A third Republican has announced his candidacy for the newly created 169th House District, which is moving to southern York County from the Philadelphia area because of redistricting.
Semi-retired business owner Gene Montanarelli said he's set apart from more conservative Republicans by his pragmatic strategy to "work with Harrisburg" instead of vowing to "change" it.
"I won't change the dynamics, probably, until you elect 100 of me," said the 68-year-old, self-described moderate from Shrewsbury Township.
Montanarelli's six-year term as a township supervisor, which ended in December, was his entrance into county politics, he said. President of the Southern York County Republican Club, he said he believes in conservative fiscal policies, but has progressive social views.
A husband and father of three grown daughters, he said he supports women's rights and believes in treating everyone with respect, "whether they're straight, gay, green or black."
"Come on," he said. "It's the 21st century. If you stop and listen to people talk, sometimes you realize you're not that different."
He would carry that open mind with him to Harrisburg and work with Democrats and Republicans to find solutions instead of stagnating in disagreement, he said.
That's achievable even though he thinks legislators need to be more frugal, he said, spending money in smart ways instead of saddling taxpayers with increases as they did with a recently approved transportation funding bill.
Agenda: Montanarelli is in favor of pension reform via giving existing employees the pension they were promised but switching to 401k plans for new employees, he said.
He's also a proponent of lower taxes and thinks the state should switch from property taxes to a retail sales tax, he said. Unlike plans that switch property taxes to income taxes, people would have to buy something in order to pay the tax, he said.
The state could also save money if it stopped prosecuting people stopped with less than an ounce of marijuana, giving people criminal records for a small amount of marijuana.
"We're talking marijuana here, not cocaine ..." he said.
Montanarelli said also wants to limit legislators to 12-year terms and increase the House term from two to four years and the Senate term from four to six years so legislators can spend more time governing and less time campaigning.
Background: Originally from New York, Montanarelli moved to the township from Baltimore in 1993 and started Genesis Sales and Advertising, the company that produces the advertisement place mats seen on tables at area restaurants, 11 years ago.
If he wins the May 20 primary, he'll turn the company over to employees, he said.
Also running for the new seat are attorney Kate Klunk of Hanover and Marc Woerner, a 42-year-old Republican who is a West Manheim Township supervisor.
The 169th will include Codorus, Heidelberg, Manheim, Penn, Shrewsbury and West Manheim townships and the boroughs of Glen Rock, Hanover, Jefferson, New Freedom and Railroad. The district will have a population of about 62,800, according to the state.
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