Pugliese heroin task force involvement questioned

Greg Gross

Anthony Pugliese, a Republican candidate for the 92nd state House District, is being questioned about his assertion that he's working with the York County Heroin Task Force.

"Presently, I’m working with the York County Heroin Task Force, focusing on keeping heroin out of the West Shore School District," the Fairview Township man's campaign website states, and his campaign Facebook page says he's "actively involved" with the task force.

However, Pugliese is not listed on the heroin task force website as being a committee member, and an official with group said his involvement included only an attempt to have a task force meeting held in the school district.

"He's not a member of the heroin task force," said Pam Gay, the York County coroner who helped found the group, which is working to combat heroin use.

Task force making gains against heroin abuse in York County

Issue: Pugliese defended the campaign statement Tuesday, saying his involvement includes talks with the task force to secure a meeting at a West Shore school so students can learn about the dangers of the drug.

"All I'm trying to do is bring light to a serious issue in York County. I'm simply trying to be active in the community where I can," he said. "If people have an issue with that, that's a shame."

Pugliese's involvement included emailing Gay a few months ago about the district hosting the meeting, Gay said, something she called early discussions.

A meeting date hasn't been set.

Carroll Township resident Scott Derr, who ran against Pugliese for the 92nd seat in the 2012 race that was ultimately won by Rep. Mike Regan, raised issue with Pugliese's claim in a letter to the editor sent to The York Dispatch.

"It's just disingenuous," Derr said in a phone interview. "It's just about embellishing what you've done."

Derr is not working with either of the two other candidates in the race, he said, but he added he's friends with the husband of candidate Dawn Keefer.

The race: Pugliese will face two other Republicans who are vying for the 92nd House District, which includes a large swath of northern York County from Fairview Township in the north to Washington Township in the south. It also includes Monroe Township in Cumberland County.

Also running are Keefer, of Franklin Township, and Kraig Bruder, of Newberry Township. Regan, the current office holder, is running for the 31st Senate District, which became open when Sen. Pat Vance announced she won't seek re-election.

Rank-and-file members of the House are paid $85,339 yearly. They serve two-year terms.

The primary is April 26.

— Reach Greg Gross at GGross@yorkdispatch.com