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Candidates for special election in central Pennsylvania

An upcoming special election is set in five counties to replace a retiring state senator.

PENNSYLVANIA, USA — This is not typically the time of year for political signs, but depending on where you live, you'll see them all over. There is a special election at the end of this month to replace State Senator John Gordner.

Gordner resigned from office in November to take on another role within the senate. He was in the middle of his fifth full term.

The winner of this special election will fill that term in the 27th District. Two candidates are on the ballot:

"When this opportunity came up, it was like an 'ah-ha' moment for me. This is an opportunity to do what I've been talking about: Bringing these communities together, make them stronger, and connect them more," Rep. Culver said.

Lynda Schlegel Culver is in her seventh term as state representative for the 108th District. She has served the people of central Pennsylvania for more than 12 years and says her experience is important.

"Making those connections in Harrisburg, learning how to get a bill off the ground, and knowing that it's not overnight. Change takes time. It's deliberate, and it was designed to be that way so the public can participate as we go through the process," Culver said.

Democrat Patricia Lawton comes from a military family from Columbia County. She is a speech pathologist and has been a judge of elections and a volunteer poll worker.

"The perspectives that I can bring can help to provide information for legislations and policy decisions that other career politicians may not be able to provide," Lawton said. "I'm somebody who has been giving a voice to people that have not had that voice. I've served in the public in leadership positions in volunteer-type organizations, and it's always been my belief that I fight for other people."

Lawton says the most important issues to her are the economy, mental health resources, supporting women's rights, and education.

"Our folks are very concerned about education and access to good education, whether that's early childhood all the way through higher education, including vocational and technical training."

Culver says her priorities are investing in people, investing in infrastructure, and creating an environment where people want to invest in us.

'It's important for them to have water, sewer, roads, bridges, broadband, parks, and recreation. If we don't have that, our people aren't successful. We don't have anyone here who wants to come invest in us."

The 27th State Senate District includes people in Snyder, Northumberland, Columbia, Montour, and parts of Luzerne Counties. The special election is Tuesday, January 31.

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