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Race for Pennsylvania’s 39th Legislative District one to watch | TribLIVE.com
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Race for Pennsylvania’s 39th Legislative District one to watch

Patrick Cloonan
| Friday, October 31, 2014 7:14 a.m
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Lisa Stout-Bashioum
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Rep. Rick Saccone, R-Elizabeth Township

Voters in Southeastern Allegheny and Northwestern Washington counties have two choices Tuesday in one of Pennsylvania’s more widely watched state House contests.

The 39th Legislative District contest pits two-term Republican incumbent Rick Saccone, 55, of Elizabeth Township against Democratic challenger Lisa Stout-Bashioum, 42, of Somerset Township, Washington County.

“The voters of the 39th District should vote for me because I will be an independent voice for them in Harrisburg,” said Stout-Bashioum, daughter of retired state Sen. Barry Stout. “I will never forget my roots and where I grew up, and will make sure I serve them and not myself while in office.”

Saccone said he’s kept promises he made in 2010 and 2012, including his votes for four on-time state budgets with no tax increases.

“We passed landmark legislation making drug-testing welfare recipients the law,” Saccone said. “We have provided job-inducing legislation that has allowed our energy industry to grow while protecting the environment, and reaping billions in impact fees that have been invested in our local communities.”

Both candidates have school board backgrounds. Stout-Bashioum is in her second term on the Bentworth board.

“Instead of being a rubber stamp for (Gov.) Tom Corbett or party leadership, I will stand up to both for my constituents,” she promised. “I will push to fill the Corbett education cuts and will fight for our seniors by defending the lottery and filling gaps in programs seniors rely on.”

Saccone formerly served on the Elizabeth Forward board.

“I have increased funding for schools while making it more difficult for them to raise property taxes,” Saccone said. “I will continue to champion school property tax elimination.”

Saccone stressed his efforts on behalf of Second Amendment rights; his aid to veterans, fire and emergency medical personnel; and his votes to shrink the size of the General Assembly and privatize state liquor stores.

“I have toughened the laws against child Internet sex predators,” he said. “I have worked to make government more open and accountable through my executive session legislation.”

Stout-Bashioum endorsed “a predictable and equitable formula so schools can plan for the long term,” the object of an ongoing Fair Education Funding Campaign involving business and educational organizations including the state’s intermediate units.

She would use “a dedicated portion” of a Marcellus shale extraction tax favored by Democratic gubernatorial nominee Tom Wolf to alleviate property tax burdens.

Stout-Bashioum favors “protecting the rights of workers to unionize and collectively bargain.” Saccone has been endorsed by Pennsylvania Right to Work Political Action Committee.

Saccone won his first election over longtime incumbent Democrat David Levdansky in 2010. He then rebuffed Levdansky’s comeback bid in 2012.

Levdansky said he was approached by Stout-Bashioum in the spring about running.

“If you’re interested, go for it,” Levdansky told her.

Levdansky’s former chief of staff Carol Burke said constituents told her that they do not get the service they used to get from her old boss.

“I have the most outstanding constituent service in Western Pennsylvania,” Saccone said. “I attend over 200 community events per year. It’s hard to find someone with a record that strong.”

Both candidates stress family ties. Saccone and his wife Yong have been married for 35 years and raised two sons who are officers in the Air Force. Stout-Bashioum and her husband Bob are the parents of six.

In reapportionment last year, the 39th lost Clairton despite the opposition of city officials. New Eagle and parts of South Park and Carroll were moved out as well.

Parts of South Park remain and parts of Bethel Park were added, along with all Elizabeth Township precincts formerly in the 35th District.

Elizabeth, West Elizabeth, Forward and Jefferson Hills remain in the district, while in Washington County the 39th covers Somerset, Nottingham and Union townships and Finleyville.

Patrick Cloonan is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-664-9161, ext. 1967, or pcloonan@tribweb.com.

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