Candidates for Orie's Seat Make Positions Known at Meet-And-Greet
Republican Randy Vulakovich, Democrat Dr. Sharon Brown and write-in candidates Don Bindas make statements, answer questions at Chamber event in Wexford.
The three candidates vying for the 40th District senatorial seat formerly held by Sen. Jane Orie stated their positions on the issues Tuesday night at a meet-and-greet event in Wexford.
The Chamber hosted and moderated the two-plus hour event at its office at 5000 Brooktree Road in Pine Township.
Initially, each candidate gave a statement, then answered an assortment of questions from about 60 people in the audience.
Dr. Sharon Brown, the Democrat running for the seat, stressed her experience as a small business owner in her opening statement. She also pointed to her experience as a nurse practitioner, educator and administrator for Community College of Allegheny County.
Pennsylvania has a "very unlevel playing field," she said, referring to the business environment for small businesses. Harrisburg is "rigged" for big corporations, Brown said.
She criticized proposed tax breaks being used to lure a Shell ethane cracker plant as well as breaks given to Marcellus Shale drillers.
Brown also pointed out the importance of a good transportation system and noted the thousands of structurally deficient bridges in the state as well as "clogged and inadequate roads."
She criticized Gov. Tom Corbett for not acting upon the recommendations in a report released by his Transportation Funding Advisory Commission.
Rep. Randy Vulakovich, the Republican currently serving the 30th Legislative District as well as running for Orie's seat, said his priorities include jobs and a reasonable budget that is sustainable.
He said 80 percent of the state budget is for education and welfare and the other 20 percent is for "everything else."
Overspending is not the answer, he said. As to where to make cuts, Vulakovich said, "In bad times ... you bite the bullet."
"You can't run government that way because people don't run their households that way," Vulakovich said. "It's all about jobs, jobs, jobs. Government does not create jobs. It just doesn't."
What brings jobs to the state is an attractive business environment, Vulakovich said. It's not about giving people subsidies, it's about giving them opportunities, he said.
Why run? "I think we can do better," Bindas said.
His main platform centers on transportation. He proposes setting up NAT—Northern Alliance Transit—to handle transportation issues. He proposes a transit system that connects the base of McKnight Road to the outer reaches of northern Zelienople with connecting cross-links between Freedom Road to Route 8, Ingomar Road through North Park and on to Route 8, and a transit circle that goes from Babcock Boulevard to Shaler to McKnight/Ross and back to Babcock.
As for experience, he said, "talk about a jack of all trades ... I'm pretty well rounded."
The Wexford auto dealer said he has worked as a coal miner, a fine jewelry designer/creator, and other jobs.
"Government is not our partner; government is our servant," Bindas said.
Attendees asked questions about the Voter ID Law, transportation, education, unions, how the candidates label themselves (moderate, conservative, liberal, etc.). Here is a sample of a few of those questions.
Question: How do you feel about the new Voter ID Law?
Brown: "I'm not sure we need to have it ... if (there is) no voter fraud. ... It's a problem-solving law created when there was no problem." She said it might create hardships on some people, particularly the elderly.
Vulakovich: "What don't you need a photo ID for today? ... Is (the new law) perfect? No. But the system we have now is not perfect."
Bindas: "They're both right but who cares." He referred to "jamming it through" the Legislature. "What's the point unless you're getting Mitt Romney elected?"
Question: What are your views on transportation?
Vulakovich: "To me it's a no-brainer. We need a transit bill."
Brown: "Transportation is critical for bringing business in and maintaining it."
Bindas: Government should not be employing workers to do transportation work.