Lower Burrell Republican hopes to challenge incumbent state Sen. Jim Brewster | TribLIVE.com
Valley News Dispatch

Lower Burrell Republican hopes to challenge incumbent state Sen. Jim Brewster

Mary Ann Thomas
Nicole Ziccarelli

A New Kensington-based attorney and mother of four wants to challenge state Sen. Jim Brewster, D-McKeesport, for his seat in the 2020 general election.

Nicole Ziccarelli, a Republican, announced she is running for Brewster’s seat in the 45th Senatorial District, which includes the Alle-Kiski Valley communities including Plum, Arnold, Lower Burrell, New Kensington, Allegheny Township, East Vandergrift, Hyde Park, Vandergrift and West Leechburg as well as the Mon Valley.

In a news release issued this week, Ziccarelli, 38, said she is running to provide a “fresh voice” in the state Senate.

“We need a strong advocate to stand up for what’s most important — job creation, what’s best for kids and families, improved infrastructure and quality, affordable health care,” Ziccarelli said in the release.

Ziccarelli is the first Republican to announce a run for the GOP nomination. The 2020 primary election is April 28.

Brewster, a former mayor of McKeesport, has been a state senator since 2010 when he won the seat vacated by state Sen. Sean Logan, D-Plum.

Brewster said he was not surprised to be challenged in a presidential election year.

“We’re doing a good job, there’s a lot going on in the country,” he said.

“We’re going to rely on the hard work we have done,” Brewster said. “We’re going to keep doing what we’re doing.”

Ziccarelli has lived in the geographical end points of the 45th District: She is a McKeesport Area High School graduate who currently lives in Lower Burrell with her husband, Frank John Ziccarelli, and four young children. She is a graduate of Penn State University and Penn State Dickinson School of Law.

Since 2013, Ziccarelli has had her own law firm, practicing in New Kensington in family law, mediation, estate planning and real estate. She also serves as a court-appointed guardian for children.

While a student at Penn State, Ziccarelli was named by then-Gov. Mark Schweiker to a three-year term as the student trustee on the university’s board of trustees. She secured internships with Walt Disney World, Eat’n Park Hospitality Group and then-U.S. Rep. Jerry Weller, R-Ill.

During law school, Ziccarelli earned a legal research fellowship with the U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission in Washington, D.C., and served as a summer law clerk for the late Pennsylvania Supreme Court Chief Justice Ralph J. Cappy and the Allegheny County District Attorney’s Office.

Mary Ann Thomas is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Mary at 724-226-4691, [email protected] or via Twitter .

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