Election 2020

The District: The 98th encompasses a wide mix of rural and suburban areas in the western part of the county. Although it includes some small groupings of Democrats in Columbia and Elizabethtown, it is overall a safe Republican district. Bill Troutman, who is challenging eight-term lawmaker Dave Hickernell, has run unsuccessfully for multiple elected offices in the past, including Congress and the state Senate.

Represents: Conoy, East Donegal, West Donegal townships; boroughs of Columbia, Elizabethtown, Marietta and Mount Joy; Dauphin County’s Londonderry Township.

David Hickernell 3.jpg

Rep. David Hickernell (R-Lancaster) is interviewed by The Caucus staff at the Pennsylvania State Capitol on Wednesday, November 20, 2019.

Candidate: Dave Hickernell (incumbent)

  • Party: Republican.
  • Age: 61.
  • Residence: West Donegal Township.
  • Occupation: Legislator since 2003. Previously Lancaster County clerk of courts, state House staff member.
  • Education: Elizabethtown College, Bachelor of Arts in psychology.
  • Family: Wife Karen and daughter Jessica.

1. Why are you running? What is your pitch to voters?

It is an honor to serve my friends and neighbors as their state representative. My commitment has always been clear — put politics aside and focus on the issues that matter to our community. I have a proven record of putting people first and getting positive results by working together.

If reelected, I will continue to build on my record of service to my constituents both in Harrisburg and in the district. In these challenging times, we need leaders we know and trust.

I hope that I have earned the support of the residents of the 98th District and I ask for your vote so that I can continue to represent you in the Pennsylvania House of Representatives.

2. What are your priorities to help the state recover from the economic and human toll the coronavirus pandemic has taken?

The past seven months have had a huge impact on each and every one of us. I have heard many sad stories from people who have lost so much due to the pandemic. While we must continue to protect our most vulnerable citizens, we need to all work together to rebuild and safely restart of lives.

I am committed to continuing to support our frontline workers and provide critical funds for struggling small businesses and displaced workers. We must also focus on job creation to help our local economy recover as quickly as possible.

3. Can you briefly describe what you would do to address what residents have told us are the issues they are most concerned about: health care, the state budget and school property taxes? Given the 200-word limit, you may choose to respond to a single topic instead of all three.

By far, the number one issue I hear about from residents in the 98th District, is school property taxes. Hardly a day goes by when someone does not call, email or speak to me about the burden placed on their finances by ever-increasing property taxes. That’s why I have been a strong advocate for the elimination of property taxes.

During my time in the House of Representatives, I have co-sponsored and voted for numerous bills to get rid of and/or greatly reduce this onerous tax. Several years ago, we passed a law that makes it harder for school districts to raise taxes, but we need to do more. I will continue to fight for our seniors and other homeowners, many of whom can no longer afford to pay this tax.

4. Surveys show that partisanship is increasing and people of different political views are growing less trustworthy of one another. How will you seek to build bridges to voters who don’t support you or share your views?

I have always worked with Republicans, Democrats and Independents to do what’s right for the people I represent. Public service is about putting people before politics and my record speaks for itself. My local offices serve every person who seeks assistance, regardless of party.

As a committee chairman for the past six years, I have worked hand in hand with my Democrat colleagues on these committees and have earned a reputation as a consensus builder and someone who puts politics aside to get things done. My job is to represent everyone to the best of my ability, and I pledge to continue to focus on putting families and our communities first.

36th Senate Debate

Bill Troutman, Democratic candidate for the 36th Senate District, makes a point during a debate at Penn Cinema Thursday, Oct. 25, 2018.

Candidate: Bill Troutman

  • Party: Democrat.
  • Age: 61.
  • Residence: Elizabethtown Borough.
  • Occupation: IBEW electrician.
  • Education: High school diploma from Elizabethtown Area High School.
  • Family: Wife Joan, daughter Lindsay and son Bill.

1. Why are you running? What is your pitch to voters?

I have lived in PA’s 98th district my entire life. I’ve been involved in many activities — scouting, coaching, and borough council — that served this community. Not once did I ask if I was serving a Democrat or Republican. I helped to advance the people, all people, in this area.

I worked many jobs from farmwork to QA management at a local pharmaceutical plant until becoming an IBEW electrician. My electrical work took me all over the state. I worked and also coordinated multimillion dollar jobs.

These volunteer and work experiences have given me great insight into how to build, and/or rebuild the economy in our community. Decreases in wages and either the loss of or cost of health care have shattered working families. Property owners, small businesses, construction and even the plates at church have seen a downturn in revenue. Supply and demand economics is increasing the costs of necessities.

I plan on finding the answers for my neighbors to overcome this health and financial hardship. Not once will I ask if I am serving a Democrat or a Republican. I will work tirelessly in search of how we can collectively overcome these issues.

2. What are your priorities to help the state recover from the economic and human toll the coronavirus pandemic has taken?

Although affecting the poor and middle sectors of our workforce the most, this virus was particular in whom it affected. Certain ethnic groups and those with existing conditions took the brunt of it. Obviously those with health care and those who are most healthy have fared better through this pandemic so far. Those on Medicaid, Medicare, those without insurance, and the working poor suffered tragically.

A better affordable health care system would be a great start. Small businesses took a more devastating hit than larger businesses when it comes to this killer pandemic, although certain types of businesses have done very well. Delivery companies have had fantastic business while manufacturing was cut by a percentage of allowable work force due to social health reasons.

Businesses at all levels, depending on specifics, will need help. Small businesses will need the most help recovering. The current PA congress is completely out of touch with the needs of working people in Pennsylvania. Businesses are gone, jobs were lost and the fastest way to get jobs created and money flowing is investment in Pennsylvania’s infrastructure. Building Pa. and creating jobs is a win-win.

3. Can you briefly describe what you would do to address what residents have told us are the issues they are most concerned about: health care, the state budget and school property taxes? Given the 200-word limit, you may choose to respond to a single topic instead of all three.

With the Fed propping up the Dow making it look like our economy is booming although it isn’t, and the top 270 Pennsylvania companies collectively avoided paying $73 billion in state income tax over a five-year period, Pennsylvanians need to stand up.

The average working family means absolutely nothing to Pennsylvania’s current legislature. Pennsylvania’s current tax cuts have done very little to bring new jobs to our state. Job growth in the commonwealth has lagged well behind most other states ranking 48 or 50.

At a time when public services that ordinary people rely on face inadequate funding, we shouldn’t be having a conversation about lowering taxes for profitable corporations, which only means working families have to pay more. We should be talking about how to ensure corporations pay their fair share.

Our current budget is about $33 billion. Just think what we could do to create jobs to stand working families back on their feet. Just think what we could do to fair education funding, which could lower school taxes. Just think what we could do to create affordable housing. Just think what we could do for better health care.

4. Surveys show that partisanship is increasing, and people of different political views are growing less trustworthy of one another. How will you seek to build bridges to voters who don’t support you or share your views?

Finding common ground is very important to get a conversation started. Research says “FEAR” usually makes people more conservative. Liberals have likely grown up experiencing more diversity and resilience from hardship. Most conservatives were raised around people with similar beliefs and socio-economic status. This makes them most reluctant to change be it good or bad for them. Liberals are less happy with their lives and think of ways in which the world can be improved, striving for a better experience for all.

Recognizing these ideological differences is an essential factor in judging when to start a discussion. Having the right talking points is also crucial when trying to make actual change. Activists and lobbyists need to understand and appeal to the values of their opponents.