WEST GROVE — Two candidates are vying for the Republican nomination for the 13th Legislative District this Tuesday, primary election day, May 17.
Incumbent State Representative John Lawrence, R-13th of West Grove, is running to retain his seat against political newcomer Carmela Ciliberti of New London.
Lawrence has held the seat since 2011.
“I came forward as a state representative as a reformer seeking to lead by example,” Lawrence said. “I refused the ridiculous benefits previous lawmakers gave themselves – saying ‘no’ to a state pension, a state car, per diems and other freebies.”
The 13th Legislative District covers much of southern Chester County, including the boroughs of Oxford and West Grove and the townships of East Nottingham, Elk Township, New London, Franklin, Highland, London Grove, Londonderry, Lower Oxford, Penn, New London, West Nottingham, West Fallowfield, Upper Oxford and London Britain.
Due to recent redistricting changes, after the end of the current General Assembly legislative session, the 13th District will no longer include Atglen Borough in Chester County and Christiana Borough and Sadsbury Township in Lancaster County.
“This session, I sit on seven committees, more than any other member of the House, including Agriculture, Professional Licensing, Transportation, Appropriations, Rules, Government Oversight, and Committee of Committees,” said Lawrence on Wednesday. “Serving on these committees gives me the opportunity to speak directly to the legislative process at crucial times and to provide critical oversight of executive branch agencies like PennDOT and the Department of Revenue.”
The Daily Local News asked the state representative what his greatest accomplishments were while serving in the 13th Legislative District.
“We proposed a constitutional amendment, approved by voters, to limit the executive powers of the governor,” Lawrence said. “I was a ‘yes’ vote on legislation that gave parents more choice and more control over their children’s education, and I led the fight to allow parents to opt out of testing. Keystone exam for their children.”
Lawrence said he was very concerned about Pennsylvania’s fiscal outlook.
“I drafted a new law reforming how the state issues debt, saving taxpayers $1 billion in interest costs,” he said. “I voted to reform the state’s retirement system and pushed back against Governor Wolf’s reckless proposals to dramatically increase state spending.”
This session, Lawrence has drafted several bills on a variety of topics. These include, he said, “requiring elected officials to submit to a drug test, banning vaccine passports, blocking the sale of the Chester Water Authority, removing bans on the sale of electric vehicles in Pennsylvania and several bills to help our struggling dairy farmers. ”
Lawrence highlighted three challenges facing South Chester County and District 13.
“The biggest issue I hear on people’s porches is that people are tired of Wolf shutdowns and Biden inflation,” Lawrence said.
“A trip to the gas station or the grocery store can cost nearly double what it cost a year ago,” he said. “While I was a ‘no’ to the big gas tax hike a few years ago, the federal government needs to move away from natural resource development to drive down gas prices.
Lawrence shares two daughters with his wife, Becky. The couple have been married for 21 years.
“Parents should have good options when it comes to raising their own children,” Lawrence said. “I am proud to have voted in favor of charter schools, home-schooled parents, the EITC (Earned Income Tax Credit) program which provides scholarships for students attending Christian and Catholic schools and record funding for our school districts. premises in South Chester County. ”
Lawrence said he led efforts to repair the Red Rose Inn intersection at Route 796 and Old Baltimore Pike in Penn, and recently secured funding to repair the intersection at Route 272 and Old Baltimore Pike in Nottingham. , a project that will begin in the near future .
And after asking PennDOT to finally address Route 41, north of Cochranville, and Route 1 between West Grove and Avondale last year, PennDOT has added Oxford Road, parts of Route 896, south of Jennersville , and Chesterville Road, east of Chesterville, at this year’s paving schedule, he said.
Longer term, Lawrence said he was working to install a left turn lane on Route 896 for drivers turning onto Chambers Rock Road in London, Britain, and repair the interchange at Route 1 and Route 841 in West Grove to extend the merge lanes as one enters. on Route 1.
“As a longtime resident of our area, I have watched for years as other parts of the state see significant road improvements, while southern Chester County was largely forgotten,” Lawrence said. . “As a state representative, I work every day to correct this historic imbalance in order to give our community the attention it deserves.”
The Chester County Republican Committee endorsed Lawrence.
Ciliberti is a lawyer.
“I’m offering a constitutional conservative option to voters in my constituency unlike the representation we’ve had over the past few years,” Ciliberti said Friday.
“I will use my extensive private sector experience dealing with government bureaucracies and my legal training to fight and defend the freedoms of my fellow citizens,” she said.
Ciliberti worked for FlightSafety International, the world’s largest commercial aviation training company, for 20 years. In high school, she worked at the New Garden Flying Field.
The Daily Local News asked Ciliberti what made her run in this year’s primary elections.
“My experiences in the highly regulated aviation industry, the impact of the September 11 terrorist attacks on that industry, and the loss of two acquaintances to homicide inspired me to get involved in politics,” she said.
“I became familiar with the works that inspired the American Constitutional Republic that protect our natural right to ‘life, liberty, and property’. The past few years have shown that our country and our Commonwealth are on the verge of eliminating these natural rights,” Ciliberti said.
A graduate of Avon Grove High School, Ciliberti has lived in Chester County since 1989.
Ciliberti said his top three qualifications include: “a 20-year career in a highly regulated private sector focused on regulatory compliance, during which I successfully dealt with unelected and unqualified bureaucrats;” in addition to being a member of the Pennsylvania Bar and receiving a Juris Doctor from Villanova University Charles Widger School of Law; and a history of voluntary community service and political activism for the cause of freedom.
Regarding the three main challenges facing South Chester County and the District, Ciliberti said there was mistrust in the election due to the unconstitutional Bill 77 which gave voters absentee ballots without an excuse and unsecured ballot boxes.
Another challenge, she said, is the erosion of parental rights, as well as the radicalization and sexualization of children in public schools.
Ciliberti said a third challenge includes taxes and inflation leading to higher costs for food, energy and supplies.
Chamir James is running unopposed in the primary to win the Democratic nomination for the 13th Legislative District seat on May 17. James will next face the Republican nominee in November.