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York County businessmen have figured prominently into state politics lately, and Mike Jones, the longtime president of a consulting and engineering firm, is hoping to be the next one to make a splash.

The 48-year-old Dallastown resident retired earlier this year after 11 years at the helm of St. Onge Co. On Sept. 6, Jones officially announced he would be running in 2018 as a Republican for the 93rd District state House seat.

The district, which includes Shrewsbury and Stewartstown, is currently being represented by Rep. Kristin Phillips-Hill, R-York Township.

Phillips-Hill, in the midst of her second term, announced recently she would be running to replace Sen. Scott Wagner, R-Spring Garden Township, who is running for governor and has said he will not seek re-election to his Senate seat.

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Jones' endeavor into politics is full circle in that regard because he first thought about running for office after touring the Capitol with a group interested in supporting fellow businessman Wagner, he said.

"I was just there seeing about potentially getting involved with his campaign," Jones said. "One quote from a speaker that day stood out to me: 'For most folks here, this is the best job they'll ever have.' ... You want people (in Harrisburg) that don't need the job, and I don't need this job."

He pledged not to take a government pension or per diems and added that he will refuse personal gifts from lobbyists.

Jones said he wouldn't have decided to run if Phillips-Hill wasn't leaving the seat open because he believes she has done a great job, but the opportunity presented itself, and he feels he can be a difference-maker in Harrisburg.

At St. Onge, Jones said he worked with several Fortune 500 companies globally to help with business strategies, so he understands what Pennsylvania needs to change in order to become more business-friendly.

Jones said his legislative priorities would include eliminating school property taxes, tort reform, streamlining regulations and permitting, and encouraging more vocational training.

The 93rd District has been held by Republicans since 1973, and Phillips-Hill ran unopposed in 2016.

— Reach David Weissman at dweissman@yorkdispatch.com or on Twitter at @DispatchDavid.

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