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Gubernatorial candidate from Lebanon County ends 67-county swing Downtown

| Tuesday, Oct. 15, 2013, 12:03 a.m.
James Knox | Pittsburgh Tribune-Review
Jo Ellen Litz runs to a finish line tape set up by her campaign workers to kick off her visit to Allegheny County on Oct. 14, 2013, in front of the Allegheny County Courthouse, Downtown. Litz, a Lebanon County Commissioner and candidate for governor, marked the completion of her 67-county tour of Pennsylvania with her dash through the tape.

To conclude her tour of Pennsylvania's 67 counties, Lebanon County Commissioner Jo Ellen Litz broke through a finish line at the foot of the stairs to the Allegheny County Courthouse on Monday.

Her work is not over in trying to build grassroots support for her gubernatorial campaign, she said.

Litz, a four-term Democratic commissioner in a heavily Republican county, hopes her legwork around the state and her local government experience can help her overcome the fundraising and broader name recognition of some other likely challengers in the 2014 primary — Treasurer Rob McCord, former environmental protection secretaries John Hanger and Kathleen McGinty, Philadelphia-area Congresswoman Allyson Schwartz, former Revenue secretary Tom Wolf, and former auditor general Jack Wagner.

“Local government is where the rubber meets the road, where business gets done, and I want to bring that experience to Harrisburg,” Litz said. “People are looking for someone with a background in business, conservation and local government to make decisions that are above politics.”

Owner of Lebanon Body Shop and president of the Swatara Watershed Association, Litz said a priority in office would be investing in roads, bridges and schools. She pointed to her work with the Lebanon County Metropolitan Planning Organization as evidence of her experience working with state and federal officials on large transportation projects.

She said she would support a 6 percent tax on natural gas extraction to support infrastructure repair and emergency services. She wants the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources take over inspection of gas well sites so that the Department of Environmental Protection can enforce environmental regulations.

With county visits crossed off her list, Litz said she'll spend the months leading up to the primary attending county fairs, parades, Jefferson-Jackson dinners and economic summits.

“I just hope the message resonates,” she said.

Litz joined the crowded Democratic campaign trail in July.

Matthew Santoni is a Trib Total Media staff writer. Reach him at 412-380-5625 or msantoni@tribweb.com.

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