PENNSYLVANIA, USA — In the race for the Pennsylvania House seat in the 199th District, Republican incumbent Barbara Gleim is seeking a second term against Democrat Janelle Kayla Crossley.
Gleim was elected in 2018, replacing Stephen Bloom in the central Cumberland County district which covers Carlisle. She is a businesswoman who formerly operated a excavating company, and is also a farmer. Gleim calls herself a "hardworking conservative."
Crossley believes she is the first openly transgender woman to run for state office in Pennsylvania. She has 25 years experience in the health care industry, and her top priority if elected would be to increase staffing and overall care in nursing home facilities.
Representative Gleim and Ms. Crossley were sent questionnaires from FOX43 about their candidacy and stances on issues. Crossley returned the questionnaire with her responses.
1. Why do you want to represent your district?
CROSSLEY: We need a leader for the 199th in Harrisburg who sees all people as equal, who is committed to listening, and who is ready to work with you and for you, bringing people together on the issues that affect us all right here in the district. It is time to vote for your American values: equality, equity, and justice. I will advocate for policies including school funding, school safety, gun violence, response to climate change, improving infrastructure in our communities, combating homelessness, working for equality and equal pay for women, and ensuring equality for all races, ethnicities, sexual orientations, and gender identities/expressions.
2. What area of public policy are you most passionate about and why?
CROSSLEY: Police Reform, as you get to know me, you will see that I support mental health services and I stand up for people of diverse racial, ethnic, and economic backgrounds. I was glad to see that police reform, Act 59 of 2020, a bipartisan bill signed into law by Governor Wolf, incorporates those values. Police reform can benefit all of us. Act 59 gives police officers ongoing opportunities for mental health counseling and evaluation. The traumatic events that they encounter can be hard to handle, even leading to long term post-traumatic stress. By providing police with free evaluations and making them routine, law enforcement officers can get help more easily when they need it, with less stigma. The law also expands training on how to interact with diverse individuals; adds annual in-service training on use of force and related topics; and on trauma-informed care approaches for interviews and discussions; and provides additional training for magisterial justices.
3. Name three goals you wish to accomplish in the next term if elected?
CROSSLEY: Improve nursing home care and staffing; provide fair school funding for all Pennsylvanian students and provide a safe environment in our schools for learning; and end the homeless crisis in our communities.
4. What is the biggest challenge facing Pennsylvanians in the next couple years?
CROSSLEY: Recovering our economy due to the failure of the current administration in the handling of the COVID-19 pandemic.
5. COVID-19 will continue to be a part of our lives in 2021 and beyond. What should Pennsylvania’s top priorities be as it relates to the pandemic?
CROSSLEY: As stated above, recovery of our economy will be the top priority as well as following the state, local and federal guidelines, recommendations, and mandates on prevention measures to help protect the citizens in our communities.
6. Dr. Deborah Birx of the White House’s Coronavirus Task Force praised Pennsylvania for how it has handled the COVID-19 pandemic. How would you assess the commonwealth’s response?
CROSSLEY: I supported Governor Wolf and Dr. Rachel Levine in the handling of the pandemic. Although I did question some of their decisions and would have liked a more transparent approach.
7. What needs to be done in order to improve Pennsylvania’s economy?
CROSSLEY: Our primary role in shaping the economy and promoting businesses is through our investments in education and training, transportation infrastructure, and health care.
8. Social unrest has played out in front of us as citizens protest the killings of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and other Black men and women. What changes are needed to state laws as it relates to criminal justice reform?
CROSSLEY: Police reform can benefit all of us and especially the Black community. Part of the change needed is independent investigations and prosecutions of police involved shootings. Independent investigations can help restore trust in law enforcement. In addition, court officials must work to create robust systems that identify as early as possible those defendants who need help, not punishment, to prevent them from committing new crimes. County courts should implement diversionary courts, especially those for drug treatment, mental health and veterans.
9. What changes would you make to Pennsylvania’s unemployment compensation system?
CROSSLEY: Improve the Information Technology in all Pennsylvania government agencies and employ competent people.
10. Are you confident in the security and results of this election?'
CROSSLEY: Yes, I feel the mail-in ballots are very secure and a safe alternative for our citizens to cast their ballots.