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Reed upsets Steelman

| Wednesday, Nov. 6, 2002

Dave Reed upset 12-year incumbent Sara Steelman Tuesday in Indiana County's 62nd state House District, claiming victory with 56 percent of the vote.

With 61 of 68 precincts reporting, young Republican upstart Reed won 8,211 votes while Steelman garnered 6,454 votes.

"I would say it's a surprise, but I would say we work(ed) hard," Reed said. "Anything can happen in the end."

Reed, 24, of 940 Lilac St., Indiana, was making his first foray into politics. A Homer City native and lifelong county resident, Reed recently completed the master's degree program in government administration at Indiana University of Pennsylvania.

"This is what I've wanted to do since high school," Reed said. "I think it's an honor that the people of Indiana County recognize that a young person can lead the community."

Stumping for Reed in the county was state Rep. Jeff Coleman, of the nearby 60th district, and U.S. Sen. Rick Santorum. Reed, director of a business-development group in Blairsville, will become the youngest member of the state House.

"The support from everybody from Gov. Mark Schweiker ... to Rep. (Bill) Shuster proved that we can work as a team. It's an encouraging sign for the future of our government."

Steelman, a Wichita, Kan., native, has represented Indiana County since 1990, after defeating Republican incumbent Paul Wass.

Steelman, who wished Reed luck at about 11 p.m., said she wasn't that surprised by the loss.

"Since I've never taken the seat for granted, it's usually more of a surprise to me when I win," she said. "We felt that I reasonably could expect to win it, but I wasn't shocked by losing."

Steelman said it is too early to say if she'll run for office again, but said it is possible she'll continue working with political issues.

"There are so many issues that I'm interested in, particularly in education," she said. "I can see staying involved around that. (But) it's too early to make other plans."

Reed said he looks forward to rebuilding the economy, making the state more business-friendly, and working on the property tax issue. He plans to open offices in Blairsville, Homer City and Indiana boroughs to improve "providing increased access for the people of the community to the elected officials," Reed said.

The district encompasses most of central and southern Indiana County.

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