Doyle Heffley, who two years ago became the first Republican to represent Carbon County in the state legislature in over 35 years, won the retention of his seat in Harrisburg yesterday.

In Tuesday's balloting, he turned back the challenge of political newcomer Ronald Rabenold, a Democrat who is a teacher in the Lehighton Area School District, by nearly 4,300 votes during unofficial balloting.

Heffley, of Palmerton, got 14,194 votes (58.89 percent) while Rabenold, of Franklin Township, received 9,892 ballots (41.04 percent).

He remarked, during a small victory party held at the Bowmanstown Fire Company, that his win is attributed to the seriousness he applied to his office during his first term, the dedication of the staff at his district offices, and the hard work of volunteers who helped him get re-elected.

"I'm looking to hit the ground running for our second term," he said, adding that he anticipates continuing holding town meetings.

Economic growth, job creation, property tax relief, and addressing school funding will be priorities, the state lawmaker said.

Heffley commented, "I got a great team working for me. Our volunteers, our campaign committee, they're all volunteers." He said he had poll workers helping him during the election yesterday.

"I want to say a big thank you to the people who helped me and to everyone who supported me," he stated.

"It's very humbling to sit back and think about the awesome responsibility this office holds, representing the 122nd Legislative District. I will work hard to retain that confidence."

At the gathering in Bowmanstown, he was surrounded by his wife, Kellie; his daughters, Elizabeth, 15, and Angela, 11; and his parents, Larry and Roberta Heffley.

Heffley and Rabenold got to meet in the November election by easily winning in the May Primaries. Heffley was unopposed in May while Rabenold defeated fellow Democrat Gerald F. Strubinger, getting 64.89 percent of the votes.

As results came into the Carbon County Election Bureau last night, Heffley was in the lead from start to finish.

In 2010, Heffley won over challenger Justin Yaich to become the first Republican to represent the 122nd Legislative District since the late Joseph Semanoff occupied the seat in 1973.

In 1974, that representation was turned over to Thomas J. McCall, a Democrat who served as state representative until his sudden death on Christmas Eve in 1981.

McCall's son, Keith McCall, ran for his father's seat and won, holding it until 2009 and emerging as Speaker of the House until he decided to retire.

In 2008, Heffley made his first appearance in the political ring and challenged McCall but lost by over 7,200 votes. During his first term, Heffley has been named to serve as secretary of the House Tourism and Recreational Development Committee and also as a member of the House Game and Fisheries Committee, the House Human Services Committee, and the House Transportation Committee. He is also a member of the Pro-Life Caucus, Coal Caucus, and Property Tax Caucus.

Heffley kept his pledge of reform by refusing perks like a state-paid automobile and per diems.

He is a life-long resident of Carbon County. He is a 1989 graduate of Lehighton Area High School and Lincoln Technical Institute where he received his associate degree in architectural drafting and design. Prior to his election to the State House, he served as a transportation industry consultant.

In addition to attending Jerusalem Evangelical Lutheran Church in Trachsville, he is a member of the Sons of the American Legion Post 314 in Lehighton, the Indian Mountain Rod and Gun Club, the Beaver Run Rod and Gun Club, Lions Association, the National Rifle Association, and the Lehighton F & A M Lodge 614.

He is a former member of the Lower Towamensing Planning Commission and has served as both committeeman and chairman of the Carbon County Republican Committee.