Mark Purcell is challenging State Representative Adam Ravenstahl (D-Allegheny County) in the April Democratic Primary for his seat in the Pennsylvania legislature. Purcell is a former Ross Township Commissioner and current chief of staff for State Representative Bill Kortz (D-Allegheny County).
Purcell said he wanted to see Ravenstahl become an effective legislator, but his "inaction" in the House is unacceptable.
"He's been there for a year and a half. In that year and a half, he's never once risen from his seat on the House floor and taken the microphone," said Purcell. "He's never once risen in the caucus to discuss any issues. And, as you are well aware, we face some very serious issues here in the state of Pennsylvania and we need a voice in Harrisburg."
He said the big issues he sees in the 20th Legislative District are transportation and education. He believes that Pittsburgh will not be able to attract businesses without improvements to bridges and roads and better funding for public transportation.
Purcell said he also wants to tackle Marcellus Shale issues. He said Pennsylvania has a "gold mine" in natural gas, and without greater return for what is being produced, Pennsylvanians may regret giving it up.
Adam Ravenstahl is the brother of Pittsburgh Mayor Luke Ravenstahl. This is the second time Purcell has come up against him for the seat in the House. Adam Ravenstahl beat out Purcell and two others in a 2010 special election to replace former Rep. Don Walko, who resigned to become a Common Pleas judge.
Purcell said he has a better chance this time because of legislative reapportionment. "Quite frankly, when I ran before at least 75 percent of the district was in the city," said Purcell. "Now you look at the numbers and at the district it's more like 50/50, or 55 percent in the suburbs, 45 percent in the city. So it gives me a much much better shot at winning this."