Pa. House districts: Democrats should nominate Gainey and Deasy

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Democratic voters in two districts of the state House of Representatives have easy choices to make in the May 20 primary. Incumbents Ed Gainey in the 24th District and Dan Deasy in the 27th District face only nominal challenges this spring, and no Republicans are on the ballot for the fall general election.

The 24th District represents Wilkinsburg and the city neighborhoods of Homewood, East Liberty, East Hills, Lincoln-Lemington, Larimer, North Point Breeze, Highland Park, Garfield and parts of Point Breeze and Stanton Heights.

Two years ago, voters in the Democratic primary were ready for change after decades of representation by Joe Preston, and they chose Mr. Gainey, 44, of Lincoln-Lemington. There’s no reason next month to make another change.

Mr. Gainey's challengers should be familiar: Todd Elliott Koger, 52, has run for the seat four times, in addition to failed attempts to become mayor, a school board member and tax collector in Wilkinsburg, where he resides. William Anderson, 41, of Homewood, also ran for state representative four times and for Pittsburgh City Council. Although both men say they have been building name recognition by running, voters have rejected them each time, and there is nothing to recommend them now, especially given Mr. Gainey’s promising first term.

He has been an active freshman, admittedly aware of the limitations of being in the minority party in a chamber led by Republicans. He was a strong proponent of the transportation funding bill, particularly cognizant of the need for mass transit, and he said he sent people door to door in the fight against a Republican-sponsored voter ID bill.

Looking to the future, he has been appointed to the city’s Urban Redevelopment Authority, will continue the uphill struggle for reasonable gun control measures and believes the state needs to take a more active role to help the struggling Wilkinsburg School District.

Ed Gainey has the Post-Gazette’s endorsement for the Democratic nomination in the 24th District.

In the revamped 27th District, 70 percent of the residents live in the Pittsburgh neighborhoods of Crafton Heights, Westwood, Sheraden, Banksville, Ridgemont, Elliott and parts of Beechview, Mount Washington and Brookline. The district also includes the boroughs of Crafton, Green Tree, Ingram, McKees Rocks and Thornburgh.

Dan Deasy, 47, of Westwood, is a former Pittsburgh City Council member who has been in the House since 2009. He said he is particularly proud of the work of the Children and Youth Committee on which he serves and which pushed through a series of bills to protect young people in the aftermath of the child sexual abuse scandal at Penn State.

Although the Post-Gazette does not agree with his decision to vote against the transportation funding bill and gun control measures, his challenger, A.J. Richardson of Sheraden, has nothing to offer voters. Voters will recall Mr. Richardson’s laughable campaign for mayor of Pittsburgh, and he currently is awaiting trial on charges that he and his family members made more than 100 false reports to police.

Dan Deasy has the endorsement of the Post-Gazette for his party’s nomination in the 27th District.

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