A school board member and business owner is running against another business owner and incumbent for the 106th District of the state House of Representatives.
Lindsay Drew is the Democratic challenger who will appear on the ballot in November, running against Republican state Rep. Tom Mehaffie in the 106th, which covers all of Conewago, Derry and Lower Swatara townships, part of Swatara Township, as well as the boroughs of Hummelstown, Middletown and Royalton.
Both candidates have their priorities that they will address, if elected, but whoever takes office in 2021 will also have to face the fallout of 2020 – namely, the ongoing impact of the coronavirus pandemic.
Here’s what the candidates had to say:
Drew, 37, serves on the Derry Township School board. She is also the founder and president of iChase Solutions, a marketing and consulting firm that works with small businesses and non-profits.
She has served other roles in her community, too, with organizations that include the township’s zoning hearing board, the Human Society of the Harrisburg Area and the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society of Central PA Board of Trustees.
She said her number one issue is making sure public education is fully and fairly funded.
“I feel that it is important to ensure, regardless of the zip code a child lives in, they have access to equitable education,” she said. “That’s not the case in Pennsylvania, given the funding structure.”
She said since a primary source of raising additional revenue for schools is to increase property taxes, the weight of funding education is on local taxpayers, which needs to be addressed so that education can be funded without compromising the financial stability of homeowners.
One way to do that is through charter school reform, she said. While Drew said she supports school choice, the way charter schools are funded is a disproportionate use of public funds. She said since school districts pay the same amount per student attending their district as they do for those who attend a charter school, she wants to work towards balancing those numbers since cyber schools can educate children at a much lower cost, reducing the burden on public schools and taxpayers, she said.
Any educational changes implemented at the state level, though, need to include the input of parents, teachers and school board members, she added.
Healthcare is another important issue for Drew.
“I don’t view healthcare as a luxury or a privilege. It’s a right,” she said. “At the end of the day, people need to have the security in knowing they have access to healthcare.”
That doesn’t just mean the health care provided by insurance, she said. This is where legislators need to step in to ensure hazard pay and sick leave for frontline workers during the pandemic.
Prescription drugs are also unaffordable, she said, and the state needs to take steps to lower the costs and institute more transparency in the way taxpayer dollars are used in those reimbursements. She said she would also