Meet the candidates fighting to represent you in Harrisburg


Courtesy of WHYY

Nicolas Montero, News Editor

State representatives wield a vast amount of influence. They propose and debate legislation that could benefit or harm their constituents, they serve on committees to better serve the commonwealth, and work tirelessly on behalf of the people they represent in Harrisburg. 

Candidates Joe Hogan and Mark Moffa will be on the ballot in the 142nd legislative district that encompasses the boroughs of Langhorne and Langhorne Manor, and the townships of Upper Southampton, Lower Southampton and Middletown.

Prior to running for office, Moffa worked as a local journalist covering politics on the local level and then later successfully ran to represent the people of Penndel on the borough council. 

Hogan, a current Temple University Law student and former employee of the Bucks County Redevelopment Authority has no prior elected experience. 

Each candidate comes from a unique background that we invite you to learn more about. Here we discuss what inspired the candidates to run for office and we also talk about their policy stances on some of the major issues concerning voters. 


What or who inspired you to run for office?


Moffa: “My mom, because she watches the news all day long and she’s very attuned to what’s going on in the world and is very concerned about a lot of things going on.” 

“Particularly when Donald Trump came on the scene and the years since about where this country is going and so she said jokingly “you need to save the world” and I knew she meant it as a joke and she would say this over and over again.” 

“But I did sort of view that as not as a joke but kind of a meaningful thing [asking] is there something more that I can do? 

“I do enjoy public service and I do want to have a life that is meaningful and to make a difference for good in our society, that’s why I’m involved with our local government. So when this opportunity came up to run for state representative as people kind of looked at me and asked me about it, I felt a calling.”


Hogan: “My first job after college was working for our former congressman Mike Fitzpatrick, so I worked for Mike in his congressional office for about six years in Langhorne and in Washington DC. That’s where I think I was inspired for public service, but I was in Poland back in March when Frank Farry reached out to me and said that he was going to run for the state senate seat and suggested that I run for his seat in the state house.”


What do you want voters to know about you? 


Moffa: “I think that my life story, which is one of learning at an early age through growing up very poor as an only child with a single parent and realizing the importance that good government could have in people’s lives, [and] the value of thoughtful programs. [These programs] are sometimes disparaged but we relied on them growing up very poor in the city of Camden.”

“I sort of grew up a little more and I went through college and my first job out of college being a newspaper reporter. I really got to see how things work at the local government level, and that’s where the decisions that were being made that impacted people’s daily lives the most [took place]. No one was really paying attention, and so I vowed to get involved in local politics once I actually settled down somewhere, and that’s exactly what I did.”

“That sort of is a big part of the fabric of my being. I’ve worked two jobs and also as a public servant and a volunteer at the same time. I’m just tireless. I try to do as much as I can. I think the voters should know that as an elected representative, I will continue to work tirelessly for them.”


Hogan: “I want voters to know that I’ve been out knocking doors since April. I’ve knocked about 8,500 doors myself personally because I am committed to winning this race. I’m not afraid to talk to people, I’ve been going right up to their door introducing myself, and I think that means a lot to people. It’s something that Frank Farry has done since his first race back in 2008, and it’s something that if I am fortunate enough to win this race that I will continue to do even as an incumbent.”


What is your stance on women’s reproductive rights in Pennsylvania? 


Hogan: “Abortion is legal in PA [and] Roe v. Wade did not change that. I mean, I am personally a pro-life person and I’ve been on record about saying that, but I understand there are differences of opinion in this district.” 

“It’s a very 50-50 district on just about every single issue, and I think if we can look past the labels and have an actual discussion with people, we’re going to realize that the average American has a lot more in common than they think they do on this topic.”

“There are very few people that want to see abortion banned in all cases, and there are very few people that want to see abortion allowed in all cases and somewhere in the middle is where the majority of Americans stand. I think that is where we are going to find a consensus on this issue that tries to limit the amount of elective abortions but keeps in place the procedure for rape, incest, or if the mother’s life is at risk because of a failed pregnancy or some other complication.”


Moffa: “I am committed to protecting and advancing reproductive health, rights, and justice. I believe unequivocally that every person should have access to quality reproductive health care services, including safe and legal abortion, regardless of where they live, how much money they make, or how they are insured.”

“ I believe that reproductive health is core to people of all genders’ health and well-being.”

“Reproductive freedom is tied to economic freedom, and the overwhelming thrust of the evidence is that this is going to negatively impact women and other pregnant people’s economic prospects, their mental health, their physical health, and ultimately their lives. The end of Roe v. Wade is likely going to have a devastating fallout.”

“These decisions are not for any politician to decide. In Harrisburg, I will fight for reproductive freedoms for all.”


What is an issue that you feel is important but not talked about enough?


Hogan: “I think the big one here, [is] there’s a lot of issues right now being talked about in varying degrees, the economy is obviously on a lot of people’s minds, crime is on a lot of people’s minds right now, education is a big concern for a lot of people, one of mine that I don’t know is getting enough attention right now is the fentanyl crisis that is happening across this country.” 

“Drugs are pouring in from the southern border. They are pouring in from shipping containers in California and places like that, and… killing people left and right.”

“…it’s something that we also have to address at a societal level and make people more aware of how deadly this drug actually is and the lives that it is ruining in the process.”


Moffa: “I’ll talk about the economy because it really is the other top issue, and it’s a perennial issue. Everyone is always talking about the economy and there are always good parts of the economy and bad parts of the economy. There is never a time when every single aspect of the economy is doing well. You know, right now we are struggling with inflation, so everyone is worried about prices going up and wondering how they can continue to buy things and to live and to live the lifestyles that they are accustomed to living. When we talk about making life more affordable for our families and our seniors, there really aren’t a lot of things a politician can do to reduce the price of your eggs and your milk in your supermarket.”

“At the end of the day, we have a capitalistic economy, we have a free market, and prices are going to be set in the private sector for the most part. So where the government can help is more usually on the other side trying to reduce costs for families not by the prices of the goods they purchase but in other ways.”
“Two of the things that we’ve been talking about a lot in my campaign are helping families with childcare costs and trying to help seniors with property taxes.”

“The main reason your property taxes go up is because of the way we fund our public schools, so what we need to do is shift that burden and [provide] more funding for the public school systems”


What sets you apart from the other candidate?


Hogan: “I think it’s the fact that I was raised here. I’ve been involved in the community [by]either working in government or working in volunteer opportunities for the better part of my entire life. I think the difference is that Mark wants to be somebody. He keeps running for something, and that raises the question of why he keeps running for various offices and why is he actually doing this? Is it because he wants to be somebody, or is it because he just wants to help the community… I’m not so sure.”

Moffa: “I don’t want to put down someone whose experience has been as a paid person in this industry, but I do think there is a big difference between Joe Hogans’s experience as a paid congressional staffer in D.C and then [when] he got this appointment to a paid position on a county authority. He has never been elected to anything and he has never had constituents to serve in that way.”

“I moved to Bucks County, and I started volunteering for things right away. I volunteered for the Farmland Preservation Corporation in Lower Makefield [and] I volunteered for the Zoning Hearing Board, which is very intense in Lower Makefield. You learn a lot about government as a hearing board” 

“I’ve run police budgets. They want to say that Democrats are trying to defund the police, [but] I’ve increased police funding every year in our budget because the department needed it and our community needed it, and so I’ve actually dealt with these issues, and that’s a level of experience that you should look for when you elect someone at the state level.”


What is your stance on raising the minimum wage here in Pennsylvania? 


Hogan: “Minimum wage…should increase naturally given the right demands, and I think you’re hard-pressed to find places in our area, especially that pay well above the minimum wage at this point.”

“I will say that I think the 7.25 dollars an hour should be increased only because I think the minimum wage should be a benchmark that has some parity with inflation.”

“We have to find a balance between that but also understand that there are other state employees that should have a pay raise as well. There are people that are paid with state dollars that have critical roles in our society, such as home health aids and other types of nurses, or other folks in the healthcare industry that are paid with tax dollars that probably deserve a pay raise to keep up especially with inflation right now.”


Moffa: “It has to be at least 15 dollars. But that’s going to depend on whether or not we are in the majority. What I will say is that I will always try to work with Republicans to try to find common ground.”


What is your stance on gun control in Pennsylvania?


Moffa: “I’ll begin the answer by saying that I support the Second Amendment. I support the right to bear Arms, but I do feel that we need some real restrictions on that. I support what I consider to be common sense gun violence prevention measures.”

“These would be things like strengthening background checks and closing loopholes in that area [and] changing red flag laws to try to keep folks from getting guns who might be a danger to others.” 

“I do believe in banning military-style assault weapons. I just don’t think there is a legitimate use in our society for those.”

“Those are three steps that I would take right there, and I am proud to have the endorsement of Moms Demand Action and also of CeaseFire PA.”


Hogan: “New gun control legislation does nothing if criminals are not actually held to account for the crimes they commit.” 

“We are seeing this happen in Philadelphia where someone is arrested with a gun and immediately released back on the street to find another illegal gun.”

“However, I do support raising the age to purchase any gun to 21. The federal government and states such as Florida have enacted similar legislation.”


What is your plan to improve education in this district? 


Moffa: “My mom was a public school educator. Her service and experience in the National Education Association (NEA) was a crucial part of my life.”

“I would encourage our institutions to take any steps possible to develop practices that improve diversity, equity, and inclusion in both the student body and the faculty. We must acknowledge that not all of our students have the same educational opportunities in their K-12 schools, so their level of college preparation varies.”

“We must do all we can to help each and every student to succeed. We must understand that we are educating individuals whose trajectories will take them directly into public-service careers, such as law enforcement, criminal justice, social work, healthcare, education, politics, and the endless opportunities that exist to improve our society.”

“Affordable, high-quality childcare is a huge problem in our district. Families are forced to decide whether or not to be a part of the workforce or stay home with their children. High-quality childcare is extremely important for keeping children safe while their parents are working, and additionally, it provides children the ability to develop in ways that prepare them for school, life, and beyond.”

“I am the only candidate that is endorsed by the AFT Union and the Associate of Pennsylvania State College and University Faculties (APSCUF).  I will fight to ensure Harrisburg upholds its duty to provide the highest quality public education to every student in the Commonwealth.”

“In addition, I am aware that if the state investment in public education is strengthened, our school districts would be less reliant on local property taxes for funding.”

“Easing the local property tax burden is key to keeping life affordable for seniors who deserve to be able to live out their retirement in their own homes without having to move due to high property taxes.”


Hogan: “Education is probably one of the most important things that the state government can fund. I firmly believe that.”

 “My niece is at Temple to become a teacher, and young people need opportunities. They need good equipment, they need up-to-date textbooks, [and] they need a safe environment to learn in.”

“At least in Bucks County, for the most part, we have pretty well-funded school districts that provide pretty good opportunities for students, but a lot of the money that Bucks County sends to Harrisburg doesn’t necessarily come back to Bucks County.”

“What needs to happen is more of that money coming back so that the Neshaminy or Council Rock School Districts, for example, can continue to make the types of improvements they need and keep up with the innovation changes, so they’re not using or increasing taxes on their residents to do it.”