Economic recovery tops the agenda in 33rd District state House race

With a victory for the Democratic nomination in the state House 33rd District race, Fox Chapel resident Mandy Steele is poised to take on Republican nominee Ted Tomson of Fawn in what both are calling a race significant for regional revitalization.

“People in this district see how sticking to the status quo is decimating their communities and limiting their opportunities, and they’re tired of it,” said Steele, 44.

Tomson, 47, said many communities “are trying to regain the commercial significance they once had and, in order for leaders to reach their goals, they need a lot of help at the state level.”

Steele defeated Tristan McClelland of O’Hara in the Democratic Party primary. Unofficial results from the Allegheny County Elections Department showed Steele won with 5,313 votes to McClelland’s 2,954 with all precincts reporting.

Tomson ran unopposed in the GOP primary.

The 33rd state House District stretches from Sharpsburg to Fawn.

This is Tomson’s second bid for elected office. He was defeated 20 years agowhen he ran against Jim Ferlo, who died this month, for the state Senate’s 38th District.

Tomson said he decided to enter the race for state representative after seeing the number of municipalities in his district trying to spur commercial rebirth.

“Being a small-business owner in the area, this excites me,” said Tomson.

His family runs Tomson Scrap Metal, which has scrap processing facilities in Brackenridge and the Karns section of Harrison.

“I decided that, with my business background, my education and involvement with the community through my charitable and professional work, I could carry forward a lot of the work that has begun.”

Tomson said there is diligent work underway by community leaders who need help from the state to reach their goals.

“I want to be that conduit as our state representative,” he said.

Tomson is running on a platform of economic revitalization that he said would benefit people “in Sharpsburg all the way up the river to Harrison.”

At the same time, Tomson believes there are communities that aren’t seeking big changes but still require state support to maintain status quo and stave off deterioration.

“Being a lifelong resident of the area, living and commercing in all of the communities involved here, I feel that I can balance each one’s wants and needs,” Tomson said.

If elected, he would work to bring “disposable-income jobs” to the area.

“The current economic times are looking a little scary,” he said. “It’s more important now than ever for federal and state government to support extracting our natural resources.

“We can be a powerhouse, not only nationally, but internationally here in Western PA and have a huge surge in manufacturing and other ancillary businesses, which would be high disposable-income jobs. We need the money being made here, brought here and spent here.”

Steele also believes the region is “on the verge of potentially massive investment and job growth.”

Steele’s views

A current member of Fox Chapel Council, Steele said she hears repeatedly that the region is at a crisis point with regard to energy and inflation, and “that we’ve got to transition our workers to clean energy so that we create and keep jobs here.”

“That message wasn’t just coming from Democrats,” Steele said. “Their message to me has been recurring: Move away from dying industries and embrace industry that will have an immediate and positive impact on our communities and is exponentially growing.”

Steele recalled Southwestern Pennsylvania as the manufacturing center of the country. She believes the area can return to that glory, but with clean energy this time.

“We can manufacture the components for this job surge right here,” she said. “The people of this district are ready.

“We’ve got to put people in Harrisburg who will advocate for the funding to fuel this transition and protect both our workers and our environment. These are going to be good-paying, family-sustaining, union jobs, and our communities will all be lifted up by this transition.”

Tawnya Panizzi is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Tawnya at 724-226-7726, [email protected] or via Twitter .

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