Activist Zarah Livingston to Run Against Pittsburgh-area Democratic Lawmaker Tony DeLuca | News | Pittsburgh

Click to enlarge

Photo: Courtesy of Hospital Workers Rising

Zarah Livingston

Zarah Livingston, 27, of Penn Hills, told the Capital-Star on Monday that she plans to challenge State Representative Anthony DeLuca (D-Penn Hills) for a seat in the eastern suburbs of Pittsburgh.

Livingston is a UPMC healthcare worker who also helps run No cop money Pennsylvania, a group that demands that elected officials “refuse police union money and, instead, donate to organizations that uplift black communities.”

DeLuca, 84, was first elected in 1982, and Livingston said it was time for someone new as “he’s been the same person longer than I’ve been alive” .

One of his priorities, Livingston said, is to fight mass incarceration by decriminalize marijuana and magic mushrooms, also called psilocybin.

On a related note, she criticized DeLuca’s vote last week to change state law to regulate nonprofit surety funds in the same way as for-profit surety companies.

“Why would you basically want to take out something that helps people help each other, help your neighbor?” Livingston asked, pointing to the high cost of legal bills.

Livingston also said she wanted a representative with closer ties to the community, wanted to tackle gun violence by creating new after-school programs for young people and making it easier for citizens to access public information such as fundraising records. in the countryside.

Her campaign site further lists environmental justice – such as banning hydraulic fracturing – demilitarizing the police and tackling homelessness as top priorities.

Running avoids labels, Livingston added, because “people are growing and changing all the time. So why wouldn’t you be allowed to do this politically? “

“It makes perfect sense to me,” she said.

Speaking to the Capital-Star on Monday, DeLuca said he planned to run for re-election for a 21st term, saying he still had “the initiative and the courage to come out” and that he sponsors “Good legislation that will benefit our society.” “

The longtime Democrat ranked on the Home insurance committee, DeLuca has been an advocate of setting Provisions of the Affordable Care Act in state law.

He also racked up a record number of Conservative votes on issues such as guns, mandatory minimums and abortion rights.

But there are recent counter-examples. He voted against a bill last week to allow concealed transport without a license, saying that it could harm the police; he joked on the House floor that the vote could bring him an electoral challenge.

DeLuca argues that his positions match his district and that the Democratic Party is big enough to stand up and those who might disagree.

“I think it is important that all Democrats are not labeled as anti-police or socialist, we are a big tent,” he said. “We have pro-guns, we have pro-life, we have anyone.”

“In my district, they want police protection,” DeLuca added. “I certainly support the police. “

Regarding Livingston’s priorities, DeLuca said he would vote to decriminalize marijuana, but not to legalize it completely.

DeLuca questioned the management of bail funds and argued that the groups were overturning court decisions by bailing out the poor.

“It should be up to judges, not individuals,” DeLuca said.

Livingston joins growing ranks of political newcomers announcing races against new and old lawmakers across the state.

In Lancaster, Democratic Representative Mike Sturla, elected in 1990, is focused towards at least one challenger for the seat of the 96th House District, And a wave of progressive challengers started advertising in Philadelphia.

The exact battle lines for all of these contests, however, are still undecided. The state’s legislative redistribution commission has yet to release any new maps.

As currently drawn, the 32nd arrondissement of the house The seat DeLuca now holds is a racially and economically diverse district, comprising parts of Penn Hills, as well as Plum, Verona, and Blawnox.

DeLuca has face a main contender his last two elections, winning both with around two-thirds of the vote. He was rarely challenged in the general election, winning his last contested race in November in 2012.

As a queer black woman, Livingston added that while he was unsuccessful, she hoped she could motivate someone else like her to run for office in the future.

“There are like a lot of opportunities for this to turn into something,” Livingston said. “I don’t know what it would be. But I hope for something good. “

Stephen Caruso is a journalist at Pennsylvania Capital-Star, where this story first appeared.

Comments are closed.