Three seek Smith's House seat in special election

Matthew Santoni
| Saturday, May 4, 2013, 8:59 p.m.

Three Mt. Lebanon residents are vying for former state Rep. Matt Smith's seat in a special election on this month's primary ballot.

The election is necessary because Smith, D-Mt. Lebanon, ran for and won State Sen. John Pippy's seat in the fall after Pippy resigned. The winner of the election will fill the remaining year of Smith's term in the House, representing all of Green Tree, Mt. Lebanon and Thornburg, and parts of Bethel Park and Scott.

Democrat Dan Miller pointed extensively to his four years on the Mt. Lebanon Board of Commissioners as evidence of his ability to reform government.

“While some people may use the language and talk the talk, I'm the only one with a record, who's walked the walk,” he said.

On the commission, he pushed to prohibit borrowing for road maintenance, and oversaw the municipality's takeover of its independent parking authority — experience he said could apply to dealing with PennDOT or the Turnpike Commission. He said in Harrisburg, he'd also push for lengthening legislators' terms so they aren't perpetually running for re-election, and limiting the number of terms they can serve.

Republican Dan Remely is focusing his pitch on what he'd like to do for Pennsylvania businesses: reduce corporate taxes, let companies write off losses on research and development, reduce regulations and raise the project cost threshold for contractors subject to the state's prevailing-wage law.

He supports phasing in liquor-store privatization and using money from selling licenses to temporarily boost education funding and help former state store employees find new jobs.

As a member of the Mt. Lebanon school board for the past seven years, Remely said he's seen rising district employee pension obligations drive up budgets, and said he would press for pension reform in the House. “I think anyone running for public office should have to serve four years on a school board to know what it's like. You don't please anybody a lot of the time ... but when you go to graduation and see the students, it's not a thankless job then,” Remely said.

He is also running for re-election to the school board. If he wins the 42nd seat, he'd be forced to resign from the board.

Libertarian candidate George Brown acknowledged he is the “long-shot” candidate, but said he was reaching out to independents and those who might be dissatisfied with the two main parties.

“What I'd try to do is encourage people on both sides to put me on committees ... to work on some common-sense legislation,” Brown said.

Matthew Santoni is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-380-5625 or msantoni@tribweb.com.

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