Chester Heights Dem accounces bid against Quinn in 168th – Delco News Network

This post was originally published on this site

With 16 months to go before the election, Democrat Philip Block of Chester Heights has announced his candidacy for the seat held by state Rep. Chris Quinn, R-168, of Middletown.

The 51-year-old scientist for PeroxyChem and Chester Heights borough councilman decided to run for the Legislature out of concern about how national politics will effect, as well as a concern for women’s rights.

“My biggest concern is the national politics, a lot of that legislation is going to be moving down to the state level,” Block said, as he added, “Equal rights, women’s rights, I think are under the greatest attack.”

The incumbent, reached in Harrisburg amidst budget discussions, said he’s concerned about his legislative duties at the moment.

“From my perspective, I was twice elected by the residents of the 168th Legislative District and I’m not focused on re-election at this point,” Quinn said. “I’m solely focused on representing the people and doing my best to be accessible to everyone and to make sure that I am representing everyone, not one specific group.”

Relatedly, he said he moved his district office to Media to make himself more accessible to people.

Block himself is relatively new to elected office, although he has been active in the Mid-County Democratic Committee.

In Chester Heights, which now has a Democratic majority on the board, he won the November 2015 election.

“I blame it on my kids,” Block said. “It was development. The previous council basically did a lot of overlays and really didn’t do a good job informing the town … They were totally ignoring us. So, we were really angry. I always told my kids, ‘If something makes you angry, do something about it.’

“They were like, ‘What are you going to do about it?’” Block said.

So, he ran for office, not really expecting to win – but he did.

And, now, he’s eyeing a seat in Harrisburg.

“Probably, like most Democrats, I’m not happy the way politics have gone nationally and at the state level,” the married father of two said. “The rhetoric is horrible. So, I’ve got this angst to do something … I think I have the chance to do something here that fits my background, my desire to see a positive change.”

He said he’s concerned about a diminished capacity of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, as well as people’s property rights and sensible gun control.

However, Block identified women’s rights as a big concern.

“I’m not that fond in general of the Republican Party stance on women’s rights and equal rights,” he said. “I don’t think right now there is a strong advocacy with my incumbent or the Republican Party in the state on ensuring … women’s reproductive health.”

He also said education is important to him.

“Not everybody has (the Garnet Valley School District),” Block said. “I’m lucky ‘cause I got to move there and give my kids that experience. People in Chester don’t have that experience. It makes the playing field so uneven, so uneven.”

He said one way to equalize it would be through increasing the state’s share to prior levels.

“I would like the state to fully fund education,” he said, referring to the 50 percent the state once paid for public education. According to Newsworks, Pennsylvania pays 36 percent below the national average of 45 percent.

However, Block said money isn’t enough. He said parental engagement, enabling good teachers to teach in underprivileged areas and utilizing more progressive, interactive teaching methods need to be part of the mix.

In addition, Block said he wants to see emergency services placed as a higher priority in the states, especially as the volunteer ranks have been declining for years.

The councilman expressed his enthusiasm to be in the race. “As a candidate, I’m very excited to do this and very excited to represent the people of the 168th,” Block said. “I’ve been touched so far by the people that have helped me and have been willing to support me.”

The district includes Chester Heights, Edgmont, Media, Middletown, Newtown, Thornbury, Upper Providence and a section of Marple.