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Sheffield sets sights on state house seat

March 12, 2002|BY STACEY DANZUSO

CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. - A local attorney said Monday he plans to challenge a 10-term incumbent for his seat in the state House of Representatives.

Chris Sheffield, of Shippensburg, Pa., said he will run in the May primary for the Republican nomination for the 89th district seat in the state house.

Democrat Jeff Coy of Shippensburg has represented the district for 20 years and announced last month he will seek an 11th term.

"People are ready for a change," Sheffield said.

He said he has collected more than 1,400 signatures on a petition. All candidates are required by state law to collect 300 signatures to be eligible to run in the primary. The filing deadline for the upcoming primary is 5 p.m. today. No other Republican or Democratic candidates have filed as of Monday night.

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If Sheffield and Coy are unchallenged and win their respective primaries, they will face off in the November general election.Sheffield, 38, said he is especially interested in senior issues, property taxes and whether state legislatures should vote on their own pay raises.

"There should be referendums. What man or woman working votes for their own pay increase?" he said.

Sheffield said he favors abolishing property taxes as a way of funding schools, calling it unfair to senior citizens.

He recommended a sales tax structure to make up the income.

"We are one of a few states that continue to use this tax structure. Clearly other ways are working," he said.

Sheffield said he is running for office for one reason.

"I want to take the true voice of this district to Harrisburg," he said. "I want out conservative, hard working, family values to be heard."

Sheffield also promised the crowd gathered on Memorial Square for his announcement that he would make decisions based on what's best for the people of the district.

"We need a voice in Harrisburg that is more concerned about the people of this district than their own pay plans," he said.

Sheffield said he worked five years for the Washington, D.C., Transit Authority and oversaw millions of dollars in construction projects and put in place a method to track government expenditures and hold people accountable for how tax dollars were used.

"That experience is desperately needed in Harrisburg," he said. "Every nickel the government spends is not just the government's money, it is your money and we need to make sure it's spent properly."

Sheffield opened a law practice in Chambersburg for the last three years, but said he would also draw on his experience as the owner of a construction company and four years in the U.S. Marine Corps when representing the district.

"While serving in the United States Marine Corps, I earned a Navy Achievement Medal for Outstanding Leadership. If I can be an outstanding leader in the finest fighting force known in the worked, I can be an outstanding leader in the Pennsylvania House of Representatives," he said.

Sheffield is a native of Fulton County. He is a graduate of Dickinson College School of Law and lives with his wife Dawn and three children in Shippensburg.

He is a member of the Oasis Love Church in Shippensburg, the Shippensburg Citizens Rally Against Pornography, the National Rifle Association, the Pennsylvania Farm Bureau and the American Legion.

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