QUAKERTOWN – At the Autumn Alive! Festival here on Oct. 23, there was one thing obvious about the Democrat candidate for the 24th Senatorial District, Bill Wallace. “I’ve met thousands of people,” said Wallace, as he handed out flyers to passers-by. “I want to represent them, and be their advocate.” As a middle-school teacher in Easton, Wallace says he has gotten to know what issues are affecting kids and their families. Wallace said Pennsylvania is “at an interesting crossroads” as to its future.
As the first-time candidate greeted visitors with smiles, handshakes, and the occasional “how have you been?” Wallace advocated a balanced budget “not at local taxpayers’ expense.” According to him, cuts in state spending would only force local governments to raise taxes to make up for the shortfall, especially for schools. “It hasn’t worked at the federal level, it hasn’t worked at the state level, and it certainly won’t work at the local level.” Changes regarding teachers’ pensions would make lower taxes possible, Wallace said.
According to Wallace, protecting teachers’ pensions is “critical.” Getting older teachers who “stay on for the health care benefits” to retire earlier would save the state millions of dollars in salary costs. According to Wallace, teachers are “good people” who don’t run up large health care costs, so money spent on health care instead of salaries would amount to a savings. He hopes to entice them to retire by creating a Massachusetts-style single-payer health care plan for retired teachers. Wallace supports Pennsylvania-directed stewardship of teachers’ pension funds by the state retirement board. Wallace said the United States “gave away much of its finance to China,” and opposes proposals to make teachers’ pensions subject to private or foreign investment
Asking, “what taxes can we raise or institute that won’t affect consumers?” Wallace proposed that “we should all have a cut of” a tax on Marcellus Shale industry. He said he was opposed to the Geryville Materials quarry project, calling the site “historic” and saying it “should be preserved” as open space. “It’s a quality of life issue.” Wallace said he “appreciates the emphasis on historic preservation” in “beautiful” Southern Lehigh.
As he discussed his support of abortion rights in the case of a woman’s life or welfare, Wallace explained how his second child was miscarried. According to Wallace, doctors told him that if his child had come to full term, the baby might have posed a health threat to his wife. The Wallaces are parents to one child.
Wallace said it’s easier to be bipartisan as someone new to Harrisburg. If elected, Wallace said he would like to cooperate with the other representatives from the area, as well as those across the aisle in Harrisburg. “I would like to see cooperation.”