22nd House District: Molchany has a strong understanding of the issues

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Everyone knew the winner of an April special election to fill the House vacancy of Chelsa Wagner after she became Allegheny County controller would serve a very short term. Martin Schmotzer was sworn in to complete her time, but since he did not win party nomination to run for a full term, he'll leave office at year's end.

The winner of the fall election also could be a short-termer: Because of redistricting, the 22nd District will be transferred to the Allentown area in Eastern Pennsylvania after this cycle.

In the meantime, voters face a choice between two young, energetic newcomers to represent the city neighborhoods of Beechview, Brookline, Duquesne Heights, Esplen, Manchester, Mount Washington, Sheraden and Overbrook, plus Baldwin Township, Castle Shannon and Whitehall.

Democrat Erin Molchany, 35, of Mount Washington is a Duquesne University graduate who has been involved with local nonprofits for a dozen years. She is working with the One Young World Summit, a global youth leadership event, and until February, she had been executive director of the Pittsburgh Urban Magnet Project.

Republican Chris Cratsley, 31, of Overbrook is a client liaison for Bank of New York Mellon, a former fast-food restaurant manager and a graduate of Waynesburg University who holds a master's degree from Robert Morris University. He is far more moderate than most Republicans in the Legislature, and he even agrees with his Democratic opponent on key issues.

Mr. Cratsley is running because he believes voters need a choice and no election should go uncontested. We agree, applaud his attempt and urge him to consider a future run for Pittsburgh council, which could use a few Republicans. But Ms. Molchany trumps his effort in this race with a superior understanding of state issues.

Her first priority is transportation, particularly public transit, because she believes an affordable, reliable system is needed to keep Pittsburgh competitive. Although she understands that she'd serve in the House's minority caucus, Ms. Molchany says her nonprofits work taught her how to collaborate, a vital skill in Harrisburg.

In the primary, this newspaper endorsed both Mr. Cratsley and Ms. Molchany for nomination by their respective parties. For Nov. 6, the Post-Gazette endorses Democrat Erin Molchany.

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