LANCASTER COUNTY, Pa. — State Representative David Hickernell (R-Lancaster) is one of the longest tenured legislators in the Pennsylvania House of Representatives, and this November, he is seeking a 10th term in office. Hickernell is facing a challenge from Democrat Bill Troutman.
PA House District 98 covers portions of western Lancaster County and Londonderry Township in Dauphin County.
A lifelong resident of Elizabethtown in Lancaster County, Troutman, an electrician, serves on the borough's town council.
He ran for State Senate in the 36th District against incumbent Republican Ryan P. Aument in 2018.
Troutman says he is committed to supporting working families by fighting for higher wages, accessible and affordable health care, safe workplaces, as well as policies that support small business and family farms. He is committed to fairly funded public schools that prepare our young people for the demands of college, careers, and citizenship regardless of a school district’s economic standing. And he's committed to a sensible energy policy that supports gas industry jobs in the commonwealth while ensuring the protection of property rights, soil and water resources for the future.
Hickernell responded to a candidate questionnaire sent by FOX43. Troutman did not. Hickernell's answers are below.
Why do you want to represent your district? Public Policy Priorities. Name three goals you wish to accomplish in your next term if elected?
REP. DAVID HICKERNELL: It is an honor to serve my friends and neighbors as their State Representative. My commitment has always been clear—put politics aside and focus on the issues that matter to our community. I have a proven record of putting people first and getting positive results by working together. If re-elected, I will continue to build on my record of service to my constituents both in Harrisburg and in the district. In these challenging times, we need leaders we know and trust. I hope that I have earned the support of the residents of the 98th District and I ask for your vote so that I can continue to represent you in the Pennsylvania House of Representatives.
If re-elected, I’ll continue to prioritize passing budgets that don’t raise taxes, working to eliminate school property taxes, funding education at record levels, focusing on economic growth to provide greater job opportunities, and keeping our neighborhoods safe. I will also continue to be a leader on reforming Harrisburg – which is why I refuse taxpayer-paid per diems, cars and trips and oppose legislative pay raises.
What is the biggest challenge facing Pennsylvania in the next couple years? What needs to be done to improve our economy?
REP. HICKERNELL: The economic impacts of COVID-19 will be felt for years to come. Leaders from all walks of life – in and out of government – must come together to restore our economy in a way that protects children, working families and the most vulnerable – as well as frontline workers dedicated to keeping us safe. We must ensure increased transparency and responsiveness that includes input from a diverse set of leaders, from those in the healthcare community, educators, small businesses, government officials as well as moms and dads and grandparents committed to their children’s future. A thriving economy that creates jobs also creates hope – and that is our best path forward.
What changes are needed to state laws as it relates to criminal justice reform?
REP. HICKERNELL: There is no Republican or Democrat way to reform the criminal justice system – we need to work together to find commonsense solutions. We’ve already made progress by passing the Clean Slate Law earlier this year as well as new reforms to help improve policing – including enhanced training, new procedures and increased communications. We must also continue to foster respect for the brave men and women in law enforcement who risk their lives every day to protect our communities.
what changes would you make to the PA’s unemployment compensation system?
REP. HICKERNELL: The General Assembly has been allocating funds to update and upgrade the unemployment compensation system for years. In fact, several years ago I voted for special funding to modernize the unemployment compensation system – to upgrade technology and increase efficiency. For whatever reason, the Wolf Administration did not take the steps necessary to modernize the system. The impact of the coronavirus revealed gross inefficiencies and inadequacies in Pennsylvania’s unemployment compensation system and their outdated technology. My offices continue to receive calls and emails every day from constituents who still have not received an unemployment payment and who can’t get through to the Department of Labor and Industry. The Governor and the Secretary of Labor and Industry have yet to take responsibility.
Are you confident in the security and results of this election?
REP. HICKERNELL: There is no doubt the coronavirus response has impacted nearly every aspect of our lives in 2020. Election security has always been critical, and I recently voted for legislation that makes voting in Pennsylvania more secure. I’m proud that both the Lancaster and Dauphin County Boards of Elections has increased training for Election Day Workers and are working hard to ensure the integrity of your vote. The General Assembly has also voted to give local boards of elections the tools they need to ensure timely results.