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An initiative to provide nonpartisan, independent elections journalism for southwestern Pennsylvania.

Pennsylvania State House 16th District: A guide to the 2022 general election and candidates

90.5 WESA

What's at stake: The 16th District has been a Democratic stronghold for decades. For the second cycle in a row, incumbent Democratic Rep. Robert Matzie is defending the seat against Republican challenger Rico Elmore. Both candidates support the energy industry. Matzie has championed bringing the Shell ethane cracker plant to southwestern Pennsylvania while advocating for environmental safeguards and water protection. Elmore advocates for protecting and promoting the energy industry while focusing on economic growth with sustainable jobs to help combat community issues such as addiction and crime. The district is made up of river towns, former steel towns, rural communities and historic preservation sites in the southernmost portion of Beaver County, including the city of Aliquippa, Center Township and the boroughs of Ambridge, Baden and Monaca.

Rico Elmore

A 13-year veteran of the U.S. Air Force, Elmore says he was taught "service before self;" he has served as a youth mentor and a community coordinator and volunteer for the Beaver County NAACP. The Rochester resident and Beaver Falls native says he is passionate about veterans' issues, and his platform emphasizes supporting the military, along with local businesses and families with sustaining jobs. He says he believes the state should protect the energy industry, reform social programs for children and families, and maintain constitutional rights under the Second Amendment. Elmore advocates for gun rights and says he wants to protect freedoms that he believes are under attack.

Party: Republican
Experience: Rochester Borough Council member (2022 – present)
U.S. Air Force (2009 – present)
Education: Community College of Beaver County (A.A.), Pennsylvania State University (B.A.)
Links: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram
Candidate surveys: League of Women Voters
Major endorsements: Firearm Owners Against Crime; Restore Liberty; Beaver County Republican Committee; Pro-Life Pac; Americans for Prosperity; Gun Owners of America. More here.
Total contributions (2021-2022): $14,368
Total expenditures (2021-2022): $6,590.24
Worth reading: "Rico Elmore running for state 16th District House seat again" (Nicholas Vercilla, The Beaver County Times)

Rob Matzie

Matzie currently represents the 16th District, where he grew up and raised his family. The lifelong Ambridge resident and former mayor first sought election for the seat in 2008, after serving as field office representative for state Sen. Gerald LaValle. His work remains committed to building a stronger community through jobs and education. He says he believes in putting people and good public policy before partisan politics, and he has been the prime sponsor of seven bills during the 2021-22 session. He supported the Shell petrochemical plant in Beaver County to bring manufacturing jobs to southwest Pennsylvania.

Party: Democratic
Experience: Pennsylvania House of Representatives – 16th District (2009 – present)
Education: Community College of Beaver County (A.A.); Point Park University (B.A.)
Links: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram
Candidate surveys: League of Women Voters
Major endorsements: Pennsylvania AFL-CIO and affiliates; Carpenters; IBEW; Insulators; Ironworkers; Laborers; Operating Engineers; Teamsters; United Mineworkers; United Steelworkers and Steamfitters; PSEA; SEIU Healthcare; Pennsylvania Professional Firefighters; Pennsylvania Fraternal Order of Police, including the Beaver Valley Lodge; more here.
Total contributions (2021-2022): $114,502.91
Total expenditures (2021-2022): $42,231.04
Worth reading: "'Incumbent Matzie re-elected for state rep. for District 16" (Dani Fitzgerald, The Beaver County Times)