UPDATE: This article was updated on Nov. 20 at 2:35 p.m.
Republican Rachel Moyer wants to represent the 102nd District in the Pennsylvania House of Representatives, and will be challenging five-term incumbent Russ Diamond in the April 23, 2024, primary election.
Moyer, 45, an ELCO school board member since 2021, announced her candidacy in a Nov. 6 media release in which she promised “to reinstitute trust and provide a true reflection of the county’s core conservative interests in Harrisburg.”
“I am running for State Representative because the people of the 102nd District deserve a voice in Harrisburg who shares their values and concerns,” said Moyer.
“As a state representative, I will advocate for the right to life, parental rights in education, school choice, and pursuing election integrity throughout the state.”
She has the backing of state senator and unsuccessful Pennsylvania gubernatorial candidate Doug Mastriano, who appeared at her Nov. 9 campaign launch event at the Schaefferstown Fire Hall.
The 102nd is composed of 14 Lebanon County municipalities.
State House representatives serve two-year terms. Rank-and-file members earn $102,844 annually, following a 7.8% pay increase late last year.
Republican Diamond was first elected in 2014 and has not had a primary challenger since 2016.
Moyer went to high school and college in her native Virginia. Her husband is a semi-retired pastor. The couple moved to Pennsylvania when he took a post at a church in Souderton, Montgomery County.
Moyer has two sons, ages 10 and 8. She worked as a radiology technician until her first son was born and has been a homemaker since. She home-schooled both boys “until recently. They are now going to Lebanon Christian Academy.”
LebTown and Moyer sat down for an early-morning interview last week at a Myerstown coffee shop, where she discussed the issues she believes are most important to voters in the 102nd.
Sees no conflict between public school director and school choice advocate
Different plans for “school choice” have been proposed for decades, but almost all “typically [assert] taxpayer dollars should flow to students and their families, not to public educational institutions.”
Is there is an inherent conflict of interest between being a public school director and a school choice advocate since, under most plans, a dollar going to private schools via a school choice voucher is a dollar less for public districts such as ELCO?
“Not really,” answered Moyer, “because we are there to serve the children, and if they can get the education that’s right for them somewhere else, then I would be for that.”
She thinks property tax reform might help reduce the impact of school choice on public school budgets. “I want to look at the property tax, because that’s tied to the school districts, and [Diamond] ran in 2014 that he was going to do something, and that never happened.”
Any change in the property tax system must be “fair, not just for the people in the district, but also for the public schools.”
Moyer said she considers being “a conservative voice for the community” while listening to all viewpoints her biggest contribution to the ELCO school board.
As an example, “we recently had a locker room/bathroom policy that was just put in,” she noted. “Being able to listen to everyone in the district that came and spoke, and making a policy that fits what the majority said they wanted to see. Working with both sides. We have biological sex, but there are accommodations for gender identity.”
One of those accommodations will be renovations to create “private areas” in bathrooms and locker rooms for all users.
Favors parental rights in education
For many parents, knowing what their children are being taught, the materials they are exposed to, and how much say they as parents have is critical. A few recent school board elections in the commonwealth have become highly partisan, bitter, and expensive. In some districts outside Lebanon County, library budgets have been cut and books have been outright banned.
Moyer favors local control over curriculum, books, and instructional material, especially sexually explicit content, rejecting statewide blanket mandates. One measure she said she supports is Senate Bill 7, passed by the state Senate in October. The measure would have to be approved by the state House and signed by the governor before it becomes law.
SB7 requires school boards “to develop a public policy that provides parental control of instructional materials and books containing sexually explicit content.”
Moyer explained that many districts have an “opt-out” policy, meaning students have access to objectionable books and materials unless and until a parent expressly objects. SB7, which covers kindergarten through 8th grade, would institute an “opt-in” policy where all sexually explicit materials are off limits unless and until parents expressly tell the school their child can access them.
Moyer started the Lebanon County chapter of FreePa, which she described as a grassroots organization formed in 2020 in response to COVID-19 quarantines and closings imposed by Gov. Tom Wolf’s executive orders, and to seek out and encourage “constitutionally conservative” candidates for public office.
FreePa’s website describes itself as an organization whose “members are United States of America & Commonwealth of Pennsylvania Patriots volunteering together to restore and protect our rights and freedoms.
In January, Moyer left FreePa and founded Pennsylvanians for Freedom, a statewide organization she says is “mostly focused right now on locating, vetting, and supporting constitutional conservative candidates.”
Moyer is not comfortable with Pennsylvania’s Act 77, the no-excuse mail-in voting law passed by the General Assembly in 2019 with bipartisan support. “That law needs to be repealed or amended to make it it better.” But, if it was up to her, “I would rather see no excuse mail-in voting go away.”
When asked how Act 77 could be improved, Moyer said “one part would be counting no-excuse mail-in ballots at the [individual] precincts,” instead of a central location such as the Lebanon Municipal Building. Asked why, she said “some people feel disenfranchised and they’re not really sure if [their votes are] really being counted.”
Asked if she thought counting ballots at each precinct would result in a more accurate count than at a central location, she replied “I believe it would lead to more faith in our election system because some people don’t have faith in it because of no-excuse mail-in ballots.”
Moyer has broader concerns about the reliability of elections. “Some voters don’t think that their vote even counts anymore,” she explained, “because they see all this stuff on social media or a YouTube video, and it mostly has to do with the ballot harvesting. You see videos of people that just take a bunch of ballots and they put them in the bin.”
Hadn’t those videos been debunked? “I don’t know,” she said.” That’s why we need to make it to where people can have a better realization of what’s going on.”
When asked who won the 2020 presidential election, Moyer didn’t hesitate: “It was Joe Biden.”
Since 2016, have there been any Pennsylvania elections that have been fraudulently counted? “From what we have seen so far,” Moyer said, “probably not.” But she added “there’s stuff that needs to be looked into.”
As a Christian, Moyer said she is firmly in the pro-life camp, but could support legislation to impose an abortion ban in the commonwealth after 15 weeks of pregnancy, rather than a complete ban. “I respect life and don’t glorify death. I’ve never heard [Diamond] actually say those words.”
UPDATE: The original version of this article said, in part: “As a Christian, Moyer said she is firmly in the pro-life camp, but would support legislation to impose an abortion ban in the commonwealth after 15 weeks of pregnancy, rather than a complete ban.”
We have updated the article to replace “would” with “could” to accurately reflect what Moyer said in her interview.
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