Joe Pittman, longtime aide to state. Sen. Don White, wins GOP nomination to replace him
A longtime aide to five-term state Sen. Don White on Thursday won the Republican nomination to replace his former boss.
Joe Pittman, 42, of Indiana, Indiana County — who served as White’s chief of staff for 19 years — secured the unanimous support of the Republican Party of Pennsylvania in the race for the 41st District during a meeting at Lenape Heights Golf Resort in Ford City.
The 41st District includes Indiana, Armstrong, and parts of Butler and Westmoreland counties.
The seat has been vacant since White announced his resignation in late February. There were two years left in White’s term.
GOP Chairman Val DiGiorgio praised Pittman as a “conservative leader who will be an ally in a Republican-led agenda that will keep taxes low, our economy thriving and our values respected.”
Pittman will face off against Democratic nominee Susan Boser, 62, an Indiana University of Pennsylvania professor. Boser made an unsuccessful run for Congress last fall against incumbent Republican Rep. Glenn Thompson.
The special election is set to coincide with the May 21 primary.
Pittman pitches himself as a “pro-family values” candidate with more than two decades of experience as a public servant and community leader.
“Serving as a problem-solving senator will be my top priority, working to promote common-sense solutions that improve the everyday lives of hard-working men and women in this district,” Pittman said in a statement.
If elected, Pittman said he will push for “the responsible growth and production of our state’s God-given natural gas and coal resources.” He said he also wants to prepare local workers for shifting demands in the energy and manufacturing sectors and improve infrastructure and broadband access in rural communities.
At age 18, shortly after graduating from Purchase Line High School, Pittman was appointed to serve on his alma mater’s school board. He was re-elected to a full term on the school board in 1997, and he served until his graduation from Penn State in 1998.
Pittman worked on White’s campaign in 2000 and was named his chief of staff at age 23.
“Beyond my experience as Sen. White’s Chief of Staff,” said Pittman, “I have been active and engaged in our community in many ways.”
Pittman serves on the board of directors for the Purchase Line Red Dragon Foundation, a nonprofit that provides scholarships to high school graduates, and on the board overseeing the United Way of Indiana County. He’s also a member of the National Rifle Association, Ford City Sportsmen’s Association, William Penn Association No. 88 and the Indiana-Franklin Lodge No. 313.
Pittman and his wife, Gina, have four children, two boys and twin girls. They’re members of St. Thomas More University Parish in Indiana.
Among others seeking the Republican nomination was Ross Walker III, an Upper Burrell supervisor. Walker operates the Ross G. Walker Funeral Home in New Kensington.
Natasha Lindstrom is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Natasha at 412-380-8514, [email protected] or via Twitter .