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Two of the three Republican candidates for a state House seat in northern York County said during a Tuesday debate that they aren't in favor of legislation that would outlaw discrimination based on someone's sexual orientation or gender identity.

Dawn Keefer, 43, of Franklin Township, said it would be a tough law to enforce, especially if religious organizations, such as a church, fires someone who doesn't conform to its beliefs.

"You can get fired for almost anything in Pennsylvania," she said.

Anthony Pugliese, the 29-year-old candidate from Fairview Township, said the devil is in the details of laws and he's not a fan of allowing transgender individuals using bathrooms of a sex that weren't assigned to at birth. That became the center of debate after North Carolina banned transgender individuals from using bathrooms for which they identify with.

Pugliese said doesn't believe it's right for a grown man to be in a public bathroom with teenage girls because he woke up that day and "felt like a female."

The third candidate Kraig Bruder, however, said he would need to read the bill but, drawing on his experience in the private sector, added anyone who works hard should keep their job.

"If you work hard, you deserve the job," he said.

The York County Economic Alliance hosted the packed-house debate at the Fairview Township Fire Department. A second debate between the four GOP candidates for the 31st Senate District immediately followed.

In agreement: The trio of House candidates agreed on most issues and their stances on, such as on so-called "prevailing wage" laws and liquor store and municipal pension reform, varied very little.

"We are stuck in the 1960s," Bruder, 29, said of the prevailing wage law, which requires schools and other official entities to pay certain wages for construction-related projects costing more than $25,000

He'd like to see the limit increased to $250,000.

However, Pugliese said he'd like to see the prevailing wage law done away with altogether.

"I support the phasing out of prevailing wage," Pugliese, 29, said, noting the limited hasn't increased with inflation.

All three said the state's liquor system needs to be privatized and the municipal pension system needs to be reformed.

The trio is running for a seat currently held by state Rep. Mike Regan. Pugliese is a former government lobbyist, Keefer runs a consulting firm that raises money for candidates and Bruder, 29, is an account representative from Newberry Township.

Regan is not seeking re-election because he's running for the 31st Senate District seat. Current seat holder Sen. Pat Vance is retiring after this year.

Democratic candidate: A Dillsburg Democrat has tossed his hat into the race as a write-in candidate, which means the contest will likely be decided in the November election.

Curt Werner, a freelance photographer, needs to receive 300 write-in votes in the primary in order to appear on the November ballot.

The 92nd state House District 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.

— Reach Greg Gross at ggross@yorkdispatch.com.

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