County treasurer to seek 89th District seat

February 16, 2004|by DON AINES

CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. - Franklin County Treasurer Chris Bender is the fourth Republican to throw his hat in the ring for the GOP nomination in the 89th District of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives.

Bender, 42, of Fayetteville, Pa., joins 2002 GOP nominee and attorney Chris Sheffield of Shippensburg, Pa., Greene Township Supervisor Rob Kauffman and Chambersburg businessman Fred Stenger in the race to succeed Democratic state Rep. Jeff Coy, who is retiring at the end of the year after 11 terms in office.

With the deadline to submit nominating petitions coming up Tuesday, Chambersburg businessman Doug Harbach is the only Democrat to announce his candidacy for that party's nomination.


"My first concern is to maintain constituent service to all the residents of the 89th District," said Bender, who was elected county treasurer in 2001. That means helping constituents resolve problems with state agencies and local governments, he said.

Bender said everyone in the race thinks property tax reform is a priority. He said he studied several plans, but believes the problem is in the state capital, not the proposals.

"Everyone has a good plan for property tax reform, but when they get together in Harrisburg, they can't work together," Bender said. "They need to come up with something everyone can work with," he said.

"I saw it many times as tax collector ... people that had to move because they couldn't afford the taxes on their houses," said Bender, who was the Guilford Township tax collector from 1993 to 2001.

"Our educators do a good job, but I will work to make sure our children are well-educated," said Bender. Financially, he said schools need to be relieved from the prevailing wage law, which inflates the cost of building projects by requiring districts to pay wages on capital projects based on what construction workers earn in Pittsburgh or Philadelphia.

"I like to be a problem solver. I think that's my Number 1 asset," he said.

Bender believes he will be able to work well with constituents and legislators to accomplish goals.

A lifelong resident of Guilford Township, Bender is a graduate of Chambersburg Area Senior High School and attended Penn State Mont Alto and Mount Saint Mary's College, where he took business courses.

"I love my job now, but this is an opportunity I've always wanted," Bender said of the chance to run for the state legislature.

"I just didn't think it would come up this soon," he said, referring to Coy's decision not to seek re-election.

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