For both Republicans and Democrats, Bud Cook is a winner for the 49th


Mike Stewart

People cast their ballots ahead of the Nov. 6, general election at Jim Miller Park, in Marietta, Ga.

Jay Kinder, Contributor

The 2018 midterm campaign cycle has been one of mudslinging, attacks, and polarization from both sides of the aisle, up and down the ticket. From Congressional and Senatorial seats all over the country, to a coveted spot in the Pennsylvania governor’s mansion, there is no doubt that this campaign season has been a messy one.

Tuning out of all the high-profile elections and fixing my attention on many local and state races has not only worked wonders for my sanity, but has also totally recalibrated my focus on the races that matter. I’ve found that one local candidate has stressed specifically that politics often play too big a role in our government and that progress must be put first, and they’re actually from right here – in California, PA – and the 49thLegislative District of Pennsylvania, at large: Rep. Bud Cook.

In 2016, Bud Cook took a stand against the political establishment in Harrisburg and brought a new approach to Pennsylvania politics. Rather than accepting “business-as-usual” on the hill, he challenged the system that held Mon Valley residents back.

Cook’s opponent, former Washington County District Attorney Steven Toprani, is a longtime establishment Republican and friend of Washington County Commissioner and Lieutenant Governor candidate Diana Irey Vaughn, State Senator Camera Bartolotta, and other notable Republican leaders. Conveniently enough, however, he had switched parties just before his announcement to run against Cook as a Democrat. Many Dems in the 49thfear that if Toprani were elected, he’d switch back to the GOP. In my opinion, Toprani is clearly just trying to climb the political ladder, rather than running to act as a voice of the Mon Valley.

Bud Cook has worked to bring millions of dollars in funding for education, infrastructure, and economic development back to southwest PA where it belongs. He has also taken a firm stance on the growing opioid epidemic, which is something many families in the 49thdeal with personally, and has worked to bring resolve for treatment and prevention. He’s worked to establish student initiatives for high schoolers, bringing about job options in the trades, where we are expected to have a massive work shortage. Cook’s platform is one that promotes great economic development in the Valley, as well as much needed improvements to quality of life and education.

For Republicans and Democrats alike, I cannot see a clearer option than Rep. Bud Cook. I’ve met many elected officials, but none like him. He’s politically disconnected, and his roots run deep in the Mon Valley. His first two years as state representative show a clear commitment to working with both Republicans and Democrats to progress the 49th forward and get things done. That’s why the political establishment seeks to destroy him at every possible turn. For these reasons, I am proud to support Bud Cook, and I think we should renew his contract as the representative from the 49thDistrict.