Mustio, 54, of North Fayette, said he originally thought John Maher or Gastgeb would run to replace Pippy, but when Maher announced his Auditor General bid and Gastgeb dropped, he threw in his hat.
He plans to circulate petitions for his 44th District House seat too, due to uncertainty about the ongoing reapportionment mess.
Mustio's full statement is after the jump:Moon Township, PA - Representative Mark Mustio announced today that he will seek election to the Pennsylvania State Senate.
"After thoughtful consideration and discussions with friends, family, colleagues and supporters, I have decided to run for the 37th Senatorial District seat that will be vacated by Senator John Pippy's retirement," declared Mustio. "John has been a terrific partner and I am proud of what we were able to accomplish on behalf of our mutual constituents. Most importantly, I am proud to call him a friend and wish him the best in his future endeavors. It has been an honor to represent much of this district in the House and I will hit the ground running from Day 1."
During his tenure in the State House, Mustio has established himself as a champion for government reform and has been a vocal advocate for shrinking the size and scope of state government. Mustio has authored and sponsored various measures to reduce the size of the legislature and is a key stakeholder in the effort to privatize the state's liquor monopoly. A consistent opponent of legislative perks, Mustio also has refused a taxpayer-funded car and pays for his own cell phone. Mustio is also a firm believer that public servants should lead by example and was the first state representative to electively contribute to his own health care plan.
"I promised during my first campaign that I would be a conscious steward of the taxpayer's money and work hard to change the status quo in Harrisburg," Mustio said. "I believe I have upheld that promise to my constituents during my time of public service in the House and I renew that promise today as a candidate for the State Senate."
Mustio emphasized his commitment to ensuring that the evolving Marcellus Shale legislation balances the creation of jobs with the protection of our natural resources and also respects the role of local government officials.
"The Marcellus Shale formation presents the most exciting economic opportunity Pennsylvania has seen in over a century," said Mustio. "The state of the economy is on the minds of all Pennsylvanians and the shale gas play has created jobs across the commonwealth and has the potential to create many more. However, we must learn from the mistakes made during the coal and steel boom and ensure our environment is protected and that local governments have an adequate voice in the process."
The recipient of the Pittsburgh Airport Chamber of Commerce's Taxpayer Watchdog Award, Mustio has successfully fought to lower state spending and enact protections for property taxpayers. Mustio supported the most recent state budget that did not include any tax increases and actually lowered state spending, marking the fourth time in 40 years that Pennsylvania will spend less than the prior year. In an effort to combat local property tax increases, Mustio also advocated for a new law that eliminates the exemptions that allowed school districts to bypass voter approval before enacting tax increases. Mustio also authored legislation that would prevent windfall tax increases on Allegheny County property owners after a countywide reassessment.
"I believe that we have made great strides to reign in government spending and provide taxpayers with real reform and real relief," concluded Mustio. "But this is only the beginning; more work can and needs to be done to get government out of the places it doesn't belong and operating more efficiently and effectively where it does. I look forward to continuing to work towards these goals as a member of the State Senate."