44th District hopefuls cite record, experience

| Wednesday, Oct. 31, 2012, 8:58 p.m.

Each candidate for the state House of Representatives' 44th District seat says his record in public office gives him an advantage in the Nov. 6 election.

Democrat Mark Scappe is challenging Republican incumbent T. Mark Mustio for the seat Mustio has held since 2003.

The 44th District includes all or parts of 15 municipalities, including Aleppo, Ben Avon, Edgeworth, Haysville, Moon, North Fayette, Ohio Township and Sewickley.

Mustio, 55, of North Fayette, co-owner of HHM Insurors in Moon, points to his legislative record as the reason voters should re-elect him.

He cited his sponsorship of a 2005 anti-windfall bill. The resulting law requires Allegheny County and its municipalities to lower millage rates after countywide property reassessments so revenue is equal to the previous year.

He and former state Sen. John Pippy, also a Republican, worked to get funding in place for projects such as the Findlay Connector and the Cherrington Parkway Extension.

The $224 million Findlay Connector starts at Interstate 376 West in Findlay and ends at Route 22 in Washington County, and the $14 million Cherrington Parkway Extension connects the parkway to Ewing Road in Moon.

“I would like to continue the infrastructure funding in my next term,” said Mustio, who said such improvements are critical to attracting businesses.

Scappe, 51, of Moon, co-owns engineering firm RBS Consultants Inc. in Coraopolis. He cited his service as a Moon Area School District board member for 12 years, until December 2011, and his current chairmanship of the Moon Area Transportation Authority as qualifications. The authority has completed $250 million worth of construction projects on Interstate 376, he said.

It also partnered on the Cherrington Parkway Extension.

Mustio and Scappe differ on the approach government should take to regulation of the Marcellus shale industry.

Scappe believes that an extraction tax should be levied upon drillers, which should be subject to more oversight, even though the industry is creating jobs, he said.

“But with my engineering background, that can also help ... take a look at what they are doing to the community when they're going in to do that drilling,” he said.

Mustio, however, thinks an additional tax on drilling companies would push companies out of state, he said.

Scappe, who is the father of two adult sons, and Mustio, who is the father of an adult daughter and son, said protecting education funding and keeping government agencies' pension costs in check should be paramount.

Tory N. Parrish is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-380-5662 or tparrish@tribweb.com.

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