ShareThis Page
Penn Hills

Erin Vecchio challenges longtime Rep. Tony DeLuca in Democratic primary

Michael DiVittorio
| Thursday, May 3, 2018, 1:03 p.m.
Penn Hills school board President Erin Vecchio lost to state Rep. Tony DeLuca, D-Penn Hills, in the Democratic primary for the 32nd District seat.
Penn Hills school board President Erin Vecchio lost to state Rep. Tony DeLuca, D-Penn Hills, in the Democratic primary for the 32nd District seat.

Penn Hills School Board President Erin Vecchio said she hopes to achieve something no other politician has been able to do in more than three decades: defeat state Rep. Tony DeLuca.

Both enter the May 15 primary seeking the Democratic nod for the 32nd District seat, which covers Penn Hills, Verona, Blawnox and parts of O'Hara and Plum. No Republican is running in the district.

DeLuca has been the area's representative since 1983. It would be his 17th two-year term should he go on to win the general election in November. The last time he had a primary challenger was in 2014. DeLuca won with nearly 77 percent of the vote.

Vecchio, 59, a 1977 Penn Hills graduate, previously served on the school board from 1998 to 2009; her current term began in 2016.

Vecchio said her platform is about campaign finance reform, investment in local startup companies, particularly those developing renewable resources, decriminalizing marijuana possession, gradually raising the minimum wage to $15 per hour within the next several years and taxing natural gas companies to increase revenue for education and to lower property taxes.

“We need to tax the export of Marcellus Shale,” she said. “Every other state does it but (Pennsylvania). That would fund your school district. People across the nation are decriminalizing marijuana and taxing it. We're so far behind on producing results for our taxpayers it's ridiculous. The polls show this is what they want. We have to start producing for our taxpayers instead of not.”

DeLuca, 80, said he is running on his record and on the merit of legislation he has proposed.

“I'm not going to take anything for granted,” DeLuca said. “We're going to run on our record. I've been able to forge a relationship with both my colleagues and the majority party in the House and been able to move legislation. I'm interested in health care issues, and we're going to continue on working on behalf of our constituents. I've always worked for everybody. Even though I'm a Democrat, I drop the label once I'm (in Harrisburg). I'm proud of my staff and the work they produce.”

Last month, the House passed a bill authored by DeLuca that would establish state health standards and a central registry for the tattoo and body piercing industry.

DeLuca recently introduced legislation that would require school districts to be more transparent with separation and settlement agreements with departing staff and limit the amount of times a school district could raise taxes beyond the state's Act 1 index formula without consent from taxpayers.

He also proposed bills that would establish early voting procedures and same-day voter registration; limit legislators' outside income to 35 percent of their base legislative salary; and require candidates holding a political office to resign their office prior to running for a new elected position. So far, they have not been approved by the House.

“My bills are about accountability and accessibility,” he said. “Earning and keeping the public trust are a public official's most important responsibilities.”

Michael DiVittorio is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at 412-871-2367, or via Twitter @MikeJdiVittorio.

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.

click me