State representative Dan Deasy will run unopposed in the April 24 primary for the Pennsylvania 27th Legislative District seat he currently holds.
Legislative District 27 covers parts of the City of Pittsburgh, the townships of Neville and Stowe, and the boroughs of Avalon, Ben Avon, Crafton, Dormont, Emsworth, Glenfield, Ingram, parts of McKees Rocks and the Keystone Oaks School District.
For a full map of the areas in the 27th District, click here. Below are details from an interview with Deasy.
Deasy, a Democrat who resides in Westwood, attended Canevin Catholic High School and the University of Pittsburgh. He worked as a supervisor at Pittsburgh's Public Works Department, and served as a Pittsburgh city councilman for four years. He is the chairman of the board of the Pittsburgh Water and Sewage Authority.
Deasy was elected to the House of Representatives in 2008. As a House Representative, he has partnered with the Housing Alliance of Pennsylvania to address blighted communities in this area. He also serves on the Land Recycling Task Force.
Deasy is married and has four children.
There are nine schools districts in the 27th District, and Deasy said while some are doing well, others are struggling under cuts to finances and programs.
“I have some that are doing very well, such as Avonworth and Montour, and they’re building population,” he said. “I have others like the City of Pittsburgh and Sto Rox, and they are really struggling, financially to survive.”
Deasy said funding school programs is important because the schools are the source of opportunity for young people in struggling districts.
“Those kids need school and they need opportunities,” he said. “Making those cuts is having a devastating impact on certain neighborhoods.”
Deasy said he wants to see more money in the state’s budget allocated toward schools and educational initiatives.
“Education is an investment,” he said. “If we choose not to invest now, we have to pay for it later, whether it be unemployment costs, or people leaving the area.”
Cuts to education aren’t the only thing hurting the area, Deasy said. Cuts to transportation lines in and around the city have been devastating to some communities.
“If you want to be a first class city, you’ve got to have transit,” Deasy said. “Come this fall, the port authority is going to be a shell of what it is now if nothing is done.”
Deasy said not enough money is being put into roads and bridges now, and that this should change, given that construction, as well as increased traffic from potential Marcellus shale drilling in or near the area could create extra wear-and-tear on roads.
He said he that in addition to education funding, he also planned to push for greater transportation funding in the state’s budget.
Property assessments have been in the forefront of homeowners’ minds in Allegheny County, and the importance of the issue hasn’t been lost on state representatives, Deasy said.
“That’s something we’ve been busy with since the first of the year,” Deasy said. “Our office has been helping a lot of seniors and others who need to work through it. Everybody gets an assessment number, but nobody really knows what that means.”
Since the House has passed a moratorium, Deasy said, representatives are looking at how other states handle property assessments to determine if there’s a way to handle the situation that would be more fair to all counties.
“It would be good to put the breaks on. It would be helpful to the residents of Pennsylvania,” Deasy said. “It’s a tough issue, especially with seniors who are on a fixed income and who aren’t sure where property taxes are going to go.”
For more information about Dan Deasy, see his website.