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WESA Candidate Survey: Andrew Kuzma and Rick Self on the issues

We surveyed Republican Andrew Kuzma and Democrat Rick Self, the candidates for Pennsylvania's 39th State House District, on top issues for the 2022 election.

About the WESA Candidate Survey: WESA sent surveys to all candidates running in competitive races for federal and state offices in our listening area, including Allegheny, Armstrong, Cambria, Beaver, Butler, Fayette, Greene, Lawrence, Washington, and Westmoreland counties. Our candidate survey was based upon input we solicited from voters.

We followed up with candidates multiple times via both phone and email. If a candidate did not respond, we have noted that below. (If you're a candidate and would like to complete the survey now, please email Patrick Doyle,

We have fixed basic capitalization and punctuation issues, but have not otherwise edited candidates' answers.

In the wake of the Dobbs decision, some state lawmakers believe Pennsylvania should ban abortion after six weeks, with no exceptions. Would you support such a proposal — yes/no?

  • Please explain your stance and identify other changes, if any, you would like to make to the state’s abortion laws.

Kuzma: Did not respond.

Self: No. Codify Roe.

Pennsylvania's minimum wage has been set at the federal rate of $7.25 an hour since 2009. Do you favor state action to change the minimum wage? Yes/no?

  • Please explain our stance and, if you support a change, identify the minimum wage rate you believe is appropriate.

Kuzma: Did not respond.

Self: Yes. It's about time. $15.00 at a minimum. I believe if adjusted for inflation, it might be a little more than $20.00.

Do you support no-excuse mail-in voting in Pennsylvania — yes/no?

  • Please explain your stance and identify any other changes you believe should be made to state voting laws.

Kuzma: Did not respond.

Self: Yes. It is a convenient and safe way to vote, especially for seniors.

Do you support Pennsylvania’s involvement in the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, which sets pricing for carbon emissions — yes/no?

  • Please explain your stance, and describe any changes you wish to see to state energy or climate policy.

Kuzma: Did not respond.

Self: [This] is a complex problem that needs many approaches. Energy is required to survive and regardless, when necessary people will continue to use it. We need safer extraction with watchdog oversite to stop violators and promote solar, wind & other solutions. I need to see complete details but something must be done to stop global warming. Fusion is the long term answer but it could be in a distant future.

Inflation is a concern for Pennsylvanians, and some legislators have called for either reducing or suspending the 58-cent-a-gallon gas tax. Would you support such a measure? Yes/no?

  • If yes, how would you replace the revenue to pay for State Police and road spending — and are there other inflation-fighting policies you would pursue?

Kuzma: Did not respond.

Self: Inflation is a big problem and the gas tax reduction may be a viable short term solution. Oil companies profits soared over 300% and every Republican voted against a gouging tax. Most other democracies used anti-gouging to help reduce the impact. I believe "the greed from above is responsible for the grief below." I also question the Fed's effort to stop inflation by raising prices. Raising interest rates on mortgages and credit cards is inflation, right? Taxing the fracking industry at similar rates in Texas, Oklahoma & Ohio, would be a good way to increase revenue. All other options must be explored.

In the face of rising homicide and other crime rates, would you support requiring universal background checks for gun purchases? Yes/no?

  • Please explain your stance, and describe other approaches to fighting crime that you would support.

Kuzma: Did not respond.

Self: Universal background checks should be incorporated immediately. We have that in PA. Some of my gun club friends didn't know it was not required in other states. Prior to 1975 I believe it was promoted by the NRA. I had to watch & be tested on a NRA Safety Video before I gained full membership at Carrick Sportsmen Club in South Park PA. I was required to watch a NRA video in the Boy Scouts. The NRA should be challenged to set up a safe and proficiency test for 1st time gun owners. This would have stopped 2 of the last 3 AR murders. No more "buy today, kill tomorrow" from teenagers. Drivers licenses are not issued without a test. In PA,1st time applicants must take a hunter safety course before being issued a license. The NRA has always stressed gun safety. All gun club have safety rules for handling and shooting guns. In the past we started equating gun safety with control.

School funding in Pennsylvania is heavily supported by property taxes. Would you support efforts to change that system — yes/no?

  • Please explain your stance and describe the changes you would support to how public education is funded.

Kuzma: Did not respond.

Self: The 1st thing I would propose is a freeze on school taxes requiring both parties to come up with a comprehensive law addressing this problem. This helps to force a way out of the political showboating about taxing. Seniors on fixed incomes and lower income levels are hurt the most by the BS.

Oliver Morrison is a general assignment reporter at WESA. He previously covered education, environment and health for PublicSource in Pittsburgh and, before that, breaking news and weekend features for the Wichita Eagle in Kansas.