LEWISTOWN - Candidates for Pennsylvania's 171st District faced off on Thursday night at the Measure the Candidates event sponsored by the Mifflin County Farm Bureau held at the Mifflin County High School.
State Rep. Kerry Benninghoff, R-Bellefonte, and Democratic challenger Christopher Lee, of Boalsburg, took questions from the audience. The 171st encompasses, Brown and Armagh townships in Mifflin County, as well as portions of Centre County.
The two candidates first gave opening statements and Benninghoff said he was happy to speak at an event that promotes democracy by allowing voters to ask questions and make up their own mind.
Sentinel photo by BRADLEY KREITZER
Representative Kerry Benninghoff, right, and his opponent, candidate Christopher Lee, answer questions during the Measure the Candidates event presented by the Mifflin County Farm Bureau Thursday evening at the Mifflin County High School auditorium.
Lee said he appreciated the invitation, adding that his family has always supported agriculture and education.
Both candidates said they support agriculture, but in different ways.
Lee said supports the Farmland Preservation Program, while Benninghoff said he was proud to support the new law put in place to exclude family farms from paying inheritance tax.
The candidates were also asked if they supported the "Castle Doctrine," and both said they do.
In his closing remarks, Lee reinforced his support of education funding and environmental policy that protects our water supply from the possible negative impact brought on by gas drilling.
Lee promised to "govern from the middle" and cautioned voters to be wary of outside lobbyists who manipulate the legislative process.
Benninghoff closed by stating he was proud to serve the people of Mifflin County and would not participate in negative campainging.
Benninghoff said he has always tried to be candid and responsive with people, especially when it comes to the importance of balancing the budget.
The incumbent said he worked hard on a recent bill that will promote jobs by keeping payroll taxes local.
Benninghoff also said that gas drilling companies in the Marcellus Shale region are paying their fair share through an impact fee, despite the rhetoric espoused by some. A total of $200 million will be redistributed throughout the commonwealth as a result of the impact fee.
State Reps. Adam Harris, R-Mifflintown, representing the 82nd district and Mike Fleck, R-Huntingdon, representing the 81st district were not at the event. Both candidates are running unopposed.
In addition, Republican U.S. Rep. Tom Marino, representing the 10th congressional district, and his Democratic challenger Phil Scollo, as well as U.S. Sen.Bob Casey-D, and Republican challenger Tom Smith were also invited to the event, but did not attend.