Democratic state House candidate Erin Condo McCracken held a campaign kickoff on Sunday for her campaign in the 171st District.
McCracken, a Millheim resident and the only Democrat seeking election in the race, will look to challenge incumbent Kerry Benninghoff, R-Bellefonte, in the fall for the seat representing parts of Centre and Mifflin counties. In Centre County, the district represents Bellefonte, Centre Hall, College Township (partial), Ferguson Township (partial), Gregg Township, Harris Township, Millheim, and Penn, Potter, Spring and Walker Townships.
Benninghoff is seeking his 12th term in office after first being elected in 1996.
"It's time for a fresh perspective," McCracken told a room of volunteers and guests at Bremen Town Ballroom in Millheim.
McCracken said she wants to address the issues that are important to her constituents, including access to high-speed internet, affordable health care and expanded economic and educational opportunities.
The needs of rural communities and small towns are a focus of her campaign.
“Our greatest opportunity for economic success lies in the small towns in Pennsylvania," she said. "With 50 percent of our population living in small towns, we have a moral and an economic imperative to reinvest and revitalize.”
McCracken and her husband, Josh, own EcoVents Catering. The business is housed in Bremen Town Ballroom, a community and event space they established on East Main Street in Millheim.
Also a mother of two and a singer-songwriter, McCracken said she will use her experience as a small business owner in a rural community to serve people throughout the 171st District. She added that she will not accept any corporate PAC money toward her campaign.
McCracken earned a bachelor's degree from Penn State in 1997 and master's degrees in social work and public administration from West Virginia University in 2001.
Pennsylvania's primary election is on Tuesday, May 15. The general election is on Tuesday, Nov. 6.