Which way will the balance tip? Jim Prokopiak, Candace Cabanas contend for Pa. 140th state House seat in Bucks County

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With the Pennsylvania House of Representatives locked in a draw at 101-101, voters in Bucks County will serve as tiebreakers in Tuesday’s special election.

Republicans are looking to wrest control over the 140th House seat, which encompasses Falls Township, Morrisville, Tullytown and parts of Middletown Township.

It’s the fourth time in less than a year that the control of the lower House is at stake.

The Democrats lost their slim majority last year following the departure of longtime state Rep. John Galloway, who resigned from his post and became a judge.

GOP candidate Candace Cabanas said she wants to prioritize local issues facing working-class voters. Although it’s objectively difficult to ignore national interests when the Associated Press is calling and a Washington Post reporter tags along during a day of knocking on doors.

“It feels strange, because that wasn’t my focus. My focus was just how do I best set my foot forward to run for this race and represent this community,” Cabanas said.

Standing in the GOP’s path is a sizable Democratic voter registration edge and a party desperate to defend its relatively new power in the state House. Democratic candidate Jim Prokopiak said he’s up for the challenge.

“We’ve seen what happens when the Republicans control both the House and the state Senate and we have a Democratic governor — the governor’s priorities pretty much die on the vine and not a lot gets done,” Prokopiak said. “We need a Democratic state House to really push forth that agenda that we really think is important for working-class families here in Bucks County and all over the state.”

Prokopiak wants Bucks County to be a more affordable place to live

A lawyer by trade, Prokopiak lives in Levittown with his wife and three children. He currently serves on the Pennsbury School Board and the Bucks County Redevelopment Authority.

Prokopiak, a former Falls Township supervisor from 2002 to 2009, said while local politics can solve a lot of problems, he acknowledged its limitations.

“We need really statewide solutions to many of these problems,” Prokopiak said. “And so that’s one of the reasons I decided to run as I saw issues that are affecting my local community that we couldn’t just solve at the local level.”

His platform focuses on property taxes, expanding affordable housing, codifying abortion rights and increasing state education funding — he said he’s seen firsthand how an absence of money at the state level has overburdened local taxpayers.

“We’re talking about working-class families who are struggling to put a roof over their families heads, make sure their kids have a quality education, make sure they have affordable health care, and maybe a pathway to retirement,” he said.

Prokopiak is proposing the “inclusion of affordable housing as a mandatory provision, aligning with practices in New Jersey.”

“The houses are out of the price range of the average Bucks County resident and so we needed to do a better job of addressing that,” Prokopiak said.

Prokopiak is also advocating for a $15 minimum wage and the legalization of marijuana.

  • February 9, 2024
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