(WHTM) — Democrats have a slim, one-seat majority in the Pennsylvania House, but the balance of power could switch back to Republicans after a special election in Delaware County is held on Tuesday, May 16.
The two main candidates seeking the open seat debated in Harrisburg at abc27 with Dennis Owens acting as the moderator.
“I’m excited, actually, for the attention that our small little district is getting across the state,” said Heather Boyd (D), one of the candidates for the 163rd House seat.
Boyd faces off against Republican Katie Ford, one of whom will likely replace Mike Zabel, who resigned amid sexual harassment allegations.
Both women are pro-choice despite what one calls misleading ads.
“My opponent has just enacted a huge, hundred-thousand-dollar campaign to smear me on this issue. And if you had just asked me on it, I would tell you that, number one, I also believe it’s a woman’s right to choose,” Ford said.
Both candidates support even more money for schools. Boyd, a former school board member, says fair funding would be her number one fight.
“The Republicans have continued to make that decision to underfund those school districts. And I would ask the governor to fund our schools equitably,” Boyd said.
Boyd and Ford also said they have both been personally touched by the opioid crisis.
“I am a sibling of two heroin addicts,” Ford, who wants more help for those in recovery, said. “We’re giving them 30 days to be in rehab and then we’re throwing them out into the street. If you’re lucky, you get into a really good program and they’ll extend it a couple of months.”
“I’m really glad that the state actually just allowed fentanyl strips to be used and that Narcan is going to be available over the counter,” Boyd added.
Both support further restrictions on guns.
“I think that we need to make sure that our guns are stored safely. They should not be in the hands of children. They should not be in the hands of those with who have said they would hurt themselves or others,” said Boyd.
“I think that they should even take it one step further and you should be able to have a training course before you’re allowed to leave with that gun,” Ford said.
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Though many Democrats want a different presidential candidate in 2024, Boyd’s ok with riding with Biden.
“Well, I don’t know who else will be in the race, but I do think that =Joe Biden has done a tremendous job for Pennsylvania,” Boyd said.
Ford says she voted for Donald Trump in 2020.
What if it’s Trump-Biden in 2024?
“I think I would abstain voting to be quite honest with you, because I think neither of them are qualified candidates,” Ford responded.
The special election is on May 16th. Experts say it’ll be a low-turnout election but hopefully, Delaware County voters will prove them wrong.