KINGSTON – Outgoing state Rep. Phyllis Mundy “wholeheartedly” endorsed her former legislative assistant to replace her Thursday night.
Eileen Cipriani, 50, a member of West Wyoming Council since 2008, announced her candidacy for the Democratic nomination for the 120th legislative district seat at The Gallery on Pierce Street in front of more than 100 people.
Mundy, D-Kingston, said Cipriani has all the good qualities she looks for in a candidate.
“A strong work ethic, intelligence, integrity, courage, care and concern for people and leadership,” Mundy said. “Eileen not only has these qualities, but she has demonstrated them time and time again.”
She gave examples of Cipriani’s work on West Wyoming Council, as founder of the West Side Council of Governments and a volunteer for many community organizations.
Cipriani said that through her work in the community, such as Little League, scouts, local government and CASA helping at-risk children in the foster system, she’s made a positive impact. She said she helped navigate West Wyoming Borough through difficult financial times and helped form the 11-municipality West Side COG to provide services and keep costs down.
She outlined several state and local issues she hopes to deal with if elected.
“Skyrocketing property taxes are driving people from their homes and making it impossible for the younger generation like my children to buy a home,” she said. “This is because the state is not living up to its obligation to properly fund public education.”
She said she will work to find revenue streams to help reduce property tax but still equitably fund the schools. She said she would co-sponsor House Bill 76, which eliminates property tax and increases income and sales taxes.
Cipriani said the increase in violent crime and gang activity is alarming. “We need to invest in strategies to prevent crime and make our streets safe,” she said.
She said the environment would be a top priority and she would make sure the Marcellus Shale gas industry is property regulated and a fair severance tax is levied.
“It amazes me that we will raise the tax on fuel to charge average Pennsylvanians more to fill up their gas tank and we still are the only state that does not level a fair severance tax against the gas industry,” she said.
Two other candidates have officially announced their candidacy for the 120th District seat. Democrat Gary Mack, a Wyoming Valley West math teacher, is a councilman in Edwardsville, and Democrat John Bolin, owner of Flowers by Lucille, is on the Wyoming Area School Board.