Where the Democrats vying for the PA-10 primary stand on the issues • Pennsylvania Capital-Star

The crowded Democratic Party race to face U.S. Rep. Scott Perry (R-York) in Pennsylvania’s 10th Congressional District is almost at its end. While Perry, a former Chair of the conservative U.S. House Freedom Caucus, is unopposed in the Republican Party primary, six Democrats are vying for their party’s nomination on April 23. 

The Capital-Star asked the Democrats seeking to challenge him a series of questions to see why they believe they should be their party’s nominee and represent the south-central Pennsylvania district in Congress.

Here’s how they replied to the question: Why do you believe you are the best candidate for this position?

Mike O’Brien, a Marine Corps veteran, said the responsibility of elected officials is to be servant leaders, not politicians. 

“I spent my entire adult life as a servant leader, whose success at the U.S. Naval Academy and in the U.S. Marine Corps hinged entirely upon trust, character, integrity, initiative, follow-through, and taking care of my Sailors and Marines,” O’Brien said. “I’ve lived and breathed those values for 24 years. Over those years I learned through tragedy and triumph the value of human life and human relationships. There is nothing more important.” 

“It was those experiences, and the focus that I’ve had throughout my career on people and relationships, that has prepared me best to garner grassroots support, represent, and serve the citizens of Dauphin, Cumberland, and York counties in the political arena as we fight to defend democracy,” he added.

Janelle Stelson points to her longtime career as an anchor at WGAL-TV. 

“After 38 years earning the trust of Central Pennsylvanians as a TV news anchor for the region’s highest-rated station, voters know me,” Stelson said. “They know I’m honest. And they know I can defeat Scott Perry.” 

“Over the course of my career, I have had the privilege of sitting down with small business owners, riding along with local law enforcement, covering striking teachers and factory workers, and being live on the scene of our greatest triumphs and tragedies,” she added. “I have covered the rising cost of housing and health care, telling the stories of those struggling across the district. Sharing your stories showed me that what matters most here is not what politicians like Scott Perry care about in Congress.”

Blake Lynch, a former WITF-FM executive, touted his roots and understanding the needs of the district. 

“As a proud lifelong advocate for our region with diverse experience from the c-suite to Main Street. Formally serving as the Senior Vice President at WITF Public Media, helping to lead a multi-million dollar organization,” Lynch said. “Prior to that the first Community Relations Director with the Harrisburg Police Bureau, I have built the necessary coalitions to get things done for everyone.”

“As a member of the Board of Directors for the Central PA Food Bank, and many other vital organizations. I have worked tirelessly to serve everyone in our district,” he added. “The life long commitment, experiences, and connections to our region make me the best candidate to meet the needs of our district. Let’s elect a community advocate who understands the issues we face because they’ve lived it everyday.”

Rick Coplen, a retired Army officer and Carlisle School Board member, referenced being the only Democrat in the race to win elections in a GOP district as proof he knows how to work with “reasonable Republicans” to solve the issues that matter most. 

“Among all candidates, including Scott Perry, I have the broadest and deepest experience in the many issues a member of Congress must face. I’m a veteran of combat and peace-keeping overseas,” Coplen said. “I have led community services, bringing people on the economic margins back into the workforce, providing disaster relief, and helping military veterans transform their lives with educational and career training opportunities. I’m co-owner of a small farming business. I am a teacher and a school board member.” 

“Most importantly, I listen to people and work effectively with everyone to co-create solutions to our problems, not have problems for the sake of making political points,” he added. 

Shamaine Daniels, a Harrisburg City Councilwoman, points to her record in elected office. 

“I’ve spent my career fighting for others, first as an attorney with a practice focused on workers rights, civil rights and immigrants, and for the past ten years as a member of Harrisburg City Council,” Daniels said. “Because of that experience, I understand the challenges that real people face everyday.” 

“This experience also gives me a unique understanding of how to address those issues,” she added. “I’m proud of my record helping people on City Council, and I’m running for Congress to have a bigger, more positive impact on the lives of the residents of PA-10.”

John Broadhurst, a businessman, did not respond to the Capital-Star’s questionnaire.


The candidates’ full answers to the questionnaires are at the links below. They were lightly edited for clarity. 

Rick Coplen

Shamaine Daniels

Blake Lynch

Mike O’Brien

Janelle Stelson

Originally published at penncapital-star.com,by John Cole

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