Mary Popovich, Justin Walsh vie for 58th Pa. House seat

November 30, 2018

The 58th Pennsylvania House of Representatives District includes Adamsburg, Arona, Jeannette, Madison, Mt. Pleasant, Monessen, North Belle Vernon, Penn, Smithton, Sutersville, West Newton and Rostraver, Sewickley and South Huntingdon townships and portions of East Huntingdon and Hempfield.

Mary Popovich

What are the three biggest issues facing your district?

Blight, jobs and the opioid crisis.

How would you address them?

Blight: I would meet with local council members and township supervisors, ask them to formulate a comprehensive plan ... to create an affordable way to address these issues. I would encourage them to implement the land bank and vacancy registry and perhaps ask them to join the Mon Valley Alliance, which is a group of boroughs and cities in the 58th district in the process of forming a Council of Governments (COG). I would encourage them to take advantage of services a COG could provide in dealing with code enforcement and sharing of municipal services.

Jobs: Unemployment rate fluctuations do not really tell the story of what is happening to middle and lower-class families. Some are working 40 hours a week but are still at poverty level. I would support working on tying the minimum wage to the inflation index.

Opioid crisis: I would advocate for agencies who educate and understand addiction. I strongly support treating these individuals, not punitively; but as an illness that it is. A dedicated funding stream needs to support treatment centers that address the psychological and physiological needs of this illness, since jail does not work and is costlier.

How will you make a difference while in office?

I am the type of person who respects the ideas and opinions of local officials and constituents within the townships, boroughs and cities of the 58th district. If elected I will work tirelessly for the good of all people.

Justin Walsh

What are the three biggest issues facing your district?

The need for family sustaining jobs, the opioid epidemic and ensuring that our schools are adequately funded.

How would you address them?

A strong local economy can have positive effects on the opioid crisis and school funding. I have made it a priority to create local, family sustaining jobs. I have introduced legislation that modernizes Pennsylvania agencies to work better, faster and easier. This would help connect employers with job openings to workers who are qualified to fill them. I want to help create tax incentives to bring family sustaining jobs to our area, provide retraining programs and reform tax codes that prevent businesses from growing.

The opioid epidemic needs to be attacked from all sides. We need to give law enforcement the support it needs ... (and) provide the treatment for those suffering from addiction. We need to educate our children as to the dangers of opioid addiction.

​We need to continue to ensure adequate funding for our schools. During my two years in office we have increased basic education funding, pre-k funding and created a $60 million school safety grant to protect our children. At the same time, growing our economy will increase the tax base and expand home ownership which will ease the property tax burden.

How will you make a difference while in office?

I have fought and will continue to fight to make sure this community is a place my children, my 11 nieces and nephews and all of my constituents’ children will want to call home.

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