News

92nd district: Independent takes on GOP rookie

Written by Rick Lee, York Daily Record | Oct 27, 2016 1:00 PM

(York) -- With State Rep. Mike Regan running for a seat in the Senate, his Legislative District 92 office is up for election.

The Republican candidate -- Dawn Keefer -- took the traditional route to Election Day by winning in the primary. The former chief of staff for retired state Rep. Will Grabig bested her closest challenger by 653 votes.

Kate McGraw took the less-traveled trail, going door-to-door after the April primary, armed with petitions to make her way onto the ballot as an independent candidate.

The 92nd Legislative District includes northern York County and parts of Cumberland County.

Here are the two candidates and their responses to questions posed by the York Daily Record/Sunday News.

Dawn Keefer, Republican, 44, of Dillsburg

Occupation: Small business owner

Family: Married; one daughter; two sons

Political experience: Chief of Staff for former state Rep. Will Gabig; York County Republican Committee woman for 10 years

Education: B.A., government and politics, George Mason University; M.S., public administration, Penn State.

What is your reason for seeking election?

As a wife and mother I understand the challenges of raising a family in today's world and I'm tired of government overreach -- from education to healthcare -- government seems to be undermining my role as a parent.  As a business owner and taxpayer I'm frustrated by the over regulation and taxation of government that's crippling small businesses and robbing property owners. We need people working for us in Harrisburg that understand these challenges on a personal level. I not only understand these issues on a personal level, but I possess the depth of experience as a wife, mother, taxpayer, small business owner and community leader, to understand the measures needed to protect taxpayers and grow our economy.

What do you believe is your constituents' single most pressing concern?

Property taxes. It is the issue I hear most about when knocking on doors, and with good reason. It is the most regressive tax we have in this commonwealth. I support SB76, a plan than would repeal property taxes and replace it with a combination earned income tax and sales tax.

What legislative issue that would benefit York County residents - whether they know it or not -- needs more of your attention?

Agriculture -- The 92nd district is blessed with a wealth of agricultural industry. Again, state and federal over-reach, taxation and non-legislation initiatives undermine local efforts of farmers and associated businesses. From revised land designations, to price fixing, to ultimatum subsidies, the government attempts to drive and direct agricultural growth -- a role that doesn't belong to the government. I would like to work with our agricultural industry to implement efforts that could reestablish entrepreneurial Independence and break some of these governmental partnerships/ties.

Kate McGraw, Independent, 38, of Monroe Township 

Occupation: Artist

Family: Married

Political experience: Running an Independent, robust grassroots political campaign from my home

Education: B.A., Penn State; BFA, Penn State; MFA, Brooklyn College; coursework in Agricultural Business from University of Vermont Agricultural Extension

What is your reason for seeking election?

I was the 8-year-old kid picking up trash from alongside the road in Monroe Township, and playing piano at nursing homes throughout the area in my youth. I was senior class president at Cumberland Valley High School. I have always been civic minded -- and I've rolled this concept into my artwork over the past 15 years. I see this job as a vocational calling -- you really need a passion for this type of work, to work with people and communicate those needs in a convincing manner to a group of legislators with their own priorities. I'm a McGraw -- I have the fight for this.'

What do you believe is your constituents' single most pressing concern?

Nearly everyone I've spoken to so far has expressed disgust with our current leadership. Some voters point fingers at someone specifically, but for the most part what I'm finding is that there is a baseline discontent with our elected officials, and how they conduct business in Harrisburg. People feel disenfranchised. Voters are tired of the status quo, and the lukewarm attempt some legislators are making to affect a real difference in our state. They are looking to vote for someone who cares, and who isn't a Harrisburg insider, like me -- who has a fresh voice, creative approach and vigor. I'm not afraid to get loud for the people.

What legislative issue that would benefit York County residents - whether they know it or not -- needs more of your attention?

York County residents in the 92nd District will really benefit from electing a State Representative who is committed to fortifying our public school system. When elected, I plan to visit every single school in the district and listen to the concerns of parents, teachers, administrators and students. Reviving our educational system is a long-game challenge, and it's not going to happen overnight, and there's no quick fix. Notice that legislators often shy away from putting their weight behind long-term projects -- it's harder to get credit, and shortsightedness often wins elections. For someone looking to climb the political ladder it's easier to say something isn't working in lieu of actually fixing it. I'm more than willing to put in the hard work, also -- I'm a product of our public school system (from elementary school to my master's degree) and now I'm running for public office. Our Pennsylvania schools are something to be proud of.

This article is part of a content partnership between the York Daily Record and WITF. 

Published in News

Tagged under , ,

back to top

Give Now

Estate Planning

Support for WITF is provided by:

Become a WITF sponsor today »

Smart Talk

National Edward R. Murrow Awards

DuPont Columbia Awards

Support Local Journalism

Latest News from NPR

Support for WITF is provided by:

Become a WITF sponsor today »