U.S. Rep. Todd Platts is a moderate Republican with an image so clean he squeaks.
He commutes to Washington, D.C., then returns every night to the 19th District, where he takes particular pride in his constituent services.
Reform-minded, Platts doesn't accept PAC money, crusades against earmark funding and supports a line item veto and term limits for members of Congress.
Even adversaries acknowledge he's a hard-working, honest man of integrity.
On social issues, Platts is a product of his environment. While we might not agree with all of his positions, he does mirror many of his constituents' conservative streaks.
Although decidedly anti-abortion, he also supports stem cell research. He's against same-sex marriage, but he supported an amendment expanding the definition of a hate crime to include gender identity and sexual orientation.
Platts is the right man at the right time for the 19th District, and it would take a particular kind of Democrat to unseat him in any General Election.
Ryan Sanders comes close to being that candidate.
Perhaps the most serious challenger Platts has faced, Sanders, who holds a master's degree in international relations, was able to stand toe to toe with the incumbent on the issues -- and he managed to do it without sounding too Democratic, a plus that can't be overstated in this district.
In fact, at times during an interview with The York Dispatch editorial board, we wondered why he didn't challenge Platts in the Republican primary.
He advocates personal responsibility and bemoans big government and wasteful spending, claiming many federal policies and mandates have hobbled our economy.
Like Platts, he favors earmark reform and the line item veto, but he also supports campaign finance reform and overhauling the redistricting system.
The Red Lion businessman believes top-down stimulus doesn't work, and investing resources in small businesses is the way to jump-start the economy. He favors expanding small business loans, while calling for an end to corporate welfare.
Sanders says he decided to make his first run for public office after becoming disgusted with the bitter partisan politics of Washington, D.C., an animosity that is overshadowing the reason lawmakers are there in the first place -- to work for the common good.
We agree, and in fact have been distressed to see that partisanship in Platts, who's seeking his sixth term.
For example, Platts, who opposed the health care reform legislation, said in an interview with the Dispatch editorial board he would join Republicans in blocking funding for it if they retake Congress in November.
That's exactly what this country doesn't need right now.
While the law passed earlier this year isn't perfect, we desperately need health care reform. Rather than holding the benefits hostage until Republicans get their way, we would have preferred if Platts had pledged to work with the other party to make the law better.
That's the approach Sanders, who once worked for the Republican Leadership Council in Washington, says he would take.
For this reason among many others, the Dispatch editorial board seriously considered endorsing Sanders. But in the end we felt we just did not know enough about this newcomer to the local political scene.
We predict, however, that if he stays active and involved in York County politics, he just might be the Democrat to reckon with in the future.
Josh Monighan, a Cumberland County resident, is challenging Platts as an independent, and, while good-intentioned, he's not on the same level as either the incumbent or Sanders.
We recommend voters send Platts back to Washington, where we hope he uses those qualities the 19th District knows and respects to help restore civility to a House too deeply divided.