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Candidates for House hold forum

April 17, 2004|by BONNIE H. BRECHBILL

bonnieb@herald-mail.com

CHAMBERSBURG, PA.- Residents of the Menno-Haven Retirement Communities crowded the chapel at Penn Hall for a "Meet Your Candidate" event Friday afternoon.

The forum also was carried on the in-house television channel.

Three Republican and one Democratic candidates for the 89th District of the State House of Representatives presented their views and answered questions.

All are seeking the seat held by Jeff Coy, D-Shippensburg, who is stepping down after 22 years of service.

The 89th district encompasses Shippensburg and Southampton Townships in Cumberland County, the borough of Chambersburg, and Greene, Letterkenny, Lurgan, Southampton and parts of Guilford townships in Franklin County.

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The lone Democrat, Doug Harbach, 43, said that he learned the values of the community as a radio reporter for several years. He worked for Coy for seven years and "learned what it was to be a good public official," he said.

He also worked for an advocacy group in Harrisburg and has been a businessman in Chambersburg for 12 years.

Harbach said that public service is about leadership. He said that people who come to his office will get an answer, and they will get service.

Running in the April 27 primary as one of three Republican challengers, Fred Stenger, owner of Johnnie's Restaurant and Hotel Service in Chambersburg, said he has been in business for 30 years and has dealt with bureaucrats, provided jobs, contributed to causes, and participated in community activities.

"Citizenship is about giving back to the community that has given you everything," he said. "I will be a citizen legislator, not a career politician."

Stenger, who serves on the Chambersburg Hospital Board, said that if he goes to Harrisburg, he will solve the problem of physician access.

As a businessman, Stenger said he knows the effect of higher taxes and increased health-care costs. Summit Health has more than 2,000 employees, and the cost for their health insurance will increase by $5 million to $7 million in the next adjustment, he said.

Chris Sheffield, a Shippensburg resident with a law practice in Chambersburg, ran against Coy in 2002 and lost by fewer than 500 votes.

The Marine Corps veteran said he is for "being on the right side of an issue."

Sheffield told the senior citizens that he owes "a heartfelt debt" to their generation, and that he would appoint a senior citizen liaison to visit local retirement homes to listen to the concerns of residents.

Rob Kauffman, a Greene Township supervisor for five years, said he is about family, service, faith and community.

"I don't talk about what I'm going to do, I do it," he said. "Experience does count."

His issues are to reform the medical malpractice system, the property tax system, to strengthen the economy by creating new jobs and to reduce prescription drug costs.

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