Rep. Sheryl Delozier faces Democrat challenger Jean Foschi

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Rep. Sheryl Delozier faces Democrat challenger Jean Foschi

Drue Cappawana, Opinion Editor

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As the November midterm elections approach, all of the attention of the media is placed on those elections with the most weight on the U.S. Congress, and thus the country as a whole. However, what they fail to mention to their viewers is the power of local elections. While much of the publicity of politics is found in fierce House showdowns and Senate debates, the life-changing legislative decisions are made in the individual statehouses across the country. Pennsylvania’s House of Representatives could experience a shockwave of change, with momentum swaying in the Democrats favor, however, the fervor of the Republican base in the state could result in pushback once the general election comes. This sentiment could not hold truer in our own state district, where a tense race is expected between Republican incumbent Representative Sheryl Delozier of Camp Hill and Democrat Jean Foschi of Mechanicsburg.

Representative Sheryl Delozier has represented the 88th Congressional District of Pennsylvania in Harrisburg since 2009 when she defeated Margie Stuski to succeed retired representative Jerry Nailor, who served from 1989 until his retirement in 2008. According to her website, Delozier served as a senior advisor within Governors Tom Ridge and Mark Schweiker’s administrations. Before beginning her tenure in the Pennsylvania House of Representatives, she served as the director of Governor Mark Schweiker’s Office of Public Liaison, and as an advisor to a commissioner at the Public Utility Commission. At the PUC, Delozier devoted time and effort to address issues pertaining to water and transportation.

(Photo: Victoria Yother)

According to her bio on the Pennsylvania state website, she graduated from West Chester High School in 1985, received her B.A. in political science-domestic government from the University of Delaware, and her Master’s degree in business administration from the Pennsylvania State University. She also studied at the Open University in Heerlen, the Netherlands, where she studied international business.

For the second consecutive election cycle, Representative Delozier has a challenger, Jean Foschi of Mechanicsburg, PA. Foschi graduated from Central Christian High School in DuBois, PA in 1987. She also attended the Pennsylvania State University and received her B.A. in Political Science in 1991. She received her paralegal certification several years later from Penn State as well.

The dichotomy of the two candidates begins as early as high school. Each had very different experiences in high school, both academically and extracurricularly. Jean was a “history-lover” in high school, and she recalled a time in high school where she engaged in a “thought-provoking conversation on the U.S. Constitution,” which has stuck with her ever since. Jean was also a member of many extracurriculars in high school, though none necessarily political. She was the President of her school’s chapter of the National Honors Society, was a member of the astronomy club, and ran cross-country. Representative Delozier, contrarily, was not involved in many extracurriculars during her time in high school. Although, she commented on the importance of student involvement in clubs, considering that every student’s voice should be heard, in whatever respect they want it to be heard. While they may be quieter during school, involvement in clubs allows them to open up and voice their opinions where they otherwise would not. 

(Photo: Victoria Yother)

Delozier also commented on the importance of clubs in allowing students to “better understand their community” and the diversity of thought within it.

The candidates also differ on many issues pertinent to students and their issues. One of those major issues is the problem with gun violence and the epidemic of school shootings in the United States. In June, the PA House Judiciary Committee voted on House Bill 1872, which would ban bump stocks, a ban on which 81% of Americans support, according to The Hill. Delozier, who is a member of the PA House Judiciary Committee, voted not to send that bill to the House floor, despite her personal opposition to bump stocks, claiming that House Bill 1872 prohibited more than exclusively bump stock modifications. According to the bill itself, however, it would ban any “accelerated trigger activator,” defined in the bill as “A part or combination of parts designed and intended to accelerate the rate of fire of a semi-automatic firearm to simulate the rate of fire of a machinegun [sic].”

Jean, on the other hand, supports a full ban on bump stocks. Adding to her stance against bump stocks, she also supports implementing universal background checks. Essentially, this would make gun owners conduct background checks every time a gun changes ownership. Jean also supports further legislation to restrict domestic abusers from acquiring firearms, and shortening the time period domestic abusers have to hand over any firearms in their possession (currently, Pennsylvania law gives domestic abusers 60 days to hand over any firearms). House Bill 2060, which Delozier voted for, and Foschi supports, would reduce the amount of time domestic abusers have to hand over firearms from 60 days to 48 hours. The bill is awaiting Senate action, yet the Senate has refused to bring it up for a vote.

Climate change, according to the World Economic Forum’s Global Shapers Survey 2017, is yet again the most important issue to a plurality of world citizens. Nearly half of respondents at least moderately agreed that climate change is the most important issue facing humanity. Both candidates believe that humans have contributed to the issue of climate change, and Foschi went so far as to say humans have “caused [climate change].” Foschi supports Penn Environment’s initiative to switch to 100% renewable energy state-wide by 2050, while Delozier supports the AEPS’ initiative to require that 18% of all energy put out on the grid by electric distribution companies, or EDCs, come from renewable sources of energy. This is an interesting vote of support from Delozier, who was one of the few House Republicans who earned a 0.0% on ConservationPA’s 2017-18 environmental report card, which is based on voting record.

Many students find themselves spending an ungodly amount of money on a college degree, only to not be able to find a job in their field after they graduate. Delozier voted in support of the CareerBound program, which would provide $10 million to the PA Department of Education to expose students to post-school opportunities in their field. The program would partner with what the state considers a state institute of higher education, and the bill lists the Pennsylvania State University, the University of Pittsburgh, Temple University, and Lincoln University as examples of state-related higher educational institutions. The program would invite employers from “high-priority occupation[s]” to these institutions to train students on how to get a job in their field. Jean supports a more expensive, yet possibly more beneficial program to assist students called Pennsylvania Promise, sponsored by State Senator Vincent Hughes. The Pennsylvania Promise program outlines a plan to reduce college tuition for over 130,000 students in the state of Pennsylvania. The program would prove very expensive, and the Republican-controlled House may not allocate funds to it. However, Jean has proposed three solutions to the issue of funding, the first of which would be a tax on the Marcellus Shale. Jean proposed that merely a 5% tax rate, similar to that of our West Virginian neighbors, which brought the state approximately $96 million in additional revenue. Another solution would be to close the so-called “Delaware tax loophole,” which allows companies to base themselves in Delaware, operate in other states (including Pennsylvania), and only pay the Delaware corporate tax rate – a small 8.7%. Forcing companies that operate primarily in the state of Pennsylvania, yet base themselves in Delaware, to adhere to Pennsylvania corporate tax rates, which sit at 9.99%, would generate additional revenue for the state, and could help pay for the Pennsylvania Promise program. Finally, generally raising the corporate tax rate in Pennsylvania could supply more than enough revenue to pay for the program. Any of these three solutions, Jean claims, could allow the state to invest in the program, which could provide intense positive output in the near future, as students graduate college and get jobs in fields that need them, like manufacturing.

The 88th Pennsylvania Congressional District race is coming down to the wire. The election is less than two months away, and both candidates are eyeing a seat in the state assembly. Should Delozier win, this would be her sixth term representing the 88th district. Should Foschi win, it will signal the first time a Democrat has represented the 88th district in its history.