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Luksik to meet with Exit 7 foes

August 06, 1998|By DON AINES

CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. - Constitutional Party candidate Peg Luksik, who ran third in the 1994 Pennsylvania gubernatorial race, will be in Chambersburg today to meet with opponents of the proposed Exit 7 project.

"This particular exit certainly illustrates the problems that occur when the state tries to micromanage land use," Luksik, 42, of Johnstown, Pa., said Tuesday.

She said she has studied articles and legal documents from the decade-long battle over the exit in preparation for her visit.

The mother of six, Luksik collected 460,000 votes four years ago, compared to 1.6 million for Gov. Tom Ridge and 1.4 million for the Democratic nominee, former lieutenant governor Mark Singel.

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This fall she will face Ridge and Democratic nominee Ivan Itkin.

Shippensburg, Pa., attorney Tom Linzey will escort Luksik to the proposed interchange site off Walker Road at about 9:45 a.m.

He said she took an interest in the project "because of Governor Ridge's earlier campaign promises that he wouldn't let PennDOT (Pennsylvania Department of Transportation) override local land-use planning."

Funding for the exit was included in a 1987 federal highway bill, but construction has been held up by opposition from citizens' groups and Greene Township, Pa. In June, PennDOT introduced a modified plan, adding a bridge across Interstate 81.

Greene Township Supervisor Paul Ambrose said Ridge "criticized PennDOT for ignoring local comprehensive plans and said as governor he would work with local governments trying to control growth."

Ambrose said the township has spent more than $630,000 in legal fees to block the project. He said he has not been asked to meet with Luksik.

Linzey said he knows Luksik through his work with the Ballot Alliance Coalition, which is pushing for a bill to reduce the number of signatures needed for third-party candidates to get on the ballot for statewide office. That includes the Constitutional, Green, Libertarian and Reform parties.

Linzey, a Green Party member, said small-party candidates need 24,000 signatures, compared to 2,000 for Democrats and Republicans. House Bill 1918 would reduce the number to 4,000, he said.

Linzey said Luksik collected more than 75,000 signatures on her petitions.

Luksik and the Constitutional Party's anti-abortion stance drew support around the state in 1994, including 2,877 votes in Franklin County, Pa. She said the party platform has other planks to limit government's role.

"We believe the Second Amendment is just that and should be upheld," Luksik said of the amendment guaranteeing the right to bear arms.

She believes "education is a local issue" and parents and teachers should have greater control in running school districts.

Luksik said the state should collect only the taxes necessary to run government. She would eliminate the state inheritance tax and return government surpluses to taxpayers if elected, she said.

Luksik called Ridge a "career politician" whose political agenda may be influenced by his desire for higher office.

She described herself as "a citizen who seeks to do her time of service and go back to being a citizen."

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