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PA House Primary Preview: Southwest

Southwest PA State House District Map

The countdown is underway to the 2024 Pennsylvania presidential primary.

Even though the presidential candidates for the Republican and Democratic parties have been decided, there are still plenty of important primary races taking place around the Commonwealth.

In the second of our series, today PoliticsPA will take a look at two races in the southwestern portion of the state.

GREENE AND WASHINGTON COUNTY

50th State House District
Donald ‘Bud’ Cook (R) vs. Stephanie Waggett (R).

Bud Cook

The incumbent Cook is facing a primary challenger after running unopposed in two of his four previous primaries. He says he is an uncompromising advocate for the constitutional right to keep and bear arms and is a champion for pro-life values. Cook was one of 14 House members to file suit in Commonwealth Court in 2022 to strike down Act 77.

  • Party: Republican
  • Residence: Clover Hill
  • House Committee Assignments: Agriculture & Rural Affairs; Environmental Resources & Energy; Tourism & Economic & Recreational Development.
  • Last Election: 2022 (unopposed)
  • Experience: PA State House (2017-present); City councilor, Buckhannon WV (1986-89)
  • Quotable. “I will not throw around, use, or accept cookie-cutter talking points. We must all acknowledge and accept that new and innovative ideas are what is needed to change our course.”
  • Education: B.S., West Virginia Wesleyan
  • LinksWebsite | Facebook | Twitter | PA Family Voter Guide
  • Fundraising (as of 12/31/2023)
    • Raised: $10,825 | Spent: $20,631.06 | Cash on Hand: $18,960.82

 

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Stephanie Waggett

Waggett is a political newcomer who has served as a child and youth services caseworker and an energy company administrator. She switched her voter registration from Democrat to Republican in January to “reflect her conservative values and voting history.”

Waggett says that she believes in the power of individual liberty, in limited government and pushing back against ‘climate radicals’ that want to destroy the coal/gas/oil industry. A pro-life candidate, she also opposes the legalization of recreational marijuana and supports school vouchers.

  • Party: Republican
  • Residence: Carmichaels, Greene County
  • Experience: Registered Nurse; Fayette Energy Facility plant administrator
  • Quotable. “We must reject the notion of a nanny state and instead choose to empower people and families.”
  • Education. Associate (Nursing), Community College of Allegheny County; B.S., Criminal Justice, University of Phoenix
  • LinksWebsite | Facebook | Twitter | PA Family Voter Guide
  • Campaign AnnouncementObserver-Reporter (3/13/2024)
  • Fundraising (as of 3/4/2024)
    • Raised: $6,675 | Spent: $4,260 | Cash on Hand: $2,415

District Composition. All of GREENE County and Part of WASHINGTON County consisting of the TOWNSHIPS of East Bethlehem, North Bethlehem, West Bethlehem and West Pike Run and the BOROUGHS of Allenport, Beallsville, Bentleyville, California, Centerville, Charleroi, Coal Center, Cokeburg, Deemston, Dunlevy, Elco, Ellsworth, Long Branch, Marianna, North Charleroi, Roscoe, Speers, Stockdale, Twilight and West Brownsville.


WESTMORELAND COUNTY

55th State House District
Jill Cooper (R) vs. Jamie Lingg (R).

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Jill Cooper

Cooper is seeking her second term in Harrisburg after years of Democratic control of the Petrarca family. She is a sponsor of the “No Budget, No Pay” reform legislation and opposes tax increases on Pennsylvania families.

Cooper wants to give parents more control of their children’s education and believes that the Pennsylvania National Guard should be sent to the southern border to support Texas.

  • Party: Republican
  • Residence: Murrysville
  • House Committee Assignments. Education, Labor & Industry, Housing & Community Development and Aging & Older Adult Services.
  • Last Election. Cooper defeated Scott Gauss (D) in the 2022 general, 61.5 – 38.5%
  • Experience. VP Sales and Marketing, Alcoa; Executive Director, Murrysville Economic and Community Development Corporation. Chair, Westmoreland County Republican Committee.
  • Quotable. “The Biden Administration’s negligent mishandling of the crisis at our southern border has left states like Texas with no choice but to take matters into their own hands, and it’s time for Pennsylvania’s leaders to acknowledge their support for states’ rights once and for all.”
  • Education. B.S., Management Engineering, Grove City College.
  • LinksWebsite | Facebook | Twitter | PA Family Voter Guide
  • Fundraising. (as of 3/4/2024)
    • Raised: $29,991 | Spent: $5,619.89 | Cash on Hand: $33,697.20

 

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Jamie Lingg

Lingg is in her first term on Murrysville Council. A local businesswoman, she has fought against zoning restrictions, opposed a costly amphitheater project, and was a leader in the Franklin Regional School District resolution to deny vaccine clinics in schools. Lingg is a staunch supporter of 2nd Amendment Rights and school choice.

  • Party. Republican
  • Residence. Murrysville
  • Experience. Small business owner.
  • Education. B.S., Purdue University
  • Quotable. “With courageous conviction, I will be a voice to protect our rights and a champion to restore our conservative values.”
  • LinksWebsite | Facebook | Twitter | PA Family Voter Guide
  • Fundraising (as of 3/4/2024)
    • Raised: $2,240 | Spent: $0. | Cash on Hand: $2,420

 

District Composition. Part of WESTMORELAND County consisting of the CITIES of Arnold, Lower Burrell (PART, Ward 04 [PART, Division 01]) and New Kensington and the TOWNSHIPS of Bell, Derry (PART, Districts Alters and Simpsons), Loyalhanna, Salem, Upper Burrell and Washington and the BOROUGHS of Avonmore, Delmont, Export, Murrysville, New Alexandria and Oklahoma.

 

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