Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Frustrated 'reformer' will give up PA House seat in 2010

State Rep. Barbara McIlvaine Smith was swept into office in 2006 on a wave of reform talk after the pay-raise debacle of 2005.

Three years in Harrisburg has convinced McIlvaine Smith that reforming Harrisburg is a lost cause. She's bailing out, announcing this week that she will not seek re-election next year to her 156th House District seat.

McIlvaine Smith, a Democrat, told The West Chester Daily Local News she can no longer be part of a legislative body that is dysfunctional and unwilling to institute meaningful reform.

"The system is such that it's not set up to accomplish anything or to resolve issues," she told the newspaper. "The way it's set up, the leadership in all four caucuses has a vested interest in maintaining the status quo."

McIlvaine Smith blamed both Republican and Democratic leaders in the House and Senate for blocking meaningful reform.

"When I was elected, I got to Harrisburg with 50 reformers," she told the newspaper. "But the leaders pulled them in."

The 156th District had been held by Republicans from its creation in 1969 until 2006. McIlvaine Smith was a surprise winner when Republican Elinor Z. Taylor retired after holding the seat from 1971 to 2006.

Republicans should be able to win back the seat in 2010 if Chester County GOP Chairman Joseph "Skip" Brion gets his act together. Some inside the Chesco Republican Party blame Brion for picking the wrong candidate to run against McIlvaine Smith in 2006 and 2008 and then failing to support the candidate. Maybe this time, Brion can get it right.

Read the full story by reporter Dan Kristie at the link below:

The Daily Local News : Serving Chester County

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