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Politics & Government

Saccone Holds on to PA House Seat in 39th District

Liz Reid
90.5 WESA

Republican state Rep. Rick Saccone will hold onto his seat in Pennsylvania’s 39th District for another two years, defeating Democratic challenger Lisa Stout-Bashioum by a 20 point margin.

The two-term incumbent has been trying to find ways to reduce school-levied property taxes since he took office in 2011.

“My number one priority has always been property tax reform,” Saccone said. “Unfortunately, that’s not the priority of the rest of the state, so we’ve got a lot of convincing to do to get tax relief to the taxpayers. It’s killing them.”

He said he’s also concerned about how to balance future budgets amidst rising pension costs.

“Pension reform is something we have to do,” Saccone said. “That’s something that’s on the mind of everyone in the Legislature. I don’t know about this new governor, he didn’t seem to be interested in it, but the Legislature is certainly interested in pension reform, so I know we’re going to work on that.”

Saccone said he also anticipates butting heads with Governor-elect Tom Wolf over how to tax natural gas drillers in Pennsylvania.

“People in Washington County certainly don’t want an extraction tax,” Saccone said. “They’re happy with the impact fee. It’s serving us very well and we’re reaping great benefits from it.”

Stout-Bashiom had also said she’d provide taxpayers with property tax relief, but she wanted to do it by levying an extraction tax on drillers. That platform, along with increased education spending and beefed up services for seniors, didn’t appear to resonate with voters in the 39th District, which includes parts of Washington and Allegheny counties.

Campaign manager Robert Whitmer said they were expecting more Democratic voters to turn out, but in her concession speech, Stout-Bashiom said she enjoyed the experience of running for state office.

“Truly I want to thank you for all that you have done,” Stout-Bashioum said. “This has been a wonderful experience for me just because I’ve gotten to know you. And really I do not say this with any regrets. I think we put everything on the table, I think we worked really hard, and I am so proud of what we’ve done.”