40th Senate: DeMarco is a strong alternative to Orie
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Voters in the 40th Senate district will choose between two candidates on Nov. 2, Republican Jane Orie of McCandless and Democrat Dan DeMarco of Ross. There's a third force in this race, not on the ballot, which could determine the outcome of the election.
Sen. Orie and her sister, Janine Orie, are accused of using the senator's staff on state time to work on her campaigns, plus the 2009 campaign of another sister, Joan Orie Melvin, in her successful run for state Supreme Court. Sen. Orie has been charged with 10 counts, including theft of services, tampering with evidence, conspiracy and violating the state ethics act.
The 13-year veteran of the General Assembly has maintained her innocence and is eager to defend herself in a trial set for February. Although the Post-Gazette endorsed Ms. Orie, 49, in her last two elections, we cannot do so now, given the weight of the case in the presentment of the Allegheny County grand jury.
Fortunately, voters have a smart and experienced alternative in Mr. DeMarco in a district that includes Hampton, Marshall, McCandless, Pine, Richland, Ross, Shaler, West Deer, Bradford Woods, Etna, Franklin Park and West View in Allegheny County, plus Adams, Buffalo, Clinton, Connoquenessing, Cranberry, Forward, Jackson, Middlesex, Penn, Callery, Evans City, Harmony, Mars, Seven Fields, Valencia and Zelienople in Butler County.
Mr. DeMarco, 45, brings 11 years of experience as a Ross commissioner and a career as an attorney. He and Ms. Orie agree on some key issues and differ on others, in our view, in his favor.
They support strong funding for public education, particularly at the early childhood level; they want to reduce the size and cost of the Legislature through a constitutional convention; they support a 401(k)-style plan for new state employees as part of a pension funding fix and they would privatize Pennsylvania's antiquated government liquor monopoly.
Ms. Orie opposes, for now, taxing the Marcellus Shale gas drilling, while Mr. DeMarco believes a tax, lower than the one approved by the House, is justified to help communities absorb the industry's impact. He favors limiting the size of campaign contributions in state races, whereas Ms. Orie merely says she is "open to discussion" on it and warns of possible loopholes.
For his views and what he would bring to the job, Dan DeMarco has earned the Post-Gazette endorsement.
First Published October 12, 2010 12:00 am