A small business owner and entrepreneur from Washington Township, Fayette County, will challenge longtime state Rep. Peter Daley, D-California, for his seat.
Melanie Stringhill Patterson, 56, today announced she is seeking the Republican nomination for the 49th Legislative District seat, located in the Mon Valley.
"For too long, career politicians in Harrisburg have turned their back on taxpayers, and cost us the jobs we need," Ms. Patterson said in a news release. "It's time for honest, conservative representation that puts taxpayers first."
Ms. Patterson operates a vacation rental business, invented PIBS - disposable paper bibs on a roll, and served as Mrs. United States in 1993.
Her work as a small business owner has given her a realistic view of the way policies effect job creation, Ms. Patterson says.
"Unlike the career politicians, I've run a business and know what works and what doesn't when it comes to helping job creators and employers," Ms. Patterson said. "This real world experience is something I will bring to Harrisburg to spark the job creation our community needs."
Ms. Patterson said she will support conservative causes and she highlighted the contrast between herself and Mr. Daley, who has served for 35 years and is the fourth-longest serving lawmaker in the state.
"I won't take the taxpayer funded per diems; Mr. Daley does. I won't take the taxpayer funded pension; Mr. Daley does. And I will never vote to raise my own pay," Patterson continued.
A former kindergarten and elementary school teacher, Patterson said she also understands how to reform the education system to ensure children are prepared to succeed in the world, with our without higher education.
"The liberal experiment in our schools has failed, and it's time to get back to basics. That means teaching kids real skills instead of teaching to the test, and focusing on the core skills in math, reading, science and technology they will need to succeed," Ms. Patterson said.