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Laura Quick wants state Rep. Russ Diamond’s seat representing the 102nd District in Harrisburg.

A UPS driver from Palmyra, the 55-year-old Democrat has campaigned twice for the 9th Congressional District, a federal seat currently occupied by Republican Dan Meuser. However, Quick told LebTown in an email, “during the past two years under COVID-19, I have developed more of an interest in state and local races. My municipality of North Londonderry Township has just been absorbed into the 102nd and I feel that I can run a sophisticated and dynamic campaign given my experience of running a much larger Congressional campaign.”

A member of the Lebanon County Democratic Committee, Quick was elected to the Pennsylvania Democratic Committee in 2018. She authored three resolutions for the state committee, she said, and “learned how to build consensus through co-sponsoring as well as how to jump through hoops of the process to pass a resolution.”

She has worked as a volunteer on various political campaigns, and in 2016 she took “a brief hiatus” from UPS to work as a political organizer for the International Brotherhood of Teamsters.

She is currently running unopposed for the Democratic nomination in the May 17 primary election. If she wins, she’ll face Diamond, the Republican incumbent, in November. Diamond, who has served as a state representative since 2015, is also campaigning to be Pennsylvania’s next lieutenant governor.

Her top priority

Quick said her top priority for Pennsylvania is “getting the government working again.”

“It seems that the members of the General Assembly are too distracted by pet projects and getting reelected to worry about passing laws that actually can help their constituents,” she told LebTown. “There are policies that can be put into place that can help everyday people with their lives and struggles but there seems to be a lack of political will to do so.”

She’s frustrated, she said, by the acrimony that separates the parties and prevents politics in Harrisburg from operating efficiently.

“Many members seem more preoccupied with partisan bickering than actually doing the work of legislating,” Quick said. “But I rather recently have been given some hope for bipartisanship. For the past two years I’ve been working with the National Infrastructure Bank Coalition and we have been meeting via Zoom with members of the General Assembly from both parties. There are many members who are working with the best interests of the citizens of Pennsylvania in mind.

“One solution, if elected, that I would put forward is creating a ‘Problem Solvers Caucus’ like in the U.S. Congress. You can only join this caucus with a member from the other party and all drafted legislation moves forward with equal numbers of Democrats and Republicans. We need to stop worrying about party affiliation and get moving on solutions for the people of Pennsylvania.”

In Lebanon County, she said, she wants to focus on residents who are having trouble paying their bills “given recent inflation and property taxes — especially for those on fixed incomes.”

Quick says 15 years as a package car driver for UPS has put her “in daily contact with people from local businesses, large and small, government organizations and residential customers.” UPS drivers, she added, “are the public face of a multi-billion dollar international company while performing a very physical blue-collar job.”

She also has served since 2017 on the board of the United Way of the Capital Region, “where they are bridging the gap between what everyday people need and the resources that are already available to them.”

“I have been interested in and followed politics for decades and have come to the belief that there’s a lot more that government can do for people without raising taxes and just using the resources that already exist,” she said. “As a legislator I would bring my wealth of life and work experience coupled with my ability to negotiate my way through the legislative process to bring solutions to the people of the 102nd.”

Changing the political landscape

Quick believes that new district lines “will absolutely change the political landscape of Pennsylvania” in both state and federal races.

“In the 9th Congressional District alone it went from 8 counties to 12 and runs from the southernmost counties of Lebanon and Berks to all the way up to the New York border,” she wrote. “This type of expansion of a district greatly changes the demographics and therefore the concerns and needs of its constituents.”

In Lebanon County, she said, “I believe that the 101st has become much more winnable for a Democrat than it has in the past. The loss of South Londonderry and South Annville townships from the 101st I know has thwarted some Republican aspirations for passing the baton from Frank Ryan, who is retiring, to another Republican. I was pleased to see that two municipalities in Lebanon County that were formally grouped with Dauphin County in the 104th are now incorporated into the 102nd. It’s good to have them in an all-Lebanon County State House District.

“The new 48th State Senate District is probably the biggest change because Lebanon County is now included with parts of Berks and Lancaster counties instead of Dauphin and York. I haven’t had a chance to look at it closely but that new makeup might benefit any challenger to the incumbent Republican.”

Locally, Quick admits there are some voters “who would not vote for a Democrat if their life depended on it.” However, she said, “I do believe there are enough open-minded people in the 102nd who will put my ideas to help make their life better before my party affiliation.”

She hopes to win over Lebanon County voters by listening.

“I want to hear if they are surviving or thriving,” she said. “If they are thriving what do they believe is working for them? If they are just surviving, what type of things are holding them back from thriving?

“These questions will be posed to both residents as well as businesses in the 102nd. I want to apply all my work and life experience to finding solutions for people and if elected I will be able to put those ideas to work.”

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Tom Knapp

Tom has been a professional journalist for nearly four decades. In his spare time, he plays fiddle with the Irish band Fire in the Glen, and he reviews music, books and movies for Rambles.NET. He lives with his wife, Michelle, and has four children: Vinnie, Molly, Annabelle and Wolf.