Metzgar to face Cole in general election

October 20, 2018 GMT

Since being elected in 2009, state Rep. Carl Walker Metzgar has not had an opponent.

But this year the Republican will face Democrat Jeff Cole in the Nov. 6 election.

Metzgar, 37, of Somerset Township, said he is grateful for the outpouring of support he has received in his re-election bid, adding that he has not been able to keep up with the demand for campaign signs.

“We went through our first thousand signs,” he said.

Metzgar said he has worked hard to limit the size of government and keep taxes low.

“Along with a small group of colleagues, I was able to stop the largest tax increase Pennsylvania has ever seen,” he said. “That would have stifled economic development.”

Metzgar said that if re-elected he wants to continue to work toward passing welfare drug testing, eliminating the death tax and continuing work to finish four-lane Route 219 to the Maryland line. He said he will work with House Speaker Mike Turzai to encourage Gov. Tom Wolf to make the highway a priority. He is also pro-gun and pro-life and votes according to those beliefs.

“And I stand behind those votes,” he said.

Cole, 55, who moved back to Somerset in 2003 after working in the movie industry in Los Angeles, said that although he was told what it would be like to run for office, the reality is hard to explain.

“It is exhausting,” he said. “24/7, not unlike the movie business and working on a film. You have to pull all these people together, and you have to get them to work as one.”

Along with challenging an incumbent, Cole also has to overcome a Republican voting stronghold. Countywide, there are approximately 11,000 more Republicans than Democrats.

“I was paying attention to stuff on the national level, especially in Flint, Michigan,” he said. “I think people are tired of parties and they want identity politics. People are desperate for someone to be their representative. Not a millionaire, not an established politician, they want someone from their community to be their representative.”

Cole said people have told him that transportation is an issue, along with trying to live on minimum wage, and health care costs. He said if elected his first concern is working to make sure that young people stay in the area. He said that doesn’t start in Harrisburg, but here in the county.

“We start with education,” he said. “All kids should be trained in coding by now and Apple will provide all the tools to do that. If we have coding classes 10th through 12th and a talent base that comes out of school, it would make it attractive for a company to move here. If they can’t hire people from this area, what is the point of bringing them here?”

Metzgar represents the 69th Legislative District, which includes parts of Somerset and Bedford counties.