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WESA Candidate Survey: Natalie Mihalek and Chris Todd on the issues

We surveyed Republican Natalie Mihalek and Democrat Chris Todd, the candidates for Pennsylvania's 40th 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?

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

Mihalek: Did not respond.

Todd: No. I believe that a woman’s right to choose is a fundamental right that must be protected.

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?

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

Mihalek: Did not respond.

Todd: Yes. It has been more than 10 years since the last adjustment to Pennsylvania’s minimum wage, and we must increase the minimum wage to reduce poverty and provide more economic security for lower income workers.

Do you support no-excuse mail-in voting in Pennsylvania?

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

Mihalek: Did not respond.

Todd: Yes. In our representative democracy, each citizen’s right to vote is sacred. No-excuse mail-in voting allows for improved accessibility to the ballot box and reduces the administrative burden for election officials.

Do you support Pennsylvania’s involvement in the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, which sets pricing for carbon emissions?

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

Mihalek: Did not respond.

Todd: Yes. Climate change is one of the greatest threats confronting all nations and peoples. We must identify opportunities to reduce the impact of human driven climate change, and because electrical power generation is a large contributor to greenhouse gas emissions, RGGI offers one such opportunity with a market-based solution that reduces emissions while offering both health and economic benefits.

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?

  • 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?

Mihalek: Did not respond.

Todd: I would consider supporting such a measure to suspend or reduce the gas tax to provide relief to working families struggling make ends meet given the current environment of broad inflationary pressures.

In the face of rising homicide and other crime rates, would you support requiring universal background checks for gun purchases?

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

Mihalek: Did not respond.

Todd: Yes. Universal background checks are a reasonable and common-sense means of reducing gun violence.

School funding in Pennsylvania is heavily supported by property taxes. Would you support efforts to change that system?

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

Mihalek: Did not respond.

Todd: Yes. Education funding in Pennsylvania comes from a complex mixture of state and local taxes which has resulted in dramatic inequity of education dollars allocated for different school districts. Pennsylvania ranks near the bottom for all states for the state portion of education funding, and that shifts a large burden to school district property tax collection to fill the funding gap. We need to analyze how tax dollars are raised and allocated from both state and local sources that is fair for taxpayers and provides equitable, quality public education to all youth in Pennsylvania.

Patrick Doyle oversees WESA's digital strategy and products. Previously, he served as WESA's news director. Email: