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Pennsylvania State Senator District 49

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.

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    Jim Wertz

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    Dan Laughlin

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 Erie
Occupation Educator
Education Bachelor of Communications & History from Edinboro University, Masters in Political History from American University, and a PhD in Communications from Indiana University of Pennsylvania
Qualifications Son of a single mother, father of three children, educator, journalist, concerned citizen, and former chairman of the Erie County Democratic Party
Campaign Website
X Handle @WertzForErie
Among the many issues facing Pennsylvanians, I’d like to highlight three: defending democracy, respecting workers, and fairly and fully funding education. I will oppose all voter suppression and hold those who undermine our democracy accountable. As a union leader who was raised by a working single mother, I know how important it is to ensure worker safety, guarantee higher wages, and defend the right to unionize. And as a teacher and a parent, I know the real costs – and life-changing benefits – of education. School funding for pre-K through high school sets the path for success, and access to higher education -in all its forms- strengthens our workforce, and builds a stronger economy and a healthier community.
Democracy and access to the ballot remain under constant attack from members of one political party and the interest groups that support them. The legislature must do more to protect voting rights. Automatic voter registration and same-day registration are important first steps. The Commonwealth must also do more to expand mail ballot access by eliminating the annual mail ballot application and providing additional incentives for counties that provide multiple dropbox points throughout their communities. Furthermore, Pennsylvania should pass a constitutional amendment to enshrine into law the will of the voters by guaranteeing that the legislature must certify the outcome of our elections as voted by the people of the Commonwealth.
Our public schools are currently funded at 12-15% below the national average. We can't expect to develop homegrown talent in business, innovation, or the vocational trades if we do not first invest in their future. PA has a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to reform its funding model. These reforms must include 1. expanded access to free and low-cost childcare and pre-K, 2. charter school funding reforms that use the same formula set for the distribution of funds by public schools instead of using public schools as a pass-through for taxpayer dollars to fund under-regulated charter schools with little accountability, & 3. funding that equitably funds both rural and urban schools, which each suffer uniquely from a dearth of property taxes.
While abortion remains legal in Pennsylvania, access to care is both insecure and restricted. I support a constitutional amendment that enshrines the right to abortion care into Pennsylvania law, protecting access no matter the party in power. With regard to the current laws, I support the elimination of unnecessary barriers to care enacted by politicians in the name of women’s health including elimination of the mandatory waiting period for care following state-mandated counseling designed to discourage patients from obtaining an abortion. And – I can’t believe it needs to be said in 2024 – I wholeheartedly support the use and legal protection of in vitro fertilization services to begin a family.
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