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Ross commissioner Shaffer challenging Vulakovich for state Senate seat

Tony LaRussa
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Jeremy Shaffer
gtrVulakovich
State Sen. Randy Vulakovich

The president of the Ross Township Board of Commissioners has announced plans to run for 38th state Senate seat.

Jeremy Shaffer, who was elected last week to a second four-year term on the board, will challenge incumbent Republican state Sen. Randy Vulakovich of Shaler for the GOP nomination in the 2018 spring primary.

“We need a better voice in Harrisburg,” said Shaffer, 40. “It is time to get serious about Pennsylvania’s increasingly high tax burden and negative business climate.”

Shaffer said he could “no longer sit on the sidlelines and watch” after Vulakovich “voted to saddle families with additional taxes on their utility and phone bills, one of the highest gas taxes in the nation, and a severance tax on our local job creator.”

He said lawmakers need to tighten their belts to address the state’s economic woes.

“We must not send politicians to Harrisburg who are more comfortable taxing away our economic future and jobs than demanding spending reforms and government accountability,” Shaffer said.

If elected, Shaffer said he will not accept the legislative pension or unaccountable per diems.

Shaffer has a doctorate in electrical and computer engineering from Carnegie Mellon University and is president and co-founder of a 38-employee software company specializing in bridge and transportation infrastructure.

Vulakovich, 67, was elected to the state Senate in a 2012 special election to fill the remaining two years of Jane Orie’s six-year term after the McCandless Republican resigned her seat before being sentenced on corruption charges.

Before running for the Senate, Vulakovich served in the state House as the 30th District representative, a seat held since 2007.

He is a retired Shaler police officer.

The 38th Senate district covers a small portion of the City of Pittsburgh as well as Aspinwall, Blawnox, Brackenridge, Bradford Woods, Cheswick, Etna, Fox Chapel, Franklin Park, Millvale, Springdale, Tarentum, West View, East Deer, Fawn, Frazer, Hampton, Harmar, Harrison, Indiana, Marshall, McCandless, O’Hara, Pine, Richland, Ross, Shaler, Springdale and West Deer.

The primary will be held on May 15.

Tony LaRussa is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at 724-772-6368 or [email protected] or via Twitter @TonyLaRussaTrib.

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