Americans gear up on Tuesday to settle one of the most contentious presidential elections in recent memory as President Barack Obama and Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney go head-to-head, local races promise to be just as intense.
One of the most heated campaigns is the one for state representative of the 122nd legislative district. The candidates, Democrat Ron Rabenold and Republican incumbent Doyle Heffley, are vying for the two-year seat.
Heffley, of Palmerton, was elected to his first term in office in 2010.
Heffley has campaigned on a platform of pro-business and property tax reform. He serves as secretary of the House Tourism and Recreational Development Committee, and on the House Game and Fisheries, Human Services, and Transportation committees. A former industry consultant, Heffley is a member of the Coal, Property Tax and Pro-Life caucuses.
He was recently named a "Guardian of Small Business" for his business-friendly voting record.
Heffley graduated from Lehighton Area High School in 1989 and attended Lincoln Technical Institute, receiving an associate degree in architectural drafting and design. A member of Jerusalem Evangelical Lutheran Church, Trachsville, he is married to Kelly Heffley. They have two children, Elizabeth and Angela.
Heffley is a member of the Sons of the American Legion Post No. 314 and the Indian Mt. Rod and Gun Club. He's also a former member of the Towamensing Township Planning Commission, and has served as a member and chairman of the Carbon County Republican Committee.
Rabenold, of Lehighton, is a political newcomer, a writer, and a teacher in the Lehighton Area School District. He is a 1986 graduate of Lehighton Area High School, and graduated from Kutztown University. He has campaigned on a platform of pro-education, effective leadership and improving resource management.
A member of Jacob's United Church of Christ, Weissport, Rabenold is married to Kimberly Rabenold, and they have two sons, Nathaniel and Jonathan. He is a member of Lehigh Fire Company #1; Lehighton Legion Post #314; Sons of the American Legion, and Beaver Run and Mauch Chunk rod and gun clubs and the National Rifle Association.
In the race for state senator of the 29th legislative district, incumbent Republican State Senator David G. Argall is vying with Democratic state Representative Tim Seip. The 29th District includes all of Schuylkill County, and parts of Berks, Carbon, Lehigh, Monroe and Northampton counties.
Argall, of Tamaqua, was a state representative for 25 years before being elected senator in 2009, following the death of the late James J. Rhoads.
His platform is built around promoting job growth, reducing the property tax burden on homeowners and revitalizing our downtowns and older industrial areas.
He authored the Waste Tire Recycling Act, which helped clean up more than 33 million waste tires. Argall also chaired the 2010 Senate bipartisan Government Management and Cost Study Commission, which unanimously recommended more than $400 million in taxpayer dollars.
Argall graduated from Lycoming College and earned a master's degree at Penn State's Harrisburg campus. In 2006, he earned his Ph.D. in public administration from Penn State. His doctoral dissertation reviewed the benefits and drawbacks of Pennsylvania's tax-free Keystone Opportunity Zones for economic development. As time permits, he also serves as a part-time public policy instructor at Penn State.
Argall is vice chairman of the Senate Urban Affairs and Housing Committee, and is a member of the Senate Appropriations, Aging and Youth, Community, Economic and Recreational Development and Inter-Governmental Operations committees. He serves on the Local and School Property Tax Relief Caucus, and is also a member of the Joint Legislative Air and Water Pollution Control and Conservation Committee. He serves as a member of the Ben Franklin Technology Partners of Northeastern Pennsylvania Advisory Board, Hawk Mountain Sanctuary Association Chairman's Council, Pennsylvania Parks and Forests Foundation's board of directors and the Schuylkill Community Action Board.
Argall lives in Rush Township with Beth Argall. The couple has two children, AJ and Elise.
Seip's platform is built around advocacy for working families, job creation, property tax reform, education, gun owner's rights.
Seip, of Pine Grove, graduated from Pottsville High School and earned a bachelor's degree in Criminal Justice Administration from Mansfield University. He went on to earn a Master's degree in Social Work from Marywood University.
Seip worked as a social worker in the Pottsville area until 2006, when he was first elected state representative. He was again elected to the seat in 2008, serving until 2010. Seip currently teaches social work at Kutztown University.
He is a member of the National Rifle Association; the Pine Grove Lions Club; Little Run Sportsman's Club; Fraternal Order of Eagles Aerie 134, and the Relay for Life. He is married to Starr Seip. The couple has a daughter, Elisa.
Pennsylvanians will also elect candidates to a number of other important offices.
*Congressional Representative of the 17th District: Republican Laureen A. Cummings and Democrat Matthew A. Cartwright, both of Lackawanna County, are vying for the office. The 17th District includes all of Schuylkill County, and parts of Lackawanna, Luzerne, Monroe, Carbon, and Northampton counties.
*Congressman of the 11th District: Incumbent Republican Congressman Lou Barletta seeks to retain office, with opposition from Democrat Gene Stilp. The 11th District includes all of Columbia, Carbon, and Monroe counties, and parts of Luzerne and Lackawanna counties.
*State Treasurer: Democrat Rob McCord will fight to keep his seat in the face of opposition from Republican Diana Irey Vaughan and Libertarian Patricia M. Fryman.
*State Auditor General: Republican John Maher, Democrat Eugene A. DePasquale and Libertarian Betsy Elizabeth Summers are competing for the office, currently held by Democrat Jack Wagner.
*Attorney General: Republican David J. Freed, Democrat Kathleen G. Kane and Libertarian Marakay J. Rogers are vying for the seat, currently held by Republican Linda L. Kelly.
*U.S. Senator: Incumbent Democrat Bob Casey Jr., Republican Tom Smith, and Libertarian Rayburn Douglas Smith are vying for the office.