Residents in the state’s 25th District will choose a replacement for longtime state Rep. Joe Markosek.
Markosek, D-Monroeville, is retiring after more than 35 years in office.
His son, Brandon Markosek, 25, of Monroeville, seeks to continue his father’s work.
“Seeing the positive impact that my father’s had on this district has really rubbed off on me,” he said. “I’ve been hearing the concerns of the constituency and asking, ‘How can I help you?’ I’m here to be not my voice, but to be a voice of the constituency.”
His challenger is Steve Schlauch, 35, of Plum, the borough’s Republican Committee chairman since 2013.
“We can do better for the people at the state level, and the people deserve better than what we’re getting from our state government,” Schlauch said
The district covers East McKeesport, East Pittsburgh, Monroeville, North Versailles Township, Pitcairn, Wall, Wilmerding and a large part of Plum. Voters will have their voices heard at the Nov. 6 election.
The young Markosek’s political experience includes summer internships at the State Capital and nearly two years as a community outreach representative for state Sen. James Brewster, D-McKeesport.
He said he wants to improve economic growth and education spending while ensuring senior citizens have access to quality healthcare and transportation.
“We’ve seen companies like Bechtel move into the district,” Markosek said. “I want to make it a point to bring more jobs to the area.”
He commended the apprenticeship programs offered at Forbes Road Career & Technology Center in Monroeville.
Markosek said schools need more funding, particularly in special education, to ensure all children have the same opportunities to succeed.
“That is an issue that I’ve heard from parents and students,” he said. “So students can graduate on time and so that all students have the same access to education.”
Markosek also addressed concerns people had about his age and alleged lack of time in the district.
He said a family issue caused him to move to Harrisburg as a child and spend weekends in Monroeville for 13 years.
“That was out of my control and occurred when I was very small,” he said. “Just because I did not go to school here doesn’t mean I was not here. I’ve learned many issues that are affecting a lot of different people across the entire district. Age is not an issue at all. I feel I have the practical and educational experience to be the best state rep for the district. I think these voters will decide who is the best candidate.”
Schlauch served on the Plum School District board of directors the past three years and sits as its current president and finance committee chairman. He said Pennsylvania needs a fiscal overhaul.
“Taxes are high, job growth is lacking, the pension crises is weighing down the state budget and putting a significant burden on local school districts as well as property owners,” Schlauch said. “We need to bring back jobs and businesses to Pennsylvania through lower taxes and limited regulations, which will also put more money in people’s pockets.”
Schlauch said he will not take a state pension or per diem.
Markosek said he will take “legally approved expenses.”
Schlauch opposes the federally mandated Common Core curriculum, which he said “indoctrinates rather than educates the students.”
“They’re so focused on standardized testing that it takes valuable instructional time away from the teachers teaching the students,” he said.
The opioid crisis is another matter he intends to address.
“I want to work with community leaders, teachers and law enforcement to find solutions to fight the drug abuse and opioid crises that is hurting families,” Schlauch said. “I don’t think this is a problem that can be strictly solved by the government bureaucrats.”
More information about Markosek is available at markosek4pa.com.
More information about Schlauch is available at schlauch4staterep.com.
Michael DiVittorio is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Michael at 412-871-2367, [email protected] or via Twitter @MikeJdiVittorio.