Saccone, Levdansky stage rematch in 39th District
Two years ago, Elizabeth Township Republican Rick Saccone narrowly defeated Elizabeth Democrat David Levdansky for state House in the 39th District.
They meet again Tuesday.
“I am running to protect taxpayers and the public interest,” said Levdansky, 58, who first was elected in 1984. “The big-money special interest agenda has taken control of Harrisburg.”
Levdansky said he “demonstrated leadership by standing up to party bosses and special interests,” voted against pay raises and rejected unvouchered expense accounts and cost-of-living increases.
“I believed our government and our state was headed in the wrong direction,” said Saccone, 54, who would “put this state back on track of fiscal solvency and honest government.”
Saccone said budgets were late throughout Gov. Ed Rendell's administration, “24 legislators were under indictment for corruption and career politicians were feathering their own nests at our expense.” In his term, Saccone said lawmakers “delivered two on-time budgets” and he joined “a few other legislators” in rejecting a pension.
If sent back to Harrisburg, Levdansky pledged “legislation to give state companies first crack at all state contracts, require those companies to hire local workers and prevent taxpayer support for any company that outsources jobs.”
Levdansky also would “close corporate tax loopholes (to) generate the revenue we need to invest in public education” and press anew a proposal to cut school property taxes for homeowners by 50 percent.
Also, Levdansky said, “I will work to restore funding to public education and focus on making critical investments in science, technology and math to prepare our children for jobs in the new economy.”
“In 2010 I told the voters that property tax reform would be my number one priority,” Saccone said. His bill imposing a moratorium on reassessements passed the House three times but failed in the Senate.
Saccone is a prime co-sponsor of House Bill 1776, which would replace school property and other levies with a single sales tax. While that bill remains stuck in the House Appropriations Committee, Saccone said, “citizens overwhelmingly support it.”
Saccone also supports the Castle Doctrine “to allow citizens to defend themselves in their own homes.” In 2011 Gov. Tom Corbett signed an expansion of the law allowing deadly force in self-defense.
Saccone also supported drug-testing of welfare recipients that was implemented earlier this year. He backed a bill to shrink the House from 203 to 153 seats. It passed there but remains in the Senate State Government Committee.
“I have held scores of town hall meetings and I have attended over 300 community events from Eagle Scout ceremonies to parades and fireman's banquets,” Saccone said. “I have been the most accessible legislator in the history of this seat.”
Noting that Saccone has one office in Jefferson Hills, Levdansky said, “I operated two full-time offices in Elizabeth and Finleyville and part-time satellite offices in Clairton, South Park and New Eagle.”
Both men have extensive and diverse backgrounds. Each have diplomas from Elizabeth Forward High School.
Levdansky, the son of a steelworker and grandson of coal miners, received two bachelor's degrees from Penn State in labor studies and political science and a master's in economics from Notre Dame.
In the House he worked his way to the chairmanship of the Finance Committee, served on the Game and Fisheries, Environmental Resources and Energy and Democratic Policy committees and was treasurer of the Legislative Budget and Finance Committee.
Saccone served more than a decade in United States Air Force counterintelligence, was a television news anchor in South Korea, worked with corporations operating in South Korea and Central America and even was a diplomat for a time in North Korea.
Saccone earned a doctorate from the University of Pittsburgh, taught political science and international courses at St. Vincent College and was a civilian agent with the Army in Iraq. He served on the Elizabeth Township Area EMS board as well as the Elizabeth Forward school board.
Saccone is married with two sons who followed their father into the Air Force. Levdansky is the father of three sons.
Those endorsing Levdansky include Conservation Voters of Pennsylvania; Clean Water Action; the state AFL-CIO and various unions including the United Steelworkers and United Mine Workers, CeaseFirePA and the National Association of Social Workers.
Those endorsing Saccone include the Pennsylvania Pro-Life Federation, National Rifle Association, Firearm Owners Against Crime, Pennsylvania Coalition of Taxpayer Associations, National Federation of Independent Businesses, Citizens Alliance of Pennsylvania and Eagle Forum.
Saturday: 56th Legislative District.
Patrick Cloonan is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-664-9161, ext. 1967, or firstname.lastname@example.org.