GOP incumbent Browne challenged by Coleman

The redrawing of state Senate seats means voters in Upper Bucks County will see a new representative in the General Assembly in November.

During the Republican primary for the state’s 16th Senate District, a veteran lawmaker faces the challenge of an airline pilot and a school board member.

Incumbent Senator Pat Browne has represented the district since 2005 and oversees spending as chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee.

A chartered accountant and licensed attorney, Browne authored legislation that allows cities to create “neighborhood improvement areas.” When developers build in such areas, almost all state and local tax revenue created in that area must flow back to that neighborhood for development projects.

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Browne has also made headlines for his activities outside the state capitol. In 2015, Browne suffered a punctured lung, several broken ribs and a foot injury that required surgery. He was then charged with his third impaired driving offense in 20 years. Browne apologized at the time, saying he was determined to get help for a drinking problem.

In November, the Pennsylvania Senate unanimously passed Browne’s proposal to expedite the release of campaign finance information and increase penalties for late submission of such reports.

Senate Bill 140 would require any candidate or political action committee to report campaign donations and expenses electronically so that the information can be made available to the public in a searchable database within four days. The State House has yet to vote on the proposal.

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His opponent in the GOP primary, Jarrett Coleman, is an airline pilot, instructor and Parkland school board member who got involved in politics after his local school district began requiring students to wear masks in class. .

Coleman has raised concerns about teachers discussing issues of racism in the classroom and he has campaigned against Parkland‘s equity and inclusion plan.

Coleman was elected to the Parkland School Board in 2021 with the support of a Rally to Reopen Schools Facebook page. But many of the problems facing schools are tied to policies enacted in the state capitol, Coleman said.

Coleman pointed to “lavish” benefits for state lawmakers and “outdated” COVID-19 protocols. The state’s current electoral system, Coleman said, contained “no safeguards against voter fraud.”

The winner of the GOP primary will face Democrat Mark Pinsley. Pinsley, Lehigh County Comptroller, said election integrity and voter rights were among his top priorities.

Pennsylvania’s 16th Senate District previously included only parts of Lehigh County.

With legislative map redrawing in 2022, the 16th now also includes Bedminster, Bridgeton, Durham, Dublin, East Rockhill, Haycock, Hilltown, Milford, Nockamixon, Perkasie, Quakertown, Richland, Richlandtown, Reigelsville, Sellersville, Silverdale, Springfield, Tinicum , Telford and West Rockhill.

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