Swarthmore businesswoman announces campaign for 161st District in Pa. House

DELAWARE COUNTY DAILY TIMES -- A Swarthmore businesswoman frustrated by the policies of Republican Gov. Tom Corbett announced her candidacy Tuesday for the state House of Representatives.

 Democrat Leanne Krueger-Braneky will run for the 161st Legislative District seat. Her potential competitor in the general election, state Rep. Joe Hackett, of Ridley Township, received the endorsement of local Republican Party leaders Monday.

 Krueger-Braneky, 37, is the director of fellowship and alumni for the Business Alliance for Local Living Economies, a nationwide, nonprofit network of 30,000 businesses that promotes strengthening local economies.

 Krueger-Braneky said she has grown frustrated by the business, educational and environmental policies implemented by the state’s Republican leadership.

 “I decided that there needed to be change,” Krueger-Braneky said. “I’m stepping forward to try to be a new voice of leadership in Harrisburg.”

 Krueger-Braneky previously spent eight years as the executive director of the Sustainable Business Network of Greater Philadelphia, a network of 500 businesses working to build a “just, green and thriving economy” in the region. The network was named the Regional Economic Development Program of the Year by the Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission in 2011.

 Krueger-Braneky has met with the White House Business Council on four occasions to discuss the challenges faced by small businesses. She said small businesses in Pennsylvania do not receive the same tax breaks and perks offered to larger companies.

 “In Pennsylvania, our policymakers often think that the way we’re going to get jobs is to give large tax breaks to out-of-state companies,” Krueger-Braneky said. “Study after study shows that they don’t deliver on the jobs that they’re promising.”

 She advocated for giving preference on state contracts to companies located within Pennsylvania, adding that the procurement process can be overwhelming for small business owners.

 “There are number of other states and cities that give preference to state contracts to companies that are headquartered in the region or in the state,” Krueger-Braneky said.

 Krueger-Braneky also called for increased investment into public education and job creation.

 “The Democratic Party really is excited about Leanne’s candidacy,” said David Landua, chairman of the county’s Democratic party. “Joe Hackett’s alignment with Tom Corbett and his policies is way out of step with the 161st district. We look forward to a very vigorous campaign in which we’re going to be taking our message to the voters door to door.”

 Hackett, who was unanimously endorsed Monday by the Republican Committee leaders in the 161st District, said he has not yet become highly engaged in his re-election process.

 “If they want me, they’ll elect me,” said Hackett, who is completing his second term in Harrisburg. “If they don’t, they won’t.”

 Hackett seeks to reform property taxes, pass a balanced state budget without raising taxes and combat prescription drug and heroin abuse.

 “If I can accomplish something on all three of those goals, even in this campaign year, that would be big for me,” Hackett said.

 Hackett, a former Ridley Township police officer, also has co-sponsored legislation to transfer $250 million of slot machine tax revenue to school districts currently receiving less than 35 percent of their funding from the state. The money presently benefits the Race Horse Development Fund. The bill could help reduce the tax burden of property owners, he said.

 “I’m hoping we can get a jump on that and help the schools and the taxpayers at the same time,” Hackett said.

 Krueger-Braneky has lived in Swarthmore for two years with her son, Wendell, and husband, David Braneky. She has a master’s degree in business administration from Eastern University and a bachelor’s degree from Rutgers University.

By John Kopp, Delaware County Daily Times. Read the original story here.