions.. “I think Doug Mastriano ( republican candidate for Governor of Pennsylvania) is wrong in his restricting a woman’s right to an abortion. This was decided 50 years ago and this is further dividing the nation,” Smith said.
Smith does not want to see a ban on guns, but “I do think we need better background checks and training and there should be better reporting of people that have mental health issues”, she said. With the increase in school shootings, Smith is very much in favor of increasing funding for school security . Something she feels the state can do better than it is doing.
Pennsylvania legislators are among the highest paid in the nation. They get a cost of living raise every year. However, Republican Rep Jim Cox, who sits on the Labor and industry committee has refused to put any minimum wage bill up for a vote. Even when the senate approved one several years ago. “The wage has to be adjusted for inflation. It’s reprehensible that the wage has not gone up in almost 15 years. It’s hindering Pennsylvania workers and their families,” she said. The wage is $7.25/hr. Many businesses especially franchises in the inner city still pay $8/50/hr while workers at the location across the bridge do the same work for $13.00. “It needs to go up, democrats need to re take the house and vote in Josh Shapiro so that this can happen. This is a priority for us,” Smith said.
Smith’s expertise is in schooling. Currently, in this state history is not a core subject, like math or English. Some young adults have no idea who won the Civil War, they cannot pick out Vietnam on a map and as for American history, they are not quite sure who Dick Cheney is. The same adults were passed on from grade to grade in school, grasping only the most basic information. Smith wants to change that, and make sure kids get a well rounded education. Education levels vary greatly from Bensalem to the inner city. The state rep’s job is to make sure that all of Pennsylvania is represented, not just their district.
As far as emergency services go.there is a shortage of volunteer firefighters. Retention and recruitment is paramount for keeping the community safe. 30 years ago there were over 300,000 volunteers in the state. Today there are less than 30,000. “There has to be an incentive to keep people, possibly a state tax credit or break to those that serve is something I could support or get behind,” she said. The alternative is closing firehouses and mergers. Some of this will result in increased response times for emergencies.
She is quick to admit she has no experience in politics . She was on vacation when asked to run for this office. “KC Tomlinson is a great person, and i am not going to say anything negative about her. I am going to run a clean, honest campaign. i have no dark money, I am not going to go negative at all. There are some things she is not doing that I feel I could do better, especially in the field of education and schools,” Smith said.
“I feel women are underrepresented in politics” and if she is elected will have to come up to speed quickly. “I am a moderate. at least I consider myself a moderate, I can and will work with republicans to get things done for my district, when I am elected,” Smith said.
Getting to and from the office can be burdensome, especially in bad weather. It’s a two hour drive. “I’m resourceful, I will find a way to get to the state house for votes,” Smith said. .”I started the race late, I am running the last 100 metes of this race and I hope to win, I will be a good community servant