169th District House race: Klunk vs. Hammond

Logan Hullinger
York Dispatch
FILE - In this Tuesday, Nov. 8, 2016 file photo, a local resident leaves a church after voting in the general election in Cumming, Iowa. Religion's role in politics and social policies is in the spotlight heading toward the midterm elections, yet relatively few Americans consider it crucial that a candidate be devoutly religious or share their religious beliefs, according to an AP-NORC national poll conducted Aug. 16-20, 2018. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)

In one of the few local House seats that has historically gone back and forth between Democrats and Republicans, Republican two-term incumbent Rep. Kate Klunk is hoping to prevent the 169th District House seat from once again turning blue.

She is facing Democrat Sarah Hammond on Nov. 6.

The district includes Glen Rock, Hanover, Jefferson, New Freedom and Railroad boroughs; and Codorus, Heidelberg, Manheim, Penn, Shrewsbury and West Manheim townships.

Klunk: Klunk, who was first elected to the state House in 2016, is a Hanover native with a resume boasting work in the White House.

Rep. Kate Klunk, of the 169th House District, speaks during the Legislative Panel Discussion on the State Budget as the York County Economic Alliance hosts its Spring Legislative Luncheon at Wyndham Garden York in West Manchester Township, Thursday, May 17, 2018. Dawn J. Sagert photo

Prior to her election to office, Klunk worked for the National Economic Council under former President George W. Bush, creating policy briefings for senior staff members.

She's also a 2013 graduate of the Anne B. Anstine Excellence in Public Service Series, a program that aims to increase Republican women's role in leadership positions.

Going into the midterms, she serves as the deputy chair of the House Majority Policy Committee and serves on the standing committees on gaming oversight; agriculture and rural affairs; labor and industry; and judiciary.

"My record speaks for itself, for our county and for our taxpayers," Klunk said. "We've set up fiscally responsible budgets and reformed the pension system, and the people back home appreciate that work."

The Republican also said she's interested in loosening regulations on businesses, fighting tax increases and providing property tax relief.

In regards to education, Klunk said she wants to not only cut college costs, but also provide career paths for those who don't attend college, especially those wanting to get into the manufacturing industry.

"I'm a champion for southern York County," she said. "I stand up for taxpayers, give them a voice and fight for fiscal transparency and accountability in Harrisburg. It's going to be hard to find another person to put up against my record."

Pennsylvania House candidate for the 169th District Sarah Hammond speaks during the 2018 State of the County Committee Breakfast at Wisehaven Event Center in Windsor Township, Saturday, April 7, 2018. Dawn J. Sagert photo

Hammond: The opponent Democrats selected in the primaries to go against Klunk's record is Hammond, a lifelong Hanover native and newcomer to state politics.

Hammond didn't respond to multiple phone inquiries to talk about her campaign, but her website details her platform and why she decided to run.

According to her website, Hammond decided to run after seeing the effects of political gridlock on working-class families. On the site, she emphasizes a need tor bipartisan cooperation in the House.

"I’m a small town woman with blue-collar roots who understands the negative impact that political gridlock creates for working-class families," she writes. "Too many of us are living paycheck to paycheck and struggling to get by while waiting on relief from Harrisburg that never comes."

In terms of Hammond's political platform, she is running on a set of policies seen in many other candidates in the party who are hoping to bring a more progressive influence to the General Assembly after midterm elections.

According to her website, Hammond is a strong supporter of workers' rights to unionize, expanding access to rehabilitation for opioid addicts and working to improve investment in infrastructure in a transparent manner.

She also supports increasing capital lending to small businesses, improving access to health care by making it more affordable and emphasizing technical-based higher education programs and apprenticeship opportunities.

— Logan Hullinger can be reached at lhullinger@yorkdispatch.com or via Twitter at @LoganHullYD.

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