by Courtney Briggs, Staff Writer
by Kylie McGinnis, Photographer
Dr. Richard Saccone, a Republican political science professor at Saint Vincent College is challenging Democrat Representative David Levdansky for State Representative of the 39th district, located in the Allegheny/Washington area, including 11 municipalities.
Saccone began his career as a counter intelligence officer and special agent conducting felony criminal fraud and counterintelligence investigations in the United States Air Force. He lived in North and South Korea for 14 years, where he published a few books and wrote for the local newspaper in Seoul. During his stay in South Korea, he was a TV news anchor and began his teaching career by teaching English classes in his spare time. He completed his Ph.D at the University of Pittsburgh before beginning teaching government and international business at SVC.
Saccone feels he is best suited for the job because of his diverse background. He has domestic and international experience, executive experience, and political science experience. He is not satisfied with the direction of government economically and socially, and claims that he would make positive changes.
Despite the extensive duties of being a state representative, if elected, Saccone wishes to remain at Saint Vincent College, teaching in his spare time. Even if he is not elected, he feels, “I will be a better professor because I have seen politics through a different direction and will know the do’s and don’ts of politics, which cannot be found in text books.”
Saccone says he has knocked on over 15,000 doors for support. “I really can represent the people because I have talked to more than 70% of the district, and by election, hopefully 80%,” he said, “as representative, I can actually represent.”
Saccone has utilized students to help him campaign and attend community events.
If elected, Saccone’s top priority is to enact property tax reform, which he claims will eliminate wasteful spending and balance budgets. He has also made national issues a major part of his bid for office in Harrisburg, focusing largely on the Second Amendment and abortion.
Saccone’s opponent, Representative David Levdansky attended Pennsylvania State University, earning his bachelor’s degree in Political Science and Labor Studies and then obtained his master’s degree of Economics from Notre Dame. He has served as state legislator for 25 years.
Levdansky has demonstrated his qualifications through his years of being the current state representative. He has years of experience, a record of achievement, great job performance, a record of service, and a reputation of fixing issues that relate to individual citizens. He deems himself best for the job because he believes he has firsthand experience as state representative and has been successful for years. Not only is he skilled at budgeting priorities and taking care of problems efficiently and effectively, but he also dedicates his career to making the government more accountable and transparent. He strives to make voters more interested ensuring that the government exists to serve people’s needs.
Besides communicating with his citizens via conferences, phone or electronically, and taking care of legal issues, Levdansky is actively involved in his community. He always has a full schedule, including town, church, and club meetings to keep him busy.
Levdansky explained that in politics, the challenger always has an easier time, because the challenger can say whatever is necessary to get into office and that there is no way to be sure that once elected, the incumbent will actually do what previously promised. Levdansky says that he does not just tell people what they want to hear, but tells it the way it is. He knows that the public will judge whether he represented their interests from his record of performance.
Ironically, Levdansky supported Saccone when he ran for school board in 2003, and Levdansky now finds it surprising that someone he provided an important endorsement for is now running against him.