Three seek to capture Pennsylvania House seat Smith left for Senate

Special election set May 21 to fill post

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A former Democratic Mt. Lebanon commissioner, a Republican member of Mt. Lebanon school board and a Mt. Lebanon Libertarian disillusioned with both parties are running for the special state House election for the 42nd District.

The special election, which will be held in conjunction with the May 21 primary, is to fill the vacancy created when former Rep. Matt Smith, a Democrat, moved up to the state Senate. Whoever wins will serve the remainder of Mr. Smith's term, which runs through 2014.

Democrat Dan Miller, 40, is a special education attorney who came to Mt. Lebanon by way of Hartford, Conn., after a stint with AmeriCorps in Washington, D.C., where he also earned his law degree at Catholic University. He served one term as a Mt. Lebanon commissioner, including serving as president of the board.

Republican Dan Remely, 62, is a developer who specializes in taking over financially troubled projects. He is a graduate of Bethany College and has served on the school board since 2005.

Libertarian George Brown, 52, is a self-employed software engineer. He is a graduate of Slippery Rock University and is making his first run for public office.

The winner will take office as soon as results are certified and likely jump into long-term issues such as transportation funding, Medicaid expansion, the state liquor system and background checks for gun sales.

Mr. Miller favors a bigger transportation spending plan than the governor has proposed, would agree to the federal proposal to expand Medicaid, would want to guarantee comparable-paying jobs before eliminating the state store system and considers the lack of background checks "a joke."

"I agree [the state store system] is an antiquated system and needs to be modernized," he said, "I favor anything [privatizing, modernizing] that provides family-sustaining jobs."

Mr. Remely would support a larger transportation plan with stronger spending oversight, would probably go forward with Medicaid with an awareness the federal money would decrease over 10 years, would eliminate state stores and would seek a middle ground on background checks to protect the public and the rights of gun owners.

"[Transportation funding] is an issue that needs to be addressed and needs to be addressed immediately," he said. "They need to spend the money as if it is ours, and it is ours."

Mr. Brown also favors more efficiency in transportation spending, would turn down Medicaid expansion, would eliminate state stores and would support background checks under a well-written law.

"The last thing we want to do is let the federal government camel get its nose under the tent [of Medicaid]," he said.

Mr. Miller said his top priority would be to increase spending in infrastructure, transportation and education. Mr. Remely would build better relationships between the business and education communities. Mr. Brown would talk to every legislator in an attempt to persuade them that a Libertarian is good for government policy because he would agree with each of them on some issues and disagree on others.

The district includes Mt. Lebanon, Green Tree, Thornburg and Rosslyn Farms and parts of Bethel Park and Scott.

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Ed Blazina: eblazina@post-gazette.com or 412-263-1470.


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