Thursday, March 20, 2008

Reform candidate challenges O'Pake for state Senate seat

Richard Nixon was in the White House and the United States was in Vietnam when Democrat Mike O'Pake went to Harrisburg.

Nearly 40 years later, O'Pake is still a member of the status quo political class in Harrisburg, having served two terms in the state House and nine terms in the state Senate.

O'Pake, a 68-year-old lawyer from Reading, wants to return to the state Senate for another four years.

The only person standing in his way is Stephen P. Fuhs, a reform candidate and the only Republican member of Reading City Council.

Fuhs is seeking the GOP nomination for the 11th state Senate seat on April 22. Like O'Pake, he is running unopposed in the primary. The two men will square off in November for the 11th Senate District, which covers the City of Reading, its suburbs and most of eastern Berks County.

Fuhs, a 58-year-old former banking executive, has extensive private and public sector experience, including working for the U.S. Secret Service.

If elected, Fuhs goals are to eliminate property taxes, reduce the cost of state government, promote economic growth by making Pennsylvania more business friendly, and preserve farmland.

O'Pake voted for the July 2005 legislative pay raise and took the money early as unvouchered expenses, a practice ruled unconstitutional by the Pennsylvania Supreme Court.

Read more about Fuhs in The Mercury.

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