Pennsylvania’s 152nd legislative district has a Democrat, a Republican and an Independent vying for the seat to represent constituents in parts of Montgomery and Philadelphia counties.

Rep. Tom Murt formerly held the position representing constituents in several municipalities including Bryn Athyn, Hatboro, Lower Moreland, Upper Dublin and Upper Moreland townships.

Democrat candidate Nancy Guenst, Republican candidate Karen Houck and Independent candidate John Weinrich are on the ballot for the 2020 general election.

The candidates provided responses to the following questions:

Guenst

Nancy Guenst

Nancy Guenst

Describe your background and qualifications as a candidate.

I was born and raised in Hatboro, the youngest of 5 children. My mother brought us up at an early age learning to always give back our community. As a U.S. Army veteran, I served my country as a communications analyst and German linguist at Field Station Berlin from 1977 through 1979. I came home to start my family and became more involved in my community. I’ve served or am currently serving on the boards of Union Library, Rotary International, Inter-Faith, the Chamber of Commerce, Elm Street and The Welcome Project. I am currently in my third year as Mayor of Hatboro after serving two terms as a council member.

Why are you running for this office and what do you hope to maintain or change?

Representative Tom Murt, the current incumbent who is retiring, and I have worked together for many years. He has been a mentor and a friend who has taught me the meaning of truly giving back. We need a strong voice in Harrisburg to advocate for our disability community, our LGBTQ+ brothers and sisters, our elderly, our inequity of funding our schools, common sense gun laws, raising our minimum wage, affordable health care and the future of our environment. The list is long and growing every day. I can be that voice. The Democratic platform is a far cry from my opponents. We desperately need to bring back compassion and empathy and the ability to listen to our State House. Now is NOT the time to cut the CARES program, fund multi-million-dollar companies and increase health care costs. We need to make health care accessible to all. We need to reduce co-pays, feed our children, fund our Main Streets and bring equality to our black and brown communities.

How has this campaign season and your campaigning been affected or influenced by COVID-19?

Campaigning during COVID-19 has been a challenge, but not more than we can handle. We diverted funding into TV, digital and social media platforms. We enlarged our mail program and successfully put our campaign out there with contactless literature drops to ensure the safety of our residents and volunteers. As your next Legislator, I will work for all residents, regardless of party. We need to bring back unity, stop this divide, embrace our cultural differences and become Americans first, political party second.

List your website and/or social media pages where voters can learn more.

  • Website:www.nancy4pahouse.com
  • Twitter: @nancy4pahouse
  • Facebook: @nancy4pahouse

Houck

Karen Houck

Karen Houck

Describe your background and qualifications as a candidate.

As a lifelong resident of the 152nd District, wife, and mother, my life and heart are in this community. I know the people here and understand many of the challenges that we face, even more so during this pandemic. For over 16 years, as a volunteer and elected official, I have demonstrated success in bringing people together, making things better without hitting the taxpayer to pay for it, and was endorsed by BOTH the Democratic and Republican parties when elected as a school board director. In service to our local Education Foundation, library, Chamber of Commerce, Girl Scouts, YMCA and more I have led, or been part of teams that got the job done on a strict budget. Since 2011 I’ve chaired our local Revitalization Task Force, addressing economic development to improve all aspects of quality of life in our community. My volunteer efforts are evident in proven results that have created jobs, improved housing options, and protected limited resources. In 2015 I was awarded a Commendation from the PA House of Representatives upon graduation from the Penn State RULE program, a fellowship program in government leadership. Many past and present legislators and other members of PA state government are RULE graduates.

Why are you running for this office and what do you hope to maintain or change?

My primary goal is to provide responsible, bipartisan leadership on issues that affect our community, including addressing COVID-19 to safely return us to normal, healthcare and education, tax relief, safely restarting our economy to save jobs and small businesses, keeping neighborhoods safe, and local issues like protecting the quality of our water. To do that, I will do what I did as a former local elected official: bring together people of different views and different political parties to build consensus around common sense solutions. The partisan divide in our nation has become too big, and we must work to close that gap so we can move forward on addressing the challenges that affect all of us.

What are the main differences between you and your opponent(s)?

There are several differences that voters should know about, starting with our approach to issues. I have always worked to bring people together to find common ground and mainstream solutions. My opponent, unfortunately, is endorsed by extreme radical groups whose agendas are far from the mainstream – and they have endorsed her because they expect her support. My opponent’s supporters want to defund the police and bring “soft on crime” Larry Krasner-style policies to all of Pennsylvania; I am endorsed by multiple local police organizations to keep us safe. My opponent’s supporters are pushing policies that will cost us thousands of local jobs and drive up taxes and spending; I am endorsed by job creators and those who believe in fiscal responsibility (the NFIB and PA Chamber.) I have personally reached out and have spoken with thousands to hear what is important to them, while my opponent puts the burden on voters to contact her. Finally, voters must ask themselves who they trust to manage their money. My opponent, sadly, has been taken to court 19 times for not paying taxes and bills. I have never missed a tax payment nor stiffed someone to whom I owe money.

How has this campaign season and your campaigning been affected or influenced by COVID-19?

I believe that to truly be a Representative you must “represent” the needs and views of your constituents, and one cannot represent people unless they know them. I have not stopped working for one minute to learn from people here in the District exactly what those needs and views are. While COVID-19 has made doing this in-person (as well as traditional “retail campaigning”) more difficult than in the past, it has not stopped me. Since Pennsylvania began to re-open, I have spoken with thousands at their door, following all CDC guidelines on masks and social distancing. I have personally called thousands more, to hear their ideas and concerns and to share my platform. My campaign volunteers have been working within their own neighborhoods to provide information on voting and other resources during these changing Times.

List your website and/or social media pages where voters can learn more.

Weinrich

John Weinrich

John Weinrich

Describe your background and qualifications as a candidate.

I am a seasoned Remax Realtor with over 25 years of experience in representing buyers and sellers in one of the most significant financial investments of their lives. I have personally and diligently handled hundreds and hundreds of real estate transactions, as well as previously worked for years in our local family business, Weinrich Bakery. I have been married to my wife, Linda (an Upper Moreland High School alum!) for over 30 years and am a proud father of three adult children. With deep district roots going back three generations, I am keenly aware of our future needs and current failures (unacceptably high real estate taxes, wasteful government spending, etc). As a fiscally-minded small businessman, I promise to address and tackle the important challenges for our community with the greatest level of tenacity. My formal education includes graduating from LaSalle College High School and Villanova University, and attending Penn State Abington for Real Estate. I can and will broker productive advancement with both Democratic and Republican members of the assembly. Seize the moment to elect a genuine and productive representative to Harrisburg, instead of sending a “business as usual” political candidate! I care very deeply about my community and desire to assist in its direction and positive change with a TRULY bipartisan, constituent-first focus.

Why are you running for this office and what do you hope to maintain or change?

This is your opportunity to select a representative who will not have any special interest favors or promises to fulfill after being elected. I am ready to give my full attention to enhancing our lives and representing the TRUE interests of the constituents, instead of simply voting a political party line. I have been providing outstanding personalized customer service my entire life. If elected, I would work with the community personally and not disappear into party bureaucracy. One of the prime reasons that I am seeking to be our representative is that as an Independent, I am better suited to convey ALL of the constituents’ wishes more honestly and equitably than either of the two rivaling establishment parties. I support absolute elimination of school tax on residential real estate with no reduction of school funding - accomplished by spreading school funding across all PA residents, not just homeowners (this is already implemented in many other states); reducing gun violence; eliminating the 2,400+ redundant offices of tax collectors for the entire state; providing treatment options, not jail, for those suffering from addiction -- all are issues that I am passionate about. I believe in increasing PA’s minimum wage; there has been no increase in the past 11 years! Other initiatives would be to abolish the state store liquor and create free enterprise for lower prices and greater flexibility/hours, as well as no cost community college.

What are the main differences between you and your opponent(s)?

There are stark and vivid differences between my campaign and my opponents’ campaigns. In order to not have even the appearance of impropriety, I have repeatedly refused to seek or accept one dime of "Political Action Committee” money. Unlike many other states, Pennsylvania law allows House candidates to take a limitless amount of money, as long it is disclosed and used for election purposes. This allows my current opponents to have special interest groups pay for the elaborate, colorful, and extremely expensive mailers that have been routinely coming to your mailbox. Some would say, these groups are paying in advance for a special remembrance or treatment when a legislative action is up for vote which would affect their industry. Do you and I think that a party-backed/PAC money recipient is going to stand up for our true interests? Or will they vote with the interests of the group that paid hundreds of thousands of dollars to get that representative in office? There is an astonishing amount of money coming from outside the 152nd district to impact its outcome, but not to me. The time is grossly overdue to break this perpetual cycle. I plan to help govern with the residents' concerns at heart and do what is fundamentally right for all our citizens and not be beholden to industry money providers. I am ready to assert our positions in the state capital and will not give special interest a vote over citizens' voices.

How has this campaign season and your campaigning been affected or influenced by COVID-19?

When my long-time friend and tireless advocate for the 152nd district Tom Murt decided to retire, I sprang into action as I have also wanted to serve our community in this capacity. I hope to give the constituents a clear choice to elect a well-qualified and deeply-rooted individual to stand up for all of us in Harrisburg, regardless of political affiliation! I have traveled to 47 states and 25 countries, and can confidently say Pennsylvania is a great place to live, play, work, and raise a family and we can make it even better. Even though COVID-19 was in a heightened state this summer, the ballot signature requirement was not reduced for the fall ballot, as in neighboring states. I did not want anyone to help me obtain signatures because of coronavirus, so in 92 degree temperatures and full PPE, I approached door after door. People put on their masks, opened their doors, and enthusiastically signed my ballot papers at 6 feet away! They thanked me for getting involved and wanting to shape a brighter future for our community. I made sure every resident was protected from any exposure. The entire campaign process has been so enlightening - even though I have spoken with thousands of my 152nd district neighbors over my many years in business and real estate, I have recently gained even greater insight when hearing the current concerns and issues important to the community and will use that deep understanding for our collective good.

List your website and/or social media pages where voters can learn more.

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