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

Pennsylvania State House 50th District: A guide to the 2022 general election and candidates

90.5 WESA

What's at stake: The newly reconfigured 50th District is a largely rural area in the southwestern-most corner of Pennsylvania composed of Greene County and about two dozen communities in southeastern Washington County. The primary employer has been the energy industry, including coal mining and natural gas extraction. A combination of redistricting and the retirement of Rep. Pam Snyder (D-Jefferson) means the district is up for grabs. Republican state Rep. Bud Cook, formerly of the 49th District, is squaring off against political newcomer Doug Mason, a music teacher from Greene County.

Bud Cook

Cook was elected to the 49th state House District in 2016, riding a wave of support in the district for Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump. He fended off a Republican primary opponent in 2020. During his time in office, he has advocated changes to the apportionment of revenue under the state's gaming law, but legislation he introduced did not come up for a vote. Under the state's Right-to-Know/Open Records law, he successfully pursued extensive requests for information on how the Washington County Redevelopment Authority has allocated the county's Local Share of gaming revenue since The Meadows Casino opened in 2007.

Party: Republican
Education: West Virginia Wesleyan College (B.S.)
Experience: Pennsylvania State House, 49th District (2017 – present)
City councilor in Buckhannon, W.Va. (1986-1989)
Links: Website | Facebook
Candidate survey: WESA Candidate Survey; League of Women Voters
Major endorsements: National Rifle Association; Firearm Owners Against Crime; PA Pro-Life Federation
Total contributions (2021-2022): $30,721.50
Total expenditures (2021-2022): $15,954.37
Worth reading:
"‘There is a real problem with how he treats women’: Bartolotta backs primary challenger against SWPA lawmaker" (Stephen Caruso, Pennsylvania Capital-Star)

Doug Mason

Mason says jobs are the most important issue in the district, following the decline of coal mining and the devastating impact on the area's tax base, economy and population. Mason wants improved employment prospects for those who formerly worked in the mining industry. "The programs were set up but didn't follow through and provide opportunities for the people who live here and train them for other jobs. Life has changed here drastically in the last 10 to15 years," he says. He also calls for revamping public school funding's "antiquated" dependence on property taxes, which gives wealthier areas more opportunities.

Party: Democratic
Experience: Music teacher, Central Greene School District (1992 - present)
Education: West Virginia University (B.S.)
Links: Website | Facebook
Candidate survey: WESA Candidate Survey; League of Women Voters
Major endorsements: Pennsylvania AFL-CIO, Pennsylvania State Education Association, United Mine Workers of America.
Total contributions (2021-2022): $3,655.18
Total expenditures (2021-2022): $1,366.86