Fee wins 37th District seat Defeats challenger Stahley in bid to replace Creighton

By on November 7, 2012

By: RICHARD REITZ Record Express Correspondent, Staff Writer

Photo by Preston WhitcraftDemocratic candidate Russel Stahley greets voters at the Elizabeth Township municipal building Tuesday morning.

The voters of the 37th District in the Pa. House of Representatives favored Republican Mindy Fee in her bid to replace outgoing Rep. Tom Creighton, who is stepping down after serving five terms in the House.

Fee defeated challenger Russell Stahley by a final vote of 20,883 to 7,642.

Fee was celebrating her victory with fellow Republicans in Lancaster on Tuesday evening, although most eyes in the room were up on the big screen, nervously watching the national results in the presidential race that eventually went for Barack Obama.

"It has been a great, great experience," Fee said about her first run for public office. "I thank my supporters. I am humbled and very excited to head to Harrisburg and get to work."

A former sales executive with TransAmerican Office Furniture, at the forefront of Fee’s mind is finding ways to help small businesses.

"I plan to address the concerns that small business owners have about costly regulations that make it more difficult for them to earn wages to support their families," she said.

"I want to do what I can to help people get back to work, and bring a conservative approach to our economic problems," Fee added.

Both candidates were busy at the polls bright and early on Tuesday. Stahley arrived at the Elizabeth Township Municipal Building a half hour before polls opened at 7 a.m., and found a crowd of voters already lined up, braving brisk temperatures but eager to cast their votes.

"I’ve had some very engaging conversations this morning," Stahley said. "I talked with a lot of people who really seemed to understand the issues."

Stahley, a retired pastor of 38 years and a Manheim resident, met with voters and offered them a letter that outlined his positions on a number of issues.

He cited the need for education reform as one of his key issues.

"It’s not simply about giving more money to schools, it’s about equity in how much money each school is receiving," he said, pointing out that some districts receive nearly four times as much as others per student. "Some kids are getting left out. We need to fix that."

Stahley also expressed his support for maintaining the state liquor stores, and his personal opposition to legislative perks like pensions and other benefits.

It was the second time he had attempted to run for this office, and said he "enjoyed meeting with people and talking to them" while on the campaign trail.

Fee also started her day at 6:30 a.m., traveling to several polling areas throughout the 37th District, which stretches along the northeastern section of Lancaster County from Mount Joy to Adamstown. She also saw voters who said they were waiting 45 minutes before the polls opened.

"It’s been a great turnout so far," Fee said shortly after noon during a visit to the Adamstown polling location at St. Paul’s Lutheran Church. "Everywhere I’ve been, I’m meeting a lot of first-time voters. That’s great."

Like many of the poll workers, she found that most of the people she talked to had already made up their minds about the candidates they were going to support. "People are really doing their research, which is a good thing," she said.

Both Fee and Stahley were energized and enthusiastic about meeting with voters.

"A tough primary battle certainly prepared me for this," Fee said. "It has been very interesting; a great experience and positive overall."

She is also grateful for her family’s support throughout the campaign.

Fee lives in Manheim and has three children. Her late husband, Tom Fee, was the former mayor of Manheim and was district justice when he passed away in September 2011. More 37TH DISTRICT, page A4

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