NEWTOWN >> Voters in the 31st Legislative District, which includes Newtown Township, Newtown Borough, Lower Makefield Township, Yardley Borough and a portion of Morrisville Borough will chose a new state representative on Election Day (Tuesday, November 8).
Democrat Steve Santarsiero, who currently holds the seat, gave up his re-election bid to run for U.S. Congress in the 8th District, which includes all of Bucks County and a portion of Montgomery County.
Vying to replace Santarsiero in the state legislature are Republican Ryan Gallagher, a member of the Newtown Township Board of Supervisors, and Democrat Perry Warren, a member of the Newtown Borough Council. Here’s why they are running for office, in their own words:
Perry Warren, Democrat
I am running for State Representative to serve my community. I have served as a Newtown Borough Councilman, a board member and chair of my church, an officer with several community organizations, including The Compassionate Friends and the Young Entrepreneurs Organization, and as an attorney representing individual and small business clients. I’m a small business owner, both of my law firm and an ice cream business I started when I was 19. My wife, Liz, and I have five children, who were raised here and attended public schools. Representing our community in Harrisburg is the natural extension of my lifetime of public service.
On Newtown Borough Council I have been in the majority (two years) and in the minority (five years). I have always worked cooperatively with my colleagues of both parties, respecting them and earning their respect. I wrote the borough’s ordinance protecting LGBTQ persons from discrimination. And, I am proud of my record of working cooperatively with the Republican majority on council to pass on-time, responsible budgets that have ensured that the snow is plowed, our roads and infrastructure maintained and improved and our police and fire departments funded to keep our community safe. I will similarly work with all legislators in Harrisburg, giving them respect and hopefully earning their respect in return, to reform Harrisburg and to pass on-time budgets that adequately fund the essential functions of government. And, I will promote restoring state funding of our schools, fully funding education, providing access to Pre-Kindergarten education and making college more affordable.
In addition, I will fight for expansion of anti-discrimination legislation, sensible gun safety laws, including universal registration and preventing suspected terrorists from obtaining firearms, and preservation of our environment. I ask our voters to send me to Harrisburg to keep our community a wonderful place to live.
Ryan Gallagher, Republican
Six years ago, after having served as a volunteer with Newtown Township’s Financial Planning Committee, I chose to run for supervisor because I felt I could make a difference for our community by bringing a commonsense, non-partisan viewpoint to my township’s government. My promise was simple: protect taxpayers while supporting policies that help maintain and improve our local quality of life. With our community's support, I won election and have kept that promise.
As a Newtown Township Supervisor, I cut debt, never raised taxes and helped my township earn a higher credit rating – all to protect taxpayers. At the same time, by working with Democrats and Republicans, we improved local services for everyone.
From making Newtown’s park system better, to controlling development, to providing resources to repaving local roads, to revitalizing old commercial areas into thriving centers of economic activity, we have focused on issues - big and small - and made a positive difference. This is not always easy to do, and I am proud that I was able to accomplish it as supervisor.
I also focused strongly on working to bring jobs and employers to our township, and we were successful there too. In fact, when Lockheed Martin chose to vacate its headquarters in our community and take jobs with them, we overcame that loss and, within a year, helped find a new buyer for the property who is bringing new, hi-tech jobs to our community.
This type of experience is what we need in Harrisburg more than ever as the state faces unprecedented fiscal challenges in the coming years. As Representative, I will do what I have done here at home: say no to partisan politics and get results that help the people I serve. I hope I can count on the support of local residents to do it.