Hample v. Mentzer

By on October 29, 2014

97th PA House race key for Lititz area residents

Charlie Hample, 41-year-old Democrat/ life-long Lititz resident, is a special education teacher at School District of Lancaster.

 

Steve Mentzer, 58-year-old Republican incumbent from Manheim Township.

 

The Lititz Record Express asked eight questions that don’t necessarily reflect on state business. Some questions gauge a candidate’s knowledge of pressing local issues (affecting readers/constituents) that may help provide a broader profile of how a candidate will legislate on a broader level.

 

  1. What is the single most important issue facing this elected office, and what is your platform on this issue?
  2. What is your assessment of Rock Lititz, now and for the future of this region?
  3. What is your position on the increase of alcohol-themed events and businesses in Lititz region?
  4. What is your position on the legalization of marijuana in Pennsylvania?
  5. What is your position on the legalization of gay marriage in Pennsylvania?
  6. What does the Lititz area need most: more hotels, a traffic bypass, a parking garage, other?
  7. Is the Lititz region changing for the good or bad, and what role will you have in guiding that change?
  8. Why do you want to be an elected representative for this constituency?

 

Charlie Hample (D)

Charlie Hample

Charlie Hample

1. Tax reform and economic growth. We must fairly distribute the tax burden on individuals and all corporations operating in the Commonwealth. Property owners, especially seniors, are getting squeezed with annual increases in their property taxes. Meanwhile, natural gas companies have successfully avoided a severance tax and other corporations avoid paying taxes by incorporating in Delaware. I find that unacceptable! As your representative I would work hard to freeze property taxes, impose a reasonable severance tax on gas drillers and close the Delaware loophole. In addition, I understand the importance of local entrepreneurs and small businesses that form the backbone of our community. I will advocate for tax credits and state grants to increase small business activity in all of our communities throughout Lititz, Warwick and Manheim Township. As your representative, I will use the fullest extent of my office to rebuild our economy and create permanent, family-sustaining jobs.

2. Neighbors and new friends made while campaigning have approached me to discuss their concerns about the noise and vibrations coming from Rock Lititz. Obviously, Clair Brothers, Tait Towers and Atomic Design have been strong community partners historically. They are also industry leaders with the financial resources and technical wherewithal to correct the problems. My role right now is to listen and lend my support to those being affected. I vow to continue standing with, supporting and listening to the concerns of neighbors, friends and constituents. Our elected leaders must show up – after the ribbon cuttings, after the launch parties, after the fundraisers, after the dust settles – and be there for the people!

3. Lititz continuously bustles with events of all types which promote our town and fill our business district with local residents and tourists alike. I don’t believe we can judge events on the basis of alcohol use. However, borough officials should request reports from law enforcement as to any increase in noise, traffic problems, vandalism, or public drunkenness during these events as compared to other types of events and take appropriate action if necessary.

4. Medical marijuana improves the quality of life for many persons suffering from chronic pain, debilitating conditions and diseases that other medicines simply cannot address. Pennsylvanians understand this and our laws should be amended immediately to permit medical marijuana.

5. This is about discrimination – something our Constitution clearly prohibits. All citizens of the Commonwealth should enjoy the same rights, protected by law and enforced without prejudice. Rights should not be qualified by a list of which citizens get them and which do not. I will support and uphold our Constitution.

6. Lititz needs its residents to remain informed and active in charting a course for the future. After meeting with the mayor last week and in talking with small business owners, there is a growing consensus that a parking garage is needed. More parking brings more business, while a bypass does not. But one does not necessarily trump the other. A full regional development plan that reflects the will of local residents must guide our decision making. We need to encourage entrepreneurial investment but with an eye to maintaining what has earned us the title of “Coolest Small Town in America.”

7. The impact of development is felt throughout Warwick and Manheim and Township. It brings increased traffic, greater demands on our schools and infrastructure, and changes the landscape of our communities, including the “Coolest Small Town in America.” Too much development will not suit us well but resisting progress will lead to economic stagnation. I would lend the support of my office if needed in the creation of a regional development plan that reflects the will of local residents and guides our decision making.

8. I want to represent the residents of the 97th House District because I want them to be heard! The voices of reason and responsibility have been lost in the babble of Harrisburg.

I want to reverse policies that place profits over people, constrain our school boards by favoring privatization and cyber schools, disregard the health and safety of our children, and abdicate any role and responsibility of government in growing and sustaining our economy.

My leadership will be about building consensus across party lines for the ideas that fundamentally change how we govern ourselves. I promise that my ideas will be bold, pragmatic and based on research and documentation and not on party politics or labels. I will listen and compromise but I will not back down from a problem until it is solved. That’s what a new perspective can bring to Harrisburg.

Steve Mentzer (R)

Steve Mentzer

Steve Mentzer

1. The most important issue facing the state legislature is the lack of new, bold fresh ideas that will help us to reach across the divide to get things done and solve some of our biggest challenges. The electorate is restless, tired of strident ideology and gridlock. They demand creative problem solvers, not excuse makers or perpetuators of the status quo. I went to Harrisburg to get things done for my constituents and that is why I have been leading the charge to enact new ideas for transforming and modernizing state government, not just repackaging old concepts. For example, I have a bill (HB 2481) awaiting the governor’s signature that will allow the State Treasury Department to partner with other states to begin processing their State Supplement Payments currently being administered by the Social Security Administration (SSA). This innovative managed service program will help sister states save significant money while Pennsylvania earns substantial revenues for processing their monthly payments. That means more money to fund education and pension reform in Pennsylvania. This is but one example of what can be accomplished when we apply new, bold fresh ideas to solving the problems that ail us. I accomplished this by working tirelessly with my fellow legislators and, most importantly, by reaching across the aisle to Democrats. I didn’t get that support by yelling names that antagonizes and demeans them. I strongly believe that we can solve the pension mess, education funding, rebuilding our infrastructure, property tax reform and other problems with new creative ideas and a can-do-spirit. People want the problems in Harrisburg solved. They want action. And they want the partisan bickering to stop. I couldn’t agree with them more.

 2. Rock Lititz is a wonderful asset not just for Lititz, but for all of Pennsylvania. With its new Rock Lititz Studio, it has the potential to make Pennsylvania very attractive to the concert tour industry. That means tons of new, family sustaining jobs for our region, a significant infusion of intellectual and financial capital, increased revenue and a strengthened tax base. Who wouldn’t want that in their community?

At a time when many municipalities are seeking Act 47 assistance (distressed municipalities), initiatives like Rock Lititz only add to the fiscal stability of Lancaster County, Lititz and its surrounding communities. Either you are growing or you are dying. It’s that simple. Unlike many high growth areas, Lititz has chosen to grow in a strategic, planned manner in an effort to preserve our traditional way of life.

However, that is not to discount some of the concerns that have been brought forward by neighbors regarding unintended low-end vibrations experienced in their homes. But, whenever you do something so different, so out of the box such as Rock Lititz (the first of its kind in the world), you are bound to have some growing pains and issues that you are going to have to work through. Rock Lititz and Warwick Township have taken these concerns seriously and are in the midst of developing a plan for their resolution. I will assist in the process anyway I can.

Once resolved, I am confident that Rock Lititz, its industry clustering concept and our community will be a worldwide standard. One in which we are all proud of.

3. Lititz is in a midst of a renaissance. From being voted America’s Coolest Small Town in 2013 to numerous new shops and eateries, Lititz is the place to be on almost any given day. It is one of Pennsylvania’s and Lancaster’s best destination spots.

These accolades are due primarily to our wonderful downtown business community, the vision of Lititz Borough Council, cooperation of neighboring communities, Venture Lititz and most importantly our citizens. Several years ago, there was a study that showed local residents and their discretionary dollars were leaving the Lititz/Warwick area to eat out. With the addition of several new eateries and a bustling calendar of events for the downtown area, it appears that we are now keeping more of those dollars locally, as well as importing discretionary dollars from neighboring communities.

While some view the promotion of alcohol as a detriment to the community, the reality of the restaurant business is that most will not locate to an area if they cannot sell alcohol, due to tight food profit margins. Thus, if the Lititz/Warwick area wants to keep dollars from leaving our community and to encourage investment in local food establishments, permitting the responsible sale of alcohol seems to be necessary. Furthermore, Pennsylvania has some of the most restrictive laws nationwide on the sale and distribution of alcohol. As part of this regulatory network, substantial input is given to local government officials.

4. I am opposed to legalizing recreational use of marijuana, period.

5. I support that marriage is between one man and one woman. The Federal and the Commonwealth constitutions have established a procedure for the protection of rights of minority groups. As an elected official, I am bound to support the procedure and the decisions that comply with the Federal and Commonwealth constitutions.

6. The Lititz/Warwick area is to be commended for being one of the first communities in Lancaster County to have a joint strategic plan establishing economic development priorities for our region. As one of the region’s state elected officials, I believe it is important to work in a coordinated effort with our local leaders to implement our community’s objectives.

Clearly, our community has a lot of exciting economic development activities underway, whether it is the Rock Lititz industrial campus or the redevelopment of the downtown area. It is important as a public official to support sound economic development issues and balance them with preserving our quality of life and historical landmarks.

As the Lititz area continues grow, I will assist our local leaders in making responsible decisions and advocate for those decisions in Harrisburg.

8. Lititz is the envy of many communities. We need to keep this momentum going. Accordingly, I will continue to work closely with our local business and community leaders to assist them in any way possible.

9.  It is an honor to represent a district steeped in historical traditions which has chosen to become part of the 21st century economy. As we move forward, it requires an individual who is capable of leading and able to reach a political consensus.

I spent the first 25 years of my career in the private sector with a large financial institution. The next ten years was spent establishing a not for profit organization that provides humanitarian aid to one very poor country in the Americas. I would like to continue to use these talents to lead and represent the 97th district in the Pennsylvania General Assembly.

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