Beaver Councilman Alex Andres has become the first Democrat to enter the 15th Legislative District race, joining two Republicans also seeking to replace outgoing state Rep. Jim Christiana.
Andres, 53, said partisanship has kept the Legislature from functioning as it should, pointing to the repeated failure to pass a complete, on-time budget as the best example.
“They’re getting paid a fair wage,” he said of legislators. “They should do their job.”
Former Democratic state Reps. Nick Colafella and Vince Biancucci, longtime friends of Andres’ family, helped people from all political stripes, and that has greatly influenced him, Andres said.
“We’re missing that from politics nowadays, and I think I’d like to bring some of that back,” he said.
Republicans Josh Kail, a Beaver attorney, and Joyce Hatfield Wise, a Washington County attorney, have announced for the GOP primary. Christiana, a Brighton Township Republican and former Beaver councilman, is running for the U.S. Senate and has said he will not seek a sixth two-year term in the state House.
The 15th District includes Brighton, Center, Hanover, Independence, Potter, Raccoon and Vanport townships, and Beaver and Frankfort Springs, as well as parts of Washington County.
A Center native, Andres graduated from Center Area High School in 1982 and then earned a degree in film studies from the University of Pittsburgh in 1987. He has worked as a camera assistant in the region’s film industry for years and now works for the Camera Department in Cranberry Township, a business that rents out cameras and equipment.
Andres moved to Beaver in 2005 and was previously appointed to a term on borough council before losing re-election. Last month, he was re-elected to his second consecutive four-year term.
The Legislature’s failure to handle a state budget in a timely manner caused uncertainty over film tax credits, which forced a production company to leave Pittsburgh and move its filming, and any accompanying jobs, to Georgia just this past summer, Andres said.
Besides the budget, Andres said his goals include addressing the opioid crisis and health-care coverage issues in the state, and improving education, especially science and technology programs while not forgetting about those students more inclined to pursue industrial, manufacturing or agricultural jobs.
Andres said he has learned as a councilman to look beyond partisanship.
“We work for what’s best for the borough,” he said. “We don’t worry about party, and I think that needs to be done on the state level.”
Andres is a staple in the community theater scene and has a remained active with the Boy Scouts of America after becoming an Eagle Scout. He also started Charlotte’s Run, a local race in honor of his mother to raise awareness and funding for research into Huntington’s disease, and oversaw the Huntington’s Disease Society of America’s western Pennsylvania chapter before serving on the national board of directors.
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