Elections

CDT Voters Guide — 2016 presidential election

Election Day is Nov. 8.
Election Day is Nov. 8. Centre Daily Times, file

Polls open 7 a.m. to 8 p.m.

This Voters Guide may be taken into the voting booth.

FOR ELECTION INFORMATION

Contact your county Board of Elections or visit www.VotesPA.com. The League of Women Voters of Pennsylvania Citizen Information Center also provides election information. Call 717-234-1576 with any questions or go to www.Vote411.org.

ABOUT THIS GUIDE

The material in this Guide was compiled by the League of Women Voters of Pennsylvania-Citizen Education Fund. This material may not be altered or reprinted without the permission of the League. Each candidate’s reply has been printed as submitted. Candidates were invited to participate in the Vote411 online voters’ guide sponsored by the LWVPA-CEF and Patriot-News/PennLive via email. All reasonable efforts were made to encourage candidates to participate.

The candidates listed are those whose names appear on the ballot as of Sept. 30. They are listed according to their ballot order.

Nothing in this guide should be construed as an endorsement or non-endorsement of any candidate, party or initiative by the League of Women Voters of Pennsylvania-Citizen Education Fund.

ABSENTEE VOTING

Registered voters who are ill, disabled or will be absent from the municipality on Election Day may vote by absentee ballot. Completed applications for civilian absentee ballots must be received by the county Board of Elections by 5 p.m. Tuesday. Completed civilian absentee ballots must be received back at the Board of Elections by 5 p.m. Friday. If an emergency arises (unexpected illness or business trip) after the Tuesday application deadline, call the county Board of Elections for information on emergency absentee voting. Proof of emergency may be required. An emergency application and ballot can be obtained and voted by 5 p.m. Friday. Any disabled voter having questions regarding the accessibility of a polling place should consult the county Board of Elections.

WRITE-IN VOTING

Information for write-in voting will be available at the polling place.

ELECTION DAY PROBLEMS

If your right to vote is challenged at the polls on Election Day and the problem cannot be resolved at the polling place, the judge of elections at the polling place should telephone the county Board of Elections. The problem could be resolved by phone if your name appears on the county records. If it does not and you want to try to resolve the problem, then you can go in person to the county Board of Elections where a judge from the Court of Common Pleas will be on duty to resolve election problems. Alternatively you can ask for and vote by provisional ballot. If it is later determined that you were eligible to vote your ballot will be counted. You will be given instructions on how to determine if your vote was counted.

If you have any questions or need to report any problems, call 866-OUR-VOTE for assistance in English or Spanish or 888-API-VOTE for assistance in Asian languages.

IDENTIFICATION REQUIREMENTS FOR NEW VOTERS

If you are a new voter or if you are voting at a polling place for the first time, then you must bring your voter ID card or a photo ID such as a driver’s license, student ID or some other form of federal or state government issued ID. Some forms of non-photo ID are also acceptable such as a firearm permit, current utility bill, bank statement, paycheck or government check. If you do not have any acceptable ID, then you must be allowed to vote by provisional ballot.

If you are not a new voter and are not voting at your polling place for the first time, you are not required to bring or provide identification.

ONLINE VOTERS GUIDE

The Vote411 Online Voters Guide is available at www.vote411.org. Links to this guide as well as links to Vote411 and other useful information for voters can be found on the League of Women Voters of Pennsylvania home page: www.palwv.org.

President of the United States

Ground Rules

▪ All qualified presidential candidates were invited to provide biographical information and responses to five specific questions. Candidates qualified if they met the following criteria: 1. The candidate must have made a public announcement of her/his intention to run for her/his Party’s nomination for President; 2. The candidate must meet the Presidential Election Campaign Fund Act’s minimum contribution threshold requirements for qualifying for matching funds, based on the most recent data publicly available on the FEC website; and, 3) The candidate must qualify for the ballot in enough states to win a majority of electoral votes.

▪ Responses were limited to 400 characters and were truncated thereafter.

▪ If a candidate did not respond by the date of publication, “Candidate has not responded.” is printed.

How elected: Every four years, political parties nominate candidates to run for president of the United States in a general election that is held on the first Tuesday, after the first Monday in November. Although all parties use conventions to nominate their candidates, in most states the Democratic and Republican parties also run statewide primary elections or caucuses. The results of the primary influence how the delegates to their respective party’s convention will cast ballots for candidates for president. The degree to which the result of the primary influences the votes of delegates at conventions varies from state to state.

Duties: The president is the head of state of the United States of America and is the chief executive officer and the commander in chief of all military forces. The powers of the president are described in the Constitution and federal law. Subject to Senate approval, the president appoints the members of the Cabinet, ambassadors to other nations and the United Nations, Supreme Court justices and federal judges. The president, along with the Cabinet and its agencies, is responsible for carrying out and enforcing the laws of the United States. The president may also recommend legislation to the United States Congress.

Salary: $400,000 per year

Term: Four years. Limit of two terms.

Hillary Clinton

Party: Democratic

Biographical Info:

Occupation: Former U.S. secretary of state

Website: http://www.hillaryclinton.com

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/hillaryclinton

Twitter: twitter.com/HillaryClinton

Campaign email: info@hillaryclinton.com

Campaign phone: 646-854-1432

Campaign address: Hillary for America, P.O. Box 5256, New York, NY 10185

Personal statement: I’m running for president to make a difference in the lives of all Americans. I’ll build an economy that works for everyone, continue my fight for children and families, and work to keep our country safe. And I’ll unite Americans to take on all the challenges we face — because we’re stronger together.

Top three goals: 1. Grow and strengthen our economy. 2. Curb the outsized influence of big money in American politics. 3. Ensure we have the partnerships to keep our country safe.

Questions:

Q: What will you do to support a vibrant economy across the U.S.?

A: My first priority will be to grow and strengthen our economy. I will invest in good-paying jobs, expand access to higher education, encourage companies to follow policies that put families first, and fight so that everyone pays their fair share. Every American deserves a good job, a successful career and a productive life. Together, these efforts will work to make that a reality.

Q: What, if any, actions will you support to create a pathway to citizenship?

A: In my first 100 days, I will introduce comprehensive immigration reform with a path to citizenship. An estimated 9 million lawful permanent residents are eligible to become U.S. citizens. As president, I will work to expand fee waivers and enhance outreach, so that more of the working poor can assume the full rights and responsibilities of becoming U.S. citizens.

Q: What should government do to provide an equitable, quality public education for all children pre-K through grade 12?

A: Every child deserves a high-quality education. I will double our investments in Early Head Start programs and ensure every 4-year old has access to high-quality preschool. I will do more to support our teachers, modernize our classrooms and support STEM programs so that all public school students can learn computer science. We must give children the foundation to succeed, from pre-K to grade 12.

Q: What actions would you support the U.S. undertake to protect its interests abroad?

A: The U.S. needs to exercise leadership and shape global events rather than be shaped by them. So many of our interests — our security, our economy and our fight against climate change — require cooperation with our friends and allies, and with countries we may agree with on some things, and disagree with on others. As president, I’ll ensure our country remains a source of leadership around the world.

Q: What kinds of policies will you pursue to promote social and racial justice for all Americans?

A: Too many Americans still face discrimination and mistreatment. I will fight to break down barriers and build ladders of opportunity. We will reform our criminal justice system, protect transgender individuals, defend voting rights, fight environmental injustice, fight for comprehensive immigration reform, end the epidemic of gun violence and ensure the citizens of Puerto Rico are treated equally.

Donald Trump

Party: Republican

Biographical Info:

Occupation: Businessman

Website: http://www.donaldjtrump.com/

Campaign email: info@donaldtrump.com

Campaign phone: 646-736-1779

Campaign address: Donald J. Trump for President Inc., 725 Fifth Ave., New York, NY 10022

Personal statement: The government of the U.S. should be focused on serving the people of this great nation, not special interests. The government now rules rather than governs. The American people want their government back and together we will make America great again.

Top three goals: Secure our nation by restoring our leadership in the world; restore economic growth thru tax, trade, immigration and energy reform; restore constitutional limits on government.

Questions:

Q: What will you do to support a vibrant economy across the U.S.?

A: I have proposed tax, trade, energy and immigration reforms that will bring trillions of dollars and millions of jobs back to the United States. Through immigration reform, we will restore wage growth and reduce the related fiscal burdens on state and local governments. These reforms will help lift wages and will create opportunities for millions of Americans to get back in the workforce.

Q: What, if any, actions will you support to create a pathway to citizenship?

A: We must re-establish the rule of law in this country. Criminal illegal immigrants will be deported. No one should be given the gift of U.S. citizenship based on illegal behavior.

Q: What should government do to provide an equitable, quality public education for all children pre-K through grade 12?

A: My administration will provide states with incentives to increase school choice options for parents and local school districts. Allowing the entrenched Washington education establishment and federal bureaucrats to leverage federal funds to dictate educational practices, curriculum and outcomes must be stopped. Control of K-12 education must be returned to parents and citizens locally.

Q: What actions would you support the U.S. undertake to protect its interests abroad?

A: We are the leader of the free world — whether we like it or not — and we must ensure we seek partners willing to make sure our national interests are defended. We only gain this respect from both adversaries and allies by having a strong military, being clear about defeating radical Islam and stopping rogue nations from attacking/threatening our citizens, economic interests, resources and allies.

Q: What kinds of policies will you pursue to promote social and racial justice for all Americans?

A: The best way to ensure social & racial justice is to return constitutional limits on government and appoint Supreme Court justices who will defend the Constitution, not rewrite it. The president must provide leadership and make sure the government works for the people. We must ensure low income and minority children learn to read at grade level and not trap them in failing schools based on ZIP code.

Darrell L. Castle

Party: Constitution Party

Candidate did not qualify to be included in the guide.

Jill Stein

Party: Green

Biographical Info:

Occupation: Physician

Website: http://jill2016.com

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/drjillstein

Twitter: twitter.com/DrJillStein

Campaign email: info@jill2016.com

Campaign phone: 347-425-1910

Campaign address: 318 Franklin Ave., Brooklyn, NY 11238

Personal statement: After a career in clinical medicine, I am now practicing political medicine, running for president to help heal our ailing nation. Your vote for me sends a clear signal that you want a new, principled politics that puts people, planet and peace over profit.

Top three goals: 1. Green job-creation to fight climate change. 2. A fair economy that eliminates unemployment 3. Justice, true democracy and respect for all human beings.

Questions:

Q: What will you do to support a vibrant economy across the U.S.?

A: Eliminate unemployment by creating a job for every American who needs work.

Repeal NAFTA and other trade agreements that export our jobs overseas and create immigration surges.

Create 20 million green jobs to stimulate the economy improving our health by cleaning up our land, air and water.

Protect consumers and small businesses from big banks and Wall Street predators.

Q: What, if any, actions will you support to create a pathway to citizenship?

A: First, end the massive deportation schemes that have torn families apart. I would also end the so-called Secure Communities program that has led to abuse of both citizens and non-citizens. End the misguided free trade agreements and regime change wars that have forced people to emigrate for their own survival. Finally, provide a welcoming and legal path to citizenship for current immigrants.

Q: What should government do to provide an equitable, quality public education for all children pre-K through grade 12?

A: 1) Protect our public schools from privatization schemes that will inevitably undermine the American dream of quality public education for all.

2) Increase federal funding of public schools to make sure all school districts have the financial resources they need to provide quality education.

3) Ensure that kids come to school ready to learn: healthy, nourished, and secure.

Q: What actions would you support the U.S. undertake to protect its interests abroad?

A: Forge a new foreign policy based solidly on diplomacy, international law, respect for human rights, and consistent nonviolent support for democratic movements around the world. End the misguided policies of militarism that have produced terrorist organizations, refugee crises, failed states and a bloated military that we can no longer afford.

Q: What kinds of policies will you pursue to promote social and racial justice for all Americans?

A: My plan to end unemployment will transform the economic life of low-income communities that are now struggling with unemployment rates two or three times the national average. Coupled with my commitment to quality public schools and community empowerment, we cannot just lessen racial disparity, but bring it to an end.

Gary Johnson

Party: Libertarian

Biographical Info:

Occupation: Former two-term governor of New Mexico

Website: http://www.johnsonweld.com

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/govgaryjohnson/

Twitter: twitter.com/GovGaryJohnson

Campaign email: Info@JohnsonWeld.com

Campaign phone: 801-303-8922

Campaign address: P.O. Box 4422, Salt Lake City, UT 84110

Personal statement: I am Gov. Gary Johnson and along with my running mate Gov. William Weld we are honored to accept the invitation of the League of Women Voters to participate in their efforts to inform the voting American public of all options available to them during this presidential election year.

Top three goals: Provide Congress a balanced budget within the first 100 days of office; reduce (and in some cases eliminate) our military footprint abroad; liberalize trade and economic activity.

Questions:

Q: What will you do to support a vibrant economy across the U.S.?

A: Submit to Congress a balanced budget to provide a template to stop unsustainable growth of the national debt, debt that weighs on employers, entrepreneurs and the economy. Support a simpler, fairer tax code that won’t penalize productivity or investment. Fight to provide certainty in spending, taxes and regulation so employers, entrepreneurs and investors make decisions that put people to work.

Q: What, if any, actions will you support to create a pathway to citizenship?

A: Ensure a pathway to citizenship for deserving immigrants by first establishing a way for non-criminal undocumented immigrants to achieve documented status. After that crucial first step, the pathway to citizenship will be the same as it is for all immigrants. No cutting the line. No unfair advantages. Just a legal status that allows immigrants to pursue the traditional path to becoming a citizen.

Q: What should government do to provide an equitable, quality public education for all children pre-K through grade 12?

A: Education works best when decentralized. Since President Carter created the Department of Education, test scores have stagnated despite any new initiatives or spending programs. Parents and teachers make the best decisions for students, not bureaucrats at the DoE. Education is traditionally a state and local responsibility, and should remain so for innovation, best practices and even competition.

Q: What actions would you support the U.S. undertake to protect its interests abroad?

A: Above all, we must maintain a national defense that is second to none. Government’s first responsibility is to protect us from threats abroad. If attacked, we respond. Our greatest assets are economy and culture. Blue jeans and computers did more to win the Cold War than stockpiled warheads. I will pursue vigorous diplomacy based on our economic might, not idle threats and military interventions.

Q: What kinds of policies will you pursue to promote social and racial justice for all Americans?

A: I would do everything in the presidency’s power to end the militarization of the police. I would end the failed drug war, which unfairly targets communities of color. I would use the powers of the federal government to protect the civil liberties of all Americans, aggressively enforcing 14th Amendment protections. I would continue the work to help all Americans to achieve equality of opportunity.

U.S. senator

The U.S. Constitution prescribes that the Senate be composed of two senators from each state (therefore, the Senate currently has 100 members) and that a senator must be at least 30 years of age, have been a citizen of the United States for nine years, and, when elected, be a resident of the state from which he or she is chosen. A senator’s term of office is six years and approximately one-third of the total membership of the Senate is elected every two years.

The Senate has several exclusive powers not granted to the House, including consenting to treaties, a precondition to their ratification consenting or confirming appointments of Cabinet secretaries, other federal executive officials, military officers, regulatory officials, ambassadors, and other federal uniformed officers, as well as trial of federal officials impeached by the House.

Term: 6 years

Katie McGinty

Party: Democratic

Biographical Info:

Mailing address: P.O. Box 22446, Philadelphia, PA 19110

Campaign phone: 215-253-6220

Website: http://KatieMcGinty.com

Campaign email: Katie@KatieMcGinty.com

Date of birth: May 11, 1963

Education: B.S. from St. Joseph’s University, J.D. from Columbia University

Qualifications: Former chair of President Bill Clinton’s Council on Environmental Quality; former secretary of Pennsylvania’s Department of Environmental Protection under Gov. Ed Rendell; Former chief of staff to Gov. Tom Wolf.

Twitter: twitter.com/KatieMcGintyPA

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/katiemcgintypa/

Municipality: Wayne

Questions:

Q: Partisan gridlock in Washington has brought our government nearly to a standstill. If elected, what steps will you take to reduce partisan gridlock? Please be specific.

A: My entire career I have worked with both parties to build partnerships to achieve results. As President Clinton’s chair of the Council on Environmental Quality, I worked with Newt Gingrich’s Republican Congress to make a difference in public health and environmental protection. By building partnerships we strengthened laws keeping our water safe and our air clean, targeted more resources to cleaning up toxic waste sites, and acknowledged the importance of environmental justice in policymaking for the first time. I carried that same approach of coalition building to the Department of Environmental Protection under Gov. Rendell. Even with a Republican legislature, we were able to direct major new investments to environmental protection and infrastructure improvement, enact tougher standards on toxic emissions and accelerate the development of clean energy. Track record matters. As senator, I will use the same approach I’ve always used to get past partisanship and get results.

Q: In Shelby County v. Holder, the U.S. Supreme Court invalidated provisions of the Voting Rights Act, which has led to disenfranchised voters across the US. If elected, what will you do to ensure that the voting rights of all Americans are protected?

A: Voting is a fundamental right for Americans across this country. We must fully restore the Voting Rights Act to protect that right for thousands of Americans who are being disenfranchised. But we must also do more. As senator, I will stand against partisan attempts to disenfranchise voters through new voter identification laws because we should be encouraging more people to vote, not systematically denying them that right. I also support reforms that increase accessibility and integrity in our elections like guaranteeing early voting and expanding options for voter registration.

Pat Toomey

Party: Republican

Biographical Info:

Mailing address: 1180 Welsh Road, Suite 100, North Wales, PA 19454

Campaign phone: 484-809-7994

Website: http://www.toomeyforsenate.com

Campaign email: info@toomeyforsenate.com

Date of birth: Nov. 17, 1961

Education: Harvard University

Qualifications: Pat Toomey is the husband of Kris and the father of Bridget, Patrick and Duncan. He served in the U.S. House, was the president of the Club for Growth, a small business owner in the Lehigh Valley, and worked in the financial services industry.

Twitter: twitter.com/PatToomey

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/patricktoomey/

Municipality: Upper Milford

Questions:

Q: Partisan gridlock in Washington has brought our government nearly to a standstill. If elected, what steps will you take to reduce partisan gridlock? Please be specific.

A: In the Senate, you can only make progress by working with people in the other party. That’s why I have made bipartisan cooperation a key priority in my first term. I have learned that even in a time noted for partisan gridlock, it is possible to find common ground while sticking to your principles. For example, I helped write the JOBS Act with three Democratic senators, a bill President Obama signed and praised, that is helping small businesses grow and hire more workers. With Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., I was able to pass legislation that keeps our children safer in schools from dangerous predators. I also worked successfully with Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, to improve efforts to keep illicit painkillers off the streets to deal with the prescription drug abuse crisis. Identifying areas of agreement and working together builds a foundation of trust necessary to tackle the issues where the partisan divide is wider. That is how I have worked as a consensus builder on contentious topics like the deficit, gun safety and tax reform.

Q: In Shelby County v. Holder, the U.S. Supreme Court invalidated provisions of the Voting Rights Act, which has led to disenfranchised voters across the U.S. If elected, what will you do to ensure that the voting rights of all Americans are protected?

A: The right to vote is the sacred foundation upon which American democracy rests. The Voting Rights Act continues to be a crucial component in upholding American citizens’ ability to hold their government accountable. I believe that the federal government should vigilantly enforce the Voting Rights Act and other legislation designed to ensure equal access to the ballot box. Furthermore, it is incumbent upon legislators to consider the impact of all new legislation on our voting rights and other constitutional freedoms, and this is a responsibility that I take very seriously. As a senator, it is also my job to ensure we nominate judges and executive officials who will protect these vital rights. In my first term, I have worked across the aisle with Democratic Sen. Bob Casey to successfully confirm 16 qualified individuals to federal courthouses in Pennsylvania, the most of any state with the exceptions of New York and California.

Edward T. Clifford III

Party: Libertarian

Candidate did not respond by Sept. 30. 

Pennsylvania attorney general

The basic duties of the attorney general, as outlined by the Commonwealth Attorneys Act are to: serve as the commonwealth’s chief law enforcement officer; collect all debts, taxes and account due to the commonwealth; represent the commonwealth and all agencies in any action brought by or against the commonwealth; administer the provision relating to consumer protection laws; represent the commonwealth and its citizens in any action brought about for violation of the antitrust laws.

Term: 4 years

Josh Shapiro

Party: Democratic

Biographical Info:

Mailing address: 21 E. Airy St. Norristown, PA 19401

Campaign phone: 215-886-7376

Website: http://www.joshshapiro.org

Campaign email: info@joshshapiro.org

Date of birth: June 20, 1973

Education: B.A. — University of Rochester; J.D. — Georgetown Law Center

Qualifications: Chairman, Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency, 2015-present; of counsel with Stradley Ronon law firm, 10 years; state representative, 2005-2012

Twitter: twitter.com/JoshShapiroPA

Facebook: http://facebook.com/JoshShapiroPA

Municipality: Abington Township

Questions:

Q: The Attorney General’s Office has been under a cloud for the last few years. Why do you believe you can restore public confidence in the office, and what steps will you take to make that happen?

A: Throughout my career, I’ve been a reformer. In Harrisburg, they didn’t like it when I stopped their perks and pushed for reform. In Montgomery County, I cleaned up an ethical mess. I’ll bring this same commitment to integrity and reform to the Office of Attorney General. In my Integrity Agenda, I’ve laid out the steps I will take to restore integrity to the Office of Attorney General. On Day One, I will create a code of conduct and mandate ethics training. I will ban gifts. I will post all expenses online for every Pennsylvanian to see. Additionally, I will professionalize the office’s human resources and establish a new chief diversity officer to ensure that the Office of Attorney General looks like the public it is sworn to represent. And I will create the “Casey Commission,” named for the late Gov. Robert P. Casey, to issue regular reports on integrity and transparency in our commonwealth and recommendations for how to improve our laws. For more details on my plan visit www.joshshapiro.org/integrity.

Q: It is increasingly apparent that Pennsylvania’s criminal justice system is deeply flawed. What do you see as the primary systemic problems within our criminal justice system and, if elected, what steps would you take to address them?

A: We need to treat addiction as a disease instead of a crime and ensure prison is used for those who are violent and pose a risk to others and not the mentally ill or those suffering from drug addiction. Far too many young people — particularly young people of color — get caught up in the system when they should not be there in the first place. This hurts individuals, communities and taxpayers. We need to put in place alternatives to incarceration for nonviolent offenders, drug courts, smart probation and more resources for drug and alcohol treatment and mental health services. In Montgomery County, we have been nationally recognized for reducing our recidivism rate by 30 percent through a comprehensive treatment program in our prison. As attorney general, I’ll reform our criminal justice system so that everyone is treated fairly, we lower the recidivism rate, reduce the number of victims of crime, lower the burden on taxpayers and make our communities safer.

John Rafferty

Party: Republican

Biographical Info:

Mailing address: P.O. Box 11757, Harrisburg, PA 17108

Campaign phone: 570-690-1933

Website: http://www.raffertyforag.com

Campaign email: info@raffertyforag.com

Date of birth: Feb. 7, 1953

Education: Bachelor’s: University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown; master’s: Beaver College; law degree: Temple

Qualifications: Serving as a state senator, a deputy attorney general, a private practice attorney and a small business owner has given me a wide breadth of experience that few others have. I believe my experience makes me uniquely qualified.

Twitter: twitter.com/RaffertyforAG

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/RaffertyforAG/

Municipality: Lower Providence Township

Questions:

Q: The Attorney General’s Office has been under a cloud for the last few years. Why do you believe you can restore public confidence in the office, and what steps will you take to make that happen?

A: My first step to regaining the public trust is announcing on Day One of my campaign that I pledge to run for attorney general to be the attorney general … not to be an aspiring governor or United States senator. If elected, I am committed to serving my full term of four years and if re-elected eight years as attorney general. The Office of Attorney General and the citizens of this great commonwealth deserve nothing less from the next attorney general. In making such a pledge I am making a full faith commitment to Pennsylvanians that I will remove all political agendas from my office. As the highest ranking law enforcement official of our state it is my job to be a faithful custodian of the law by enforcing and prosecuting those that break the laws. Additionally, I will implement a strict ethics code for employees based on guidelines set forth by the United States Department of Justice. I will have the strictest guidelines in the country to ensure the public has full confidence in our office moving forward.

Q: It is increasingly apparent that Pennsylvania’s criminal justice system is deeply flawed. What do you see as the primary systemic problems within our criminal justice system and, if elected, what steps would you take to address them?

A: I am very supportive of the Justice Reinvestment Act, which reduces recidivism, increases public safety and lowers correction costs by investing in communities to defer criminal behavior. Additionally, I am very supportive of the creation of specialty courts, like the Veterans Courts. In fact, I was a member of the Supreme Court’s steering committee for Veterans Courts.

Pennsylvania auditor general

The principal role of the auditor general is to determine whether state funds are being used in accordance with the purpose and guidelines that govern each use of the commonwealth’s dollars. The auditor general conducts financial and performance audits of individuals, state agencies and organization that receive state funds, including school districts, state liquor stores and public employee pensions. These audits are designed to measure how effectively government programs are using public money to meet their stated goals and objectives. The office performs more than 6,000 audits each year, and is responsible for auditing all federal funds that are allocated to Pennsylvania state programs

Term: 4 years 

Eugene A. DePasquale

Party: Democratic

Biographical Info:

Mailing address: P.O. Box 391, Harrisburg, PA 17108

Campaign phone: 717-256-2591

Website: http://www.eugene4pa.com

Campaign email: eugene@eugene4pa.com

Date of birth: Aug. 3, 1971

Education: Widener University, School of Law, J.D; University of Pittsburgh, MPA; College of Wooster, BA

Qualifications: Auditor general: 2013-present; state representative: 2007-2013; deputy secretary, DEP: 2003-2006

Twitter: twitter.com/DePasqualePA

Facebook: http://DePasqualePA

Municipality: West Manchester Township

Questions:

Q: What are your top three priorities and how will you accomplish them? Please be specific.

A: I will continue to ensure schools are held accountable to taxpayers and students through our school district audits. I plan to make sure the taxpayers’ dollars spent on state programs are spent effectively and efficiently while working to improve those departments. I also plan to help resolve the political budget impasse through drawing attention to lost taxpayer resources and helping the sides come together.

John Brown

Party: Republican

Biographical Info:

Mailing address: 403 S. Main St., Nazareth, PA 18064

Campaign phone: 717-585-0480

Website: http://www.johnbrownforpa.com

Campaign email: info@johnbrownforpa.com

Date of birth: Nov. 8, 1959

Education: University of Notre Dame; Bangor High School

Qualifications: Northampton County executive; mayor of the city of Bangor; worked in the private sector helping to turn around unprofitable businesses helping to make them more effective, efficient and successful.

Twitter: twitter.com/JohnBrownforPA

Municipality: Bangor borough

Questions:

Q: What are your top three priorities and how will you accomplish them? Please be specific.

A: no response   

John J. Sweeney

Party: Green

Biographical Info:

Campaign phone: 570-587-3603

Campaign email: jnln@epix.net

Date of birth: Aug. 5, 1953

Education: Temple University 1971-1974; Philadelphia College of Art 1975 no degree

Qualifications: Only qualifications are age and residency, which I meet. I currently am in my second term as Falls Township auditor.

Municipality: Falls Township, Wyoming County

Questions:

Q: What are your top three priorities and how will you accomplish them? Please be specific.

A: The auditor general is the state’s top watchdog when it comes to spending. I would audit the General Assembly operating budget. Return surpluses to the general fund. I would also perform an audit on the pension fund of our elected officials in the General Assembly. The auditor general also has the responsibility to see that our agencies function properly. I would conduct a performance audit of the Department of Environmental Protection to see if they are fulfilling their mission.

Roy A. Minet

Party: Libertarian

Biographical Info:

Mailing address: 623 Skyler Drive, Mount Joy, PA 17552

Campaign phone: 717-928-6188

Campaign email: roy.minet@comcast.net

Date of birth: July 18, 1941

Education: Penn Manor H.S.; Princeton U. Physics (2Y); Northwestern U. Grad. Sch. of Mgt., Inst. for Mgt.

Qualifications: Designed and developed comprehensive, integrated business software, including all accounting functions. Consultant for multiple businesses regarding overall operations and accounting.

Municipality: East Donegal Township

Questions:

Q: What are your top three priorities and how will you accomplish them? Please be specific.

A: The two old, declining parties have ruled tag-team style for decades. They have conspired to erect barriers to keep their competition out of office. As a Libertarian, I am not part of this “establishment” and can be a truly independent watchdog. I favor smaller government, lower taxes and more liberty. Thus, all operations will be carefully scrutinized through an entirely new, different and better set of eyes. Governments do not and cannot create productive jobs. Government is purely overhead. Government is needed to the extent that it secures rights, preserves order and provides truly public goods and services. These conditions allow the free market to flourish and create jobs. But governments have exploded way beyond these functions and now confiscate an incredible 31 percent of all income! The economy struggles to grow at a 1 percent or 2 percent rate when growth should be more like 10 percent. I will diligently seek ways that our state government can perform its proper role, but suck less blood out of the economy and allow it to create more jobs.

Pennsylvania treasurer

The duty of the Pennsylvania treasurer is to safeguard the commonwealth’s financial assets, which total more than $120 billion in public monies. The office manages several programs in order to better serve the financial needs of Pennsylvanians. The Treasury Department is also responsible for: reuniting unclaimed property with its rightful owner; investigating loss, theft, and fraud involving commonwealth checks; reviewing real estate leases and contracts entered into by commonwealth agencies; maintaining the Pennsylvania contracts electronic library. The treasurer has specific duties in addition to the oversight of the department: serves as chair of the Board of Finance and Revenue, which selects banks to serve as depositories for state money; sets interest rates paid on commonwealth deposits; hears and decides state tax appeals.

Term: 4 years

Joe Torsella

Party: Democratic

Biographical Info:

Mailing address: P.O. Box 626, Flourtown, PA 19031

Campaign phone: 267-219-5629

Website: http://joetorsella.com

Campaign Email: info@joetorsella.com

Education: Graduated with honors from the University of Pennsylvania. Studied at Oxford as a Rhodes Scholar.

Qualifications: U.S. ambassador to the U.N. for Management and Reform Chairman of the Pennsylvania State Board of Education. Founding president and CEO of the National Constitution Center.

Twitter: twitter.com/joetorsella

Facebook: http://JoeTorsellaForTreasurer/

Municipality: Whitemarsh

Questions:

Q: What are your top three priorities and how will you accomplish them? Please be specific.

A: I’ve spent my life in public service making public institutions more efficient, more accountable, and more innovative. First, I’ll set the toughest ethics standards in the country at Treasury — by making it easy for citizens to go online and see every dollar in state spending and contracts, including political contributions made by the vendors who got those contracts, by requiring people trading public money in the stock market to disclose the trades they make on their own accounts, and by appointing a chief integrity officer. Second, I’ll serve as the independent fiscal watchdog Pennsylvanians deserve in this position. Third, I will work to create more economic opportunity for all Pennsylvanians, by setting up automatic, universal savings accounts for secondary or vocational training for every child born in Pennsylvania.

Otto Voit

Party: Republican

Biographical Info:

Mailing address: P.O. Box 303, Harrisburg, PA 17108

Campaign phone: 484-938-8648

Website: http://Ottovoit.com

Campaign email: otto@voitforpatreasurer.com

Education: Penn State, BA Saint Joseph’s University, EMBA

Qualifications: Otto W. Voit III is a lifelong Pennsylvanian who has answered the call to service time and again and is doing so once more. Otto has the integrity and the business acumen needed to hold Harrisburg accountable.

Municipality: Muhlenberg Township

Questions:

Q: What are your top three priorities and how will you accomplish them? Please be specific.

A: When elected, Mr. Voit’s top three priorities will be to hold Harrisburg accountable, restore integrity and save the commonwealth $1 billion. To make Harrisburg more accountable, Mr. Voit has proposed PACheckbook.com. PaCheckbook.com will be the first of its kind, user friendly website that will show all revenue, every expenditure, the salary and every state contract at all levels of government. This information will be presented in clear everyday language, not in professional jargon. This will empower voters and help them understand what is actually going on in Harrisburg. As an Army officer and Desert Storm veteran, Integrity plays a huge role in all aspects of his life. That is why Mr. Voit has pledged not to seek higher office. To truly reform the office, there must be a restored focus on serving the people, not serving political ambitions. Finally, Mr. Voit plans on saving the commonwealth $1 billion in his first term. Mr. Voit will have a diverse investment committee that will help him find safer investments.

Kristin Combs

Party: Green

Candidate did not respond by Sept. 30. 

James Babb

Party: Libertarian

Biographical Info:

Mailing address: P.O. Box 2106, Southeastern, PA 19399

Campaign phone: 610-574-1222

Website: http://jamesbabb@mac.com

Campaign email: jamesbabb@mac.com

Education: College: James Madison University

Qualifications: Taxation is theft.

Twitter: twitter.com/jamescbabb

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/JamesCBabb

Questions:

Q: What are your top three priorities and how will you accomplish them? Please be specific.

A: no response

Local races information compiled by the League of Women Voters of Centre County 

Ballot question

Shall the Pennsylvania Constitution be amended to require that justices of the Supreme Court, judges, and magisterial district judges be retired on the last day of the calendar year in which they attain the age of 75 years? 

PA 5th Congressional District

Term: 2 years

Salary: $174,000

Vote for not more than 1

Question: Please describe your view of the role of immigrants and immigration in America’s future and the role of the federal government in this subject.

Glenn GT Thompson

Republican

Howard Township

Website: http://www.GTThompson.com

Education: Penn State, BS and Temple University, Master of Education

Occupation: United States representative, Pennsylvania 5th Congressional District

Qualifications: Six-year school board member; 28-year health care professional; 30 year Scoutmaster; former Private Industry Council of Central PA & Workforce Investment Board member; Leadership Centre County graduate; chairman U.S House Agriculture Subcommittee on Forestry and Conservation; co-chair Bipartisan House Career & Technical Education Caucus; National PTA “Voice for Children” Award recipient; No Labels “Problem Solver Seal of Approval 2016.” 

Answer to question: There is no question that our immigration system needs an overhaul. Those seeking our shores legally have struggled with red tape, while others have broken the law and entered the country illegally. Everyone entering the U.S. should be properly vetted. We cannot allow the executive branch to pick and choose which laws they will enforce, at the same time we cannot push off a long-term solution. While a challenge, I am confident these goals can be reached to promote greater national security, continued opportunity, and the overall economic prosperity of our great country.   

Kerith Strano Taylor

Democratic

Brookville

Website: http://www.kstforcongress.com

Date of birth: Nov. 26, 1975

Education: 1996, Penn State, B.A. political science; 2001, Antonin Scalia Law School (formerly George Mason University School of Law), J.D.

Occupation: Small business owner, family law attorney and guardian ad litem for the Jefferson County Dependency Court.

Qualifications: 2016 Child Advocate of the Year by the Pennsylvania Bar Association’s Children’s Right Committee; Brookville Area School Board (president- two years, member- five years); National School Board Association’s Federal Relations Education Network ( one year); Statewide Children’s Roundtable Initiative (10 years); chairwoman, Pennsylvania Supreme Court Juvenile Court Procedural Rules Committee.

Answer to question: We should focus on employers who are profiting from immigrant labor. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce, this year, has spent $52 million lobbying to undermine E-Verify to ensure that states be prohibited from penalizing employers who fail to comply. Many American businesses thrive on immigrant labor because it increases their profit margins. They can exploit immigrant workers with wages far below the minimum wage and commit blatant violations of OSHA rules meant to ensure worker safety. If we are serious about border security, we should turn off the magnet that is drawing thousands of people to the United States looking for work.      

PA State House — 76th District

Term: 2 years

Salary: $85,339

Vote for not more than 1

Question: Please describe your view of state government’s proper role in primary and secondary education in Pennsylvania and whether state government is meeting that role.

Mike Hanna

Democratic

Lock Haven

Website: www.votemikehanna.com

Date of birth: Oct. 25, 1953

Education: 1971 LHHS; 1977 Lock Haven University, B.A.; 1980 University of Pittsburgh, J.D.; 2009 honorary doctorate of public service-LHU.

Occupation: Legislator

Qualifications: Democratic whip, former majority chairman, House Agriculture and Rural Affairs Committee; member of the Board of Governors, Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education; past board member, Center for Rural PA; past member, PA Parks and Forest Foundation; past member, LHU Alumni Board and Foundation; past trustee, Lock Haven University

Answer to question: The state constitution requires a thorough and efficient public education system. The $1 billion cut the previous Corbett administration made to basic education fails that challenge. Under the Wolf administration over $400 million has been reinvested in basic education and a new equitable funding formula has been established, helping our rural schools. We need to continue with this reinvestment both because it provides a quality education for our children and also because it allows school districts to reduce property tax increases. We also need school property tax reform like HB 504, which I voted for and is now before the Senate. 

Stephanie Borowicz

Republican

McElhattan

Website: StephanieForStateRep.com

Date of birth: March 23, 1977

Education: 1999, Vanguard University, summa cum laude, bachelor’s degree in liberal studies and a minor in Bible

Occupation: Homemaker/ministry

Qualifications: Pastor’s wife; former teacher and nonprofit organization president.

Answer to question: Just like in many other areas, I do not believe the state is meeting its proper role in education. There is too much state and federal government control, and too many unfunded mandates that increase school budgets and our property taxes. The Common Core curriculum and standards must be removed and we must empower our local teachers and parents with more control over local education decisions. We must also change the Basic Education Funding Formula to ensure our schools are receiving the funding they need and deserve, and improve educational services and funding for students with special needs.

PA State House — 77th District

Term: 2 years

Salary: $85,339

Vote for not more than 1 

Question: Please describe your view of state government’s proper role in primary and secondary education in Pennsylvania and whether state government is meeting that role.

Scott Conklin

Democratic

Philipsburg

Website: https://www.facebook.com/scott.conklin.505

Date of birth: Oct. 7, 1958

Education: Trade school degree in carpentry; licensed air conditioning technician

Occupation: State representative, 77th District (Centre County) and business owner with my wife, Terri.

Qualifications: It has been an honor to serve you in Harrisburg and I want to continue to fight for good paying jobs for our families while at the same time protecting our environment. I would also like to continue to push for increased funding for education through closing the Delaware loophole and implementing a fair severance fee on natural gas.

Answer to question: We have a lot more to do. The last administration cut education funding to dangerously low levels. This administration is doing its best to reverse the course and I pledge to do all I can to strength funding for our children’s future.

PA State House — 81st District

Term: 2 years

Salary: $85,339

Vote for not more than 1

Question: Please describe your view of state government’s proper role in primary and secondary education in Pennsylvania and whether state government is meeting that role.

Richard S. Irvin

Republican

Tyrone

Age: 45

Education: Juniata Valley High School; Indiana University of Pennsylvania, B.S. accounting, 1994.

Occupation: State Representative, 81st District.

Experience/qualifications: 18 years Huntingdon County treasurer, member of the Huntingdon County United Way board of directors since 1996, and member of Center for Community Action board of directors since 2005, which is a tri-county human service agency.

Answer to question: Education is the key to providing opportunities to our youth and one of the state’s major responsibilities. Decisions on education are best made at the local level. Parents and taxpayers must demand our school boards and teachers have the final decisions to meet the educational needs of our students rather than mandates and program-specific funding handed down from the state and federal level. We must develop every child to their maximum potential and our role as a state should be to match our educators and job creators in both primary and secondary education. 

Richard J. Rogers

Democratic

Mount Union

Website: http://RickJRogers.com

Date of birth: Nov. 2, 1945

Education: B.S., community development, Penn State

Qualifications: Adjutant, Medical Service Corps officer, U.S. armed services (retired, rank of major); Vietnam veteran; substitute teacher and mentor, vocational technical schools; volunteer and community leader in the VFW and American Legion.

Answer to question: The major role that the state should play in primary and secondary education is maintenance and operation oversight of public schools. The state should also be involved in the creation, selection, regulation of curriculum, teaching methods and instructional materials in schools. State legislatures should continue to set mandatory requirements for students to graduate as well, prescribe a model curriculum structure that allows local authorities to develop their own curricula based on the state.

PA State House — 171st District

Term: 2 years

Salary: $85,339

Vote for not more than 1

Question: Please describe your view of state government’s proper role in primary and secondary education in Pennsylvania and whether state government is meeting that role.

Kerry A. Benninghoff

Republican

Bellefonte

Website: http://kerrybenninghoff.com

Date of birth: Jan. 14, 1962

Education: SCAHS, 1979; PSU, 1980-1981; PA certified county coroner

Occupation: State legislator

Qualifications: 12 years in Centre County Coroner’s Office; elected coroner 1991 and 1995; 19 years service as elected state representative; current member of House majority leadership team serving as majority policy chairman; founder and chairman of the Bi-Cameral Cancer Caucus; Rural Health Care chairman; former minority chairman, State Government Committee; former chairman of the Finance Committee; Awarded taxpayer Guardian Award.

Answer to question: PA spends nearly $11 billion of $31.3 billion on public education annually. The state partially funds staff retirement and school busing. We overhauled the education funding formula in a bipartisan vote, to meet today’s needs reflecting local poverty, scarcity, local tax base. I authored a re-write of truancy law to ensure consistency in application, punishment and keep students in the classroom. PA has expanded the EITC program to give parents school options. Four state-related colleges received 5 percent and 2.5 percent increases over last two years plus millions in capital construction funding. State support is reflective of what is affordable during the congruent economic environment. 

Melody Fleck

Democratic

Pine Grove Mills

Date of birth: 1954

Education: Penn State, B.A. Psychology; Temple University, Beasley School of Law, J.D.

Qualifications: 25+ years practicing law, legislative intern, lobbyist for WolfPAC.com and environmental groups, Treasurer and board member of nonprofits and corporations and currently PA Chapter of Sierra Club, Nuclear Committee chair, Climate Change, Oil & Gas committees

Answer to question: The Pennsylvania legislature has a constitutional duty to provide sufficient funding to public schools “to maintain and support a thorough and efficient system of public education.” Educational funding cuts during the Corbett administration caused some schools to face bankruptcy, borrow money and cut programs. In the last two budgets, funding has been increased. Time will tell if these increases have offset the past underfunding. When the state fails to adequately fund schools, local property taxes rise; this unfairly impacts seniors and others on fixed incomes.

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