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Bullskin businessman to run for Pa. Senate seat

| Saturday, Jan. 18, 2014, 12:01 a.m.
Pat Stefano
Pat Stefano

Pat Stefano, a local small businessman and community leader, has announced his intention to run for the state Senate seat for the 32nd District.

The district includes all of Fayette and Somerset counties, and part of Westmoreland County.

“I share the views of many local residents — that our elected officials in Harrisburg have stopped listening to us, despite the fact that our tax dollars pay the bills,” Stefano said. “I will listen and will always put the needs of the communities in the 32nd District first to protect taxpayers, help grow our economy and more.”

Stefano is a lifelong resident of Fayette County and the third generation to run the family printing company, Stefano's Printing. He worked full-time there while attending Penn State Fayette, The Eberly Campus where he earned an associate degree in business administration.

Stefano worked in the family business for the next 29 years, including the past 10 years as owner and operator. He said his skills managing budgets, controlling costs and meeting a payroll have provided him with the common sense and real-world experience needed in Harrisburg.

“In the coming months, I will work hard to meet with residents in each community so they know where I stand and what my priorities will be in office: fighting for our jobs, leading on government reform, controlling spending to protect taxpayers and meeting the needs of local families and seniors,” Stefano said. “My focus will never be on politics; instead, I will work with legislators and local officials from either party to best serve and support local taxpayers.”

Stefano is a founding member of the county's Buy Local Steering Committee.

Stefano is vice president of the Fayette County Chamber of Commerce and a member of the Greater Connellsville and Morgantown chambers of commerce. He has worked countywide as a board member of the Fay-Penn Economic Development Council. His knowledge and relationships in Western Pennsylvania will enable him to hit the ground running when it comes to economic development, he said.

“We cannot expect our national or local economy to grow when government continues to put up road blocks to hinder economic progress like Obamacare or the president's war on our coal industry,” Stefano said. “I've been in the private sector for nearly thirty years and understand the problems small businesses face (when) trying to maintain good paying jobs. I'll fight for our jobs and to restore common-sense policies in Harrisburg to help job creators.”

Stefano has never run for office, so he is traveling the district to meet with and listen to residents to develop a comprehensive “lead by example” plan of action, he said. A key component of his plan will be to address the need for strong reforms in Harrisburg.

“I don't have all the answers, but I can promise you that I will never vote to increase my own pay and I will not accept a taxpayer-paid pension,” Stefano said. “I will pay for a portion of my health care like many of us already do. I will not accept costly taxpayer-paid per diems and pledge to post all office expenses online to help restore the public's trust in government and to lead by example on reform.”

Stefano and his wife, Tina Tesauro-Stefano, reside in Bullskin Township and have four children in the Connellsville Area School District.

His father, Jim, is a longtime teacher.

Stefano said he is a strong supporter of quality education, and that's why he backed the Legislature's restoration of education funding when it was not included in the governor's draft budget.

Stefano will focus money on the classroom and on students, and will work to ensure teachers have the tools they need to succeed.

“My wife and I have seen how a quality education has helped our children succeed,” Stefano said. “I will stand up to anyone who tries to short-change our children's education.”

Known for his years of service to civic and nonprofit organizations in the community, Stefano is a lifetime board member of the American Heart Association, where he has volunteered more than 20 years — including two terms as president.

He has been active helping Junior Achievement, Rotary Club of Connellsville, YMCA of Laurel Highlands, Downtown Connellsville and Boy Scouts Troop 180.

“My decision to run for the state Senate was not one that I or my family took lightly. But after many discussions and much soul-searching, the opportunity to help even more people inspired me to run,” Stefano said. “I see this as a continuation of my many years of community service.”

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