Assoc. News Editor
J. Rizzo Mertz(D), a 2011 Millersville University graduate, who majored in Political Affairs, announced his candidacy for Pennsylvania State Representative to an intimate group on Friday Sept. 20, 2013 at 11a.m. Mertz’s first public event as a candidate featured a question and answer session with the MU community and general public at the Robert Slabinsky Atrium. Inside a bustling Student Memorial Center (SMC), Mertz battled with noisy passersby to present his platform as candidate for Representative of the 100th legislative district in Pennsylvania.
Pennsylvania’s 100th district includes Lancaster Township, Millersville, Paradise Township, Providence Township, and other surrounding townships. Incumbent Bryan Cutler, from Quarryville, Pa., is the current representative of the 100th district.
The House of Representatives hopeful discussed his stance on many hot button issues, including higher education, battling bipartisanship, and acts of “cronyism” that Mertz accused Harrisburg of engaging in. “The course we are on is not sustainable,” said Mertz, “You, the people, will be my guiding stars.” Mertz stresses that despite being a Democrat, he would have no problem talking to members from other parties.
Mertz spoke of a big issue that the commonwealth is facing. “Three years ago we were seventh in job creation, now we are 49th.” The MU graduate argued that Philadelphia should spend more money on schools, rather than going ahead with a $400 million prison proposal. “Education not incarceration,” the spirited candidate touted.
After Mertz discussion, the floor was opened for a Q&A session with the audience. “Politicians are our servants,” one attendee proclaimed, “But many representatives, including mine, are not supporting us.” The attendee voiced her displeasure for several minutes. “In regards to higher education,” continued the disgruntled guest, “I don’t understand why cuts in funding are being made.” Struggling to get a word in, Mertz proposed that institutions should focus on improving curriculum instead of fancy infrastructure, thus continuing to attract students without raising tuition.
Mertz currently works as a sales consultant at KC Wireless, and as executive director at The Pennsylvania Center for Civic & Community Engagement.