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Home | TPAB Updates | Can a Democrat run for and win a tough Republican Senate seat? This one can | Emily Best

Since registration is overwhelmingly Republican in this district, it has become almost impossible for Democrats to win.

Yes, a Democrat.

I’m running to protect, and fight for, our shared values. Our values of family and community, independence and interdependence, of careful stewardship of our bountiful natural resources.

I’m a transplant: raised in Butler County, I attended Pitt for undergrad, worked overseas, studied in Washington DC for graduate school, and now I’m settled amongst the rolling valleys and mountains of Fulton County. I work in agriculture.

Since registration is overwhelmingly Republican in this district, it has become almost impossible for Democrats to win.

So for years, Democrats have gone quiet. The party forgot about the issues and concerns of rural and small town voters, and created the environment we’re seeing across the country. Voters disregard a Democrat, just for being a Democrat.

Well, I like a challenge. I stand ready to advocate for values I believe I share with the communities I hope to represent.

When I first moved to Huntingdon County in 2012, I couldn’t believe how far folks had to travel to receive basic medical care, let alone specialty care.

When I gave birth to my son in January 2017, we drove 45 minutes over the mountain to a hospital in another county, because my local medical center no longer delivers babies. These are not uncommon issues in my district. And it wasn’t always like this.

Our main streets struggle to support small, family-owned and run local businesses. Yet we’ve seen large corporations open or expand discount stores, because there’s a demand for cheap products. Sadly, our small businesses can’t compete.

Our rural landscape, the most precious of resources, is at risk of being forever polluted. Giveaways to massive multinational corporations, for projects like the Mariner East 2 pipeline, pose a serious risk with little reward to our communities. We must curtail short term gains that leave our environment in peril.

It doesn’t have to be this way. Our communities matter.

A government led by people who stand up for their constituents would be fighting for the values of the community. And that is what I will do.

I will fight for accessible, affordable, and community-based healthcare. We shouldn’t have to go to the ER on the weekend for minor issues because it’s the only option of several bad ones. Families suffering from substance abuse should be to access the care they need, on a schedule that works. And working parents shouldn’t have to give up half a day of work to take their kids to the doctor.

I will fight for fair farm policies.

Working in agriculture I know how difficult it is to comply with regulations, especially when the cost accrues solely on the farmer and when the fine print is interpreted by non-farmers. I will work for policies that support our farmers, who are suffering under the weight of a food system that is skewed towards vertically integrated businesses and massive corporate farms.

I will fight for a democracy that works for all of us, not just the rich and well-connected. Did you know that the establishment Republican candidate in this race has already spent $100,000 in the primary election, while the median household income in Blair County is $44,000, and 1 in 5 children there live under the poverty line? I will support policies to get money out of politics and fair districts so public service is accessible to all of us.

I will stand up for property owners who, each year, pay more of their stagnating incomes on property tax. I will fight for a severance tax on natural gas to help us fully fund our schools. I will stand up for the children in our district who have been underserved for years – those in special ed, the gifted learners, the children learning to read and the teenagers searching for a path. Our lawmakers, including the incumbent in the 30th, have neglected to provide for the right to a quality public education for all children.

Most of all, I am standing up for the everyday hard working people in my district. For far too long, our representatives in Harrisburg as well as in Washington, D.C., have prioritized the interests of huge corporations, big banks, and the super rich over the needs of our communities.

Now we are left fighting for the scraps, angry because we are all operating in an unfair system.

It’s time for a change. This is why, on May 15, I’m asking for registered Democrats in our district to show up at the polls and show what we stand for. The very next day I’ll being asking for and need your help.

My campaign will show that we can be better. Our communities deserve better. Vote Emily Best, Democrat for state Senate.

Emily Best is the manager of Tuscarora Organic Growers Cooperative. She writes from McConnellsburg, Pa., Fulton County, where she lives with her family. In accordance with PennLive’s letters and op-Eds policy for candidates, this will be her only appearance in these pages before the May 15 primary.


Source: Can a Democrat run for and win a tough Republican Senate seat? This one can | Emily Best