Change Address

VOTE411 Voter Guide

Pennsylvania State Senator District 11

Description of office: The General Assembly is the legislative branch of government in Pennsylvania. It is composed of two houses: the Senate is the upper house, and the House of Representatives is the lower house. A majority vote in both houses is necessary to pass a law. The PA Senate consists of 50 members, representing one district each, with an equal number of constituents. Senators must be at least 25 years old, have been a citizen and a resident of the state four years and a resident of their respective districts one year before their election, and shall reside in their respective districts during their terms of service. The Senate develops budget packages, makes taxation decisions, allocates spending, and passes laws (including redistricting in collaboration with the House of Representatives). In addition, the Senate tries officials impeached by the House and authorizes executive appointments. Senators serve on various policy committees that may propose legislation. Term: 4 years Salary: $106,422 Vote for ONE.

Click a candidate icon to find more information about the candidate. To compare two candidates, click the "compare" button. To start over, click a candidate icon.

  • Candidate picture

    Judy Schwank

  • Candidate picture

    Lisha L. Rowe

Biographical Information

What do you see as the most pressing issues facing Pennsylvanians, and how would you address them?

What changes would you support making to Pennsylvania’s voting laws to expand access, ensure security, and support local election officials and processes?

What legislation would you support to comply with the Commonwealth Court's ruling that Pennsylvania’s school funding system is unconstitutional and must be reformed?

What changes, if any, would you support making to Pennsylvania’s abortion laws?

County Berks
Occupation State Senator
Education I started my career as a vo-tech instructor and went on to serve as a Penn State Agriculture Extension Educator, two terms as Berks County Commissioner, the Dean of Agriculture and Environmental Sciences at Delaware Valley College and now 13 years as a State Senator -11th District.
Qualifications My work in education, local government and non-profits has helped me to better understand the needs and problems that people face. My years of experience currently serving as a state senator, have taught me to how to find practical solutions to those problems.
X Handle @judyschwankPA
One pressing problem is bridging the political divide. We need reform in the legislative process by enabling a citizen commission to draw legislative districts not politicians. We don't have enough skilled workers to replace retiring workers. I support increasing the availability of technical education. The cost and availability of healthcare especially mental health is a key issue. Hospitals face increasing costs in delivering quality care and workforce shortages. More government support is required. The opioid crisis must be addressed through more treatment and harm reduction. Affordable housing and emergency shelter is unattainable for too many people. We must incentivize more work force housing and neighborhood redevelopment.
Voting is safe and secure in Pennsylvania, but more must be done to make voting more accessible and convenient. Act 77 which offered no excuse mail in ballots needs to be amended to fix and clarify some issues that have arisen since its passage. Actions I support include open primaries so all voters including those registered as independents could vote, streamlined mail in ballots that are easier to understand and complete, the creation of a permanent absentee/mail in ballot voter list, and more training and resources available to counties for election management. I also support expanded protection for election workers and administrators, stronger penalties for voter intimidation and deception and better guidelines on ballot drop boxes.
The Basic Education Funding Commission (BEFC) made recommendations which I fully support including a continuous review of the funding formula to address changes that occur in school districts and impact their funding needs. This isn’t a once and done proposition; we must continue to make progress in bringing equity to education funding. The Commission also recommended that charter school funding, investing in the education workforce and school facility repairs must be finally addressed by the legislature. As a member of the legislature, I have supported these proposals. There are initiatives that were not addressed which I support such as school property tax reform and ideas on how school mergers may be encouraged in the Commonwealth.
Abortion is safe and legal in Pennsylvania and must remain so. Sexual reproductive health is a private matter, and every woman must have the right to determine her own healthcare decisions, not politicians. However, there are restrictions that limit access and create unnecessary barriers to abortion in the Commonwealth. The 24-hour waiting period after a required counselling session necessitates at least two visits to a clinic which can be costly and difficult for many women and creates an unnecessary delay. In addition, abortions in Pennsylvania must be conducted by a physician. I support permitting qualified health care providers to also perform abortions.
County Berks
Occupation Township Commissioner, board president
Education B.S. Biology/ Ecology from UNC-Charlotte, A.A.S. Medical Laboratory Tech- Reading Area Community College, Certificate in Medicinal Plants- Cornell University
Qualifications I am an elected official on the Cumru Township Board of Commissioners, Board President, a Berks County Republican Committee woman serving on the Executive Committee, elected PAGOP Committeewoman and appointed to the Reading Area Transportation Study. 22 years as an Environmental Education Speci.
Campaign Website
Polling shows that the top concern of Pennsylvanians is the economy. I support small businesses and our farming community. Removing unnecessary regulations and lowering high business taxes, would help existing businesses and encourage new ones. The higher cost of food and prescription drugs is a big issue for many families and individuals. I support the preservation of farmland and placing limits on the cost of pharmaceuticals. The biggest environmental issue is water pollution. Remediating acid mine drainage areas and using best management practices are a good start to water quality improvement.
Election Integrity is very important. I would support voter ID and the use of paper ballots. Voter rolls should be kept up-to-date. Watchers should be able to actually see the ballots being counted. To expand access, I would support having election day a one day holiday.
I would support legislation that allows for school choice, where the money follows the child to any type of school or homeschool of their choice.
I support the right to life. Currently, abortions are permitted up until 23 weeks into the pregnancy. That's almost 6 months. I believe we can do better than that. The 15 week heartbeat bill would be an improvement.