Get ready, Bensalem Township. You have the opportunity to elect a state representative looking to fight for your interests and concerns in Harrisburg. Democratic candidate Laurie Smith wants to represent Pennsylvania’s 18th House District, which also includes Hulmeville Borough.
Smith arrived to the race a bit late as she is replacing former candidate Chris Walski, who had to drop out unexpectedly because of illness. However, her energy, enthusiasm, and meaningful conversations with voters are helping her quickly gain traction.
“When I was approached about running for State Representative, my initial thought was that I’m not a politician or from a political family. But then it occured to me — that’s exactly why I am the right person to represent Bensalem,” Smith said.
Smith brings refreshing qualities to the political arena. Holding a Master’s Degree in Early Education, she most recently taught in her community — the Bensalem School District — for 14 years.
Smith is running against Republican incumbent K.C. Tomlinson, who is seeking her second term in office. Bucks County’s Republican Commissioner Gene DiGirolamo preceded K.C. Tomlinson, holding the seat for 25 years. Representative Tomlinson is the daughter of State Senator “Tommy” Tomlinson, who has held his seat in the Pennsylvania Senate for 28 years.
“For too long, this seat has been held by members of two political families. It’s past time for our community to be represented by someone of and for the people, and I have a unique opportunity to be that person,” Smith remarked.
Smith’s platform includes protecting access to reproductive health care, fair and adequate education funding along with fully funded programs for mental health in schools and the community, pushing for stricter gun control laws, providing easy access to drug prevention and treatment programs, as well as increasing the state’s minimum wage to a living one.
“My children and my students are my reason for running.” Smith said. “They’re the reason I got into this race, and they will continue to be what drives me to fight for what’s right when I’m in Harrisburg.”
Smith’s agenda may seem ambitious, but she’s not alone in promoting a platform that benefits constituents versus the Republican agenda that prioritizes political power. During the current legislative session, Democrats have introduced dozens of bills to help everyday people only to see them die in committee due to being in the minority.
Here are a few examples:
HR44: Recognizing gun violence in Pennsylvania as a public health crisis
HB404: Providing for Statewide children’s mental health ombudsman
HB1646: Provide for a referendum question to voters: should the minimum wage be increase from $7.25 per hour to $15.00
HB2206: Establish a program aimed at increasing the pipeline of high quality and diverse future educators.
With the November election on the horizon, Smith is out knocking doors and talking with constituents about these issues on a regular basis. When asked how she intends to accomplish her agenda she said, “I’ll use my experience in education and management to fight for what’s right for our kids and the entire Bensalem community — including those who have been underserved for far too long.”
Pennsylvania’s next election will be held on Nov. 8. If you’re not registered to vote, you may do so online before Oct. 24. To check your registration or to request a vote-by-mail ballot, click here