Pa. Senate candidates spar over their backgrounds

Written by Ben Allen, General Assignment Reporter | Apr 6, 2016 3:47 PM

Andrew Lewis (left) and John DiSanto (right).

(Harrisburg) -- Two Republicans are battling for the party's nomination for a state Senate seat in central Pennsylvania now held by a Democrat.

In a debate at WITF, Andrew Lewis and John DiSanto fought as they try to win support ahead of the April 26th primary.

The 15th senatorial district includes much of Dauphin County and all of Perry County.

Lewis served in the military for several years.

"Having led in the military and being able to build coalitions and reach across boundaries to actually bring people together and accomplish objectives, I think I'm going to be an effective legislator," he says.

"I'm actually going to go in, build coalitions, build teams, accomplish the mission, and I realize that in order to get anything done in the Senate, you have to usher a bill through the legislative process. You need to work with other people and get it done."

"Andrew talks about his military experience and I understand that and I thank him for that, but operating in a chain of command is completely different of operating in an area where you have to develop coalitions and you don't have the ability to order people to do things," counters DiSanto.

DiSanto says his experience running developer Triple Crown Corporation for years separates him from Lewis.

"I question his representation as a business leader in the community. I think that with time and experience he'll get there, but I don't think [his work with his brother's drywall company] qualifies him."

On policy, DiSanto says he's more eager to end property taxes and would call for across the board cuts for state government.

Lewis says he would deal with pensions first, and try to reduce property taxes in a more systematic way.

The two Republicans will meet in the primary in a little more than two weeks - the winner goes on to face incumbent Democratic Senator Rob Teplitz in November.

Teplitz is the first Democrat to hold the seat since 1941.

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