Deb Ciamacca is running for the State Legislature in the 168th district because she has spent her life serving her country and community and she wants to be a state representative who puts our community first. She has fought to keep guns out of our schools and to have fair representation through non-gerrymandered districts, and she wants to take that fight to Harrisburg as your State Representative. A Marine Corps Veteran and teacher, Deb believes our public officials should work together to solve the problems facing our community: creating a public education system for the 21st century, expanding access to affordable health care, and protecting our environment for future generations.
Deb is the only candidate with the experience to do just that. After attending, Penn State on an ROTC Scholarship, she served as an officer in the United States Marine Corps where she never asked if someone was a Republican or Democrat: just what is the mission and how do we get it done. After leaving the Marines, Deb worked in the private sector as a Manufacturing Manager at several businesses, returning to Pennsylvania to work at Neutronics, a family owned environmental and instrumentation company in Exton. As a Manufacturing Manager Deb led hundreds of employees and understands how local business and workers are affected by health care and the environment and the role they can play in solving those tough problems.
After her time in the private sector, Deb was called to serve her community again. She became a Social Studies teacher at Conestoga High School and taught government, economics, and world cultures to thousands of students. As an educator, she understands what our children need to succeed as adults and citizens in the 21st Century and how to fight for that in Harrisburg.
Deb believes in common sense solutions to the problems facing Pennsylvania. In her classroom she asked students to look for the solutions that unite us rather than the problems that divide us. She learned in both the Marine Corps and in the classroom that we can’t ignore the tough problems – we have to face them head on. Deb will work tirelessly to fix education funding so that every school works. Deb will take on the entrenched interests who believe that politicians should draw our district boundaries, not the people. She will fight to give every Pennsylvanian health care and to bring good jobs at good wages to the state.
Deb lives in Media with her husband Rich, a Navy submarine veteran. Her son Chris lives in Phoenixville with his two Corgi pups: Logan and Reinhardt.
Jennifer O’Mara believes there is more that unites us than divides us, and is committed to being part of a government that works to serve the people. As a member in the State House of Representatives, she is committed to improving public education for our children, ensuring access to affordable healthcare, and expanding job opportunities at all skill levels. Her dedication to public service is deeply rooted in her own experience, and her ability to deliver practical solutions has been shaped by her challenging personal journey.
Jennifer is the daughter of a union firefighter. When she was thirteen years old, her father died by gun suicide. Everything changed for Jennifer and her family. They moved to Delaware County and her mother found a job as a school bus driver. Thanks to essential public services, her father’s pension, and her mother’s union job, Jennifer’s family made it through.
After graduating from Interboro High School, Jennifer faced familiar challenges. As the daughter of the single mother with two younger brothers at home, affording college seemed impossible. But, Jennifer supported herself through college by working three jobs and was able to earn a dual degree from West Chester University with the help of financial aid and student loans. Studying history and secondary education, she became a certified teacher.
Jennifer’s friends, family, and community members know her as an advocate who is always ready to help others. Jennifer is incredibly hardworking and puts the needs of her community ahead of her own. She also served as an advocate with the Department of Veterans Affairs for her now-husband, Bradford Bitting, a combat veteran and two-time Purple Heart recipient.
Jennifer O’Mara holds a Masters degree in English and history from the University of Pennsylvania, where she has been employed for almost seven years. She currently serves as the Assistant Director of University Stewardship, working alongside her colleagues to ensure that attending the University is affordable for students. Jennifer is also a member of the Board of Directors for PASC.
Jennifer and Bradford were married in 2017 and live in Springfield.
In her first year in Congress, Mary Gay has continued her relentless advocacy on behalf of children and families in Pennsylvania’s 5th District and across the country. She was appointed, by her peers, to serve as Vice Chair of the prestigious House Judiciary Committee, and also serves on the House Rules Committee and the Select Committee on the Modernization of Congress. She is a member of dozens of important caucuses, including the Bipartisan Working Group on Addiction, the Gun Violence Prevention Task Force, and the Equality Caucus.
Mary Gay has cosponsored over 400 bills to improve the lives of families in our region and across the country. When roughly 4,000 jobs at the Boeing Plant in Ridley were on the chopping block, Mary Gay led the charge to successfully restore funding for this critical program in the National Defense Authorization Act. Congresswoman Scanlon has introduced countless pieces of legislation to reduce the burden of student loan debt and to reduce the costs of prescription drugs. She led House floor debate on critical legislative victories, including the Equality Act and the Reauthorization of the Violence Against Women’s Act. Mary Gay also helped push forward two critical pieces of commonsense gun violence prevention bills, which earned bipartisan support in the House. Congresswoman Scanlon has been tirelessly fighting for the people, working to restore faith in our democracy, and has been a leader in the House effort to hold the Trump Administration accountable.
Congresswoman Scanlon’s advocacy journey began while she was a law student at the University of Pennsylvania, when she began volunteering at People’s Emergency Center, a homeless shelter for families founded by former Congressman Bob Edgar. Upon graduating, she represented abused and neglected children with the Support Center for Child Advocate and has since served as a board member for numerous legal services agencies.Mary Gay continued to work on behalf of children and families as co-chair of both the Philadelphia Bar Association’s Commission on Children at Risk and the Legal Rights of Children Committee. She later was appointed by the Bar to serve as a founding board member and officer of Philadelphia Legal Assistance, the federally funded legal services agency for Philadelphia County.
As a senior staff attorney at the Education Law Center of Pennsylvania, Mary Gay led two class action lawsuits to enforce the rights of students with disabilities, in addition to representing individual students and their parents, drafting legislative and regulatory proposals, and producing training materials and educational programs for parents, educators, social service providers, government agencies and other advocates. She was also appointed to serve on two statewide interagency councils charged with implementing federal special education laws and testified before the Pennsylvania legislature about the ill-effects of zero-tolerance policies.
Since organizing multiple buses to attend the Million Mom March in 2000, Mary Gay has actively supported common-sense legislation to reduce gun violence.From 2007 to 2015, Mary Gay was an elected member of the Wallingford-Swarthmore School Board, during which she served as Vice President and President and led a tax commission to address school funding. Her experience provided her with a deep understanding of the fundamentals of local government and grassroots politics. On the school board, Mary Gay was able to respond to community concerns, promote transparency and work with diverse interest groups.
Mary Gay has served as national Pro Bono Counsel at Ballard Spahr LLP for the past 15 years, directing and supervising over 600 lawyers in 15 offices as they provide more than 50,000 hours of pro bono legal services annually to low-income clients and nonprofit organizations. Her program received the American Bar Association’s annual pro bono award in 2018. The nationally-recognized pro bono practice addresses many critical issues, including voting rights, child advocacy, immigration, housing, public benefits, criminal justice reform, free press, and other constitutional rights.
When President Trump ordered a travel ban that stranded thousands of legal immigrants, attorneys at the pro bono program sprang into action. They arrived at airports across the country to write habeas petitions from waiting rooms. While the Trump administration’s unconstitutional restrictions have created a fresh urgency for strong representation on the issue of immigration, the practice has a long-standing history of representing refugees and seekers of political asylum. Many of these clients include victims of domestic violence and human trafficking, as well as those fleeing violence and persecution.
In 2017, Mary Gay became Co-Chair of the Voting Rights Task Force of the Association of Pro Bono Counsel which was formed to combat voter suppression and gerrymandering.
Under Mary Gay’s leadership, Ballard Spahr embraced the Wills for Heroes program, which provides free estate planning for veterans and first responders. She organizes and volunteers for dozens of Wills for Heroes clinics annually, providing peace of mind to first responders, veterans, and their families.
Mary Gay has a longstanding interest in promoting civics education to protect our democracy. She volunteered for and led civics programs in her children’s schools and, in 2006, created a career development and mentoring program at Constitution High School, a magnet school in Philadelphia with a focus on civics education. She continues to work with students at the school and serves on its Advisory Board.
Mary Gay is a graduate of Colgate University and the University of Pennsylvania Law School. She served as a Judicial Clerk for the Superior Court of Pennsylvania.
Mary Gay and her husband, Mark Stewart, have three children: Casey, Daniel, and Matthew. All three children graduated from the local public school system. Mary Gay and Mark reside in Swarthmore with their two rescue dogs named Abby and Emma, a cockatiel named TJ, and several chickens.
Ambassador (Ret.) Joseph M. Torsella is a successful civic leader who will bring integrity, energy, and vision to the office of Pennsylvania State Treasurer. A Democrat, Joe was the first declared candidate for the April 2016 primary election.
Joe is the kind of commonsense problem-solver we need in public life. Because Treasury manages $100 billion in public funds and has pre-audit authority over every single check the Commonwealth issues, it’s an ideal platform for someone with Joe’s record of bringing efficiency, sound management, and innovation to the public sector, a theme of Joe’s career.
And because the Treasurer – who sits on nearly twenty consequential boards dealing with issues ranging from infrastructure to pensions to higher education – has such a wide-ranging role, Joe will be a strong voice for smart policy, fiscal responsibility, and public integrity on many, many issues that will shape Pennsylvania’s future:
From serving as an U.S. Representative to the United Nations to leading the development of the sparkling new National Constitution Center so effectively that the Philadelphia Inquirer declared him “a modern-day founding father,” Joe Torsella has always valued the need for innovation and new ideas in public service.
From 2011 to 2014, Joe was US Ambassador to the UN for Management and Reform. He was the architect and chief public spokesperson for the Obama Administration’s UN reform plans released in 2012, and was the United States government’s lead fiscal watchdog at the UN, from its $36 billion in annual budgets to its $41 billion pension fund to its $2 billion headquarters renovation project. In his tenure, the US reversed a decade-long trend of unbridled growth in UN budgets, brought new transparency to the UN through webcasting of meetings and publication of UN audits, and won milestone reforms toward ending sexual exploitation and abuse of civilian populations by UN peacekeepers and ending the unfair exclusion of Israel in UN bodies. Torsella’s plainspoken style earned him praise from UN watchers and from publications ranging from Le Monde to the New York Post, and he was recognized for his successful use of social media and public diplomacy to promote US policy. A UN outsider, Joe spoke frankly and colorfully about the need for the UN to end “business as usual” and frequently reminded his UN colleagues that the “obligation to our taxpayers” is to “do more with less.”
Prior to his service as an UN Ambassador, Joe served as Chairman of the Pennsylvania State Board of Education. In that role, Joe opened the board’s workings to the public – holding board meetings outside of Harrisburg for the first time in decades – and led the board to set forth an agenda around high school reform, teacher quality, healthy and safe schools, and college affordability. The Board’s hearings and proposals on making higher education more affordable won national notice and sparked legislative action in Pennsylvania.
From 1997 to 2003, Joe was the founding President and CEO of the National Constitution Center in Philadelphia, a non-profit museum and education center dedicated to explaining and celebrating American ideas and ideals. As the driving force behind the concept, construction, and opening of the $200 million facility on Independence Mall, Joe led the Constitution Center to international acclaim, financial stability, and an unparalleled institutional reputation. He returned to the Constitution Center for a second term as CEO from 2006 to 2009, persuading President George H. W. Bush to join the Center as its Chairman, and working to establish the Center’s international program, including democracy education work in Afghanistan. Joe was asked to lead the National Constitution Center by then-Mayor Rendell.
Between 1992 and 1993, Joe served as Deputy Mayor for Policy and Planning in Philadelphia under Rendell. He helped devise initiatives that helped resolve a $1.25 billion cumulative deficit. The New York Times hailed this nationally-acclaimed financial recovery as “the most stunning turnaround” in American municipal history. In addition to his career in government, Joe has served in a variety of high profile civic posts. In 2005, he co-chaired the Greater Philadelphia bid for the 2016 Olympic Games. A former successful small business owner, he serves on several corporate boards, and he served as a Distinguished Visiting Fellow in Public Policy at Drexel University.
Raised in Berwick, PA, Joe graduated from Wyoming Seminary high school. After graduating with honors from the University of Pennsylvania with a degree in Economics and History, Joe studied at Oxford as a Rhodes Scholar. He lives with his wife, Carolyn P. Short, in Flourtown, Pennsylvania; they have four children.
If elected, Nina would represent the first woman of color to serve as a state-wide executive in the Commonwealth’s 233-year history. Dr. Ahmad would also become the only current women and person of color in Pennsylvania’s executive offices.
When Nina was just eleven years old, in her native country of Bangladesh, she witnessed the worst of politics. Greed and corruption drove violence and despair. Career politicians sowed division.
That’s when she learned about organizing, and when she saw the necessity of a strong community and the power it can have. Nina and her family watched progressive Americans raise awareness, joining ordinary people in Bangladesh in mobilizing for peace. Half a world away in Pennsylvania, advocates and activists joined together with labor unions, taking concerted and critical action to end the violence and change life as she knew it. Nina envisioned a path for safe passage, and her life was transformed.
Nearly ten years later, she would forge out on her own. At only 21, Nina came to Pennsylvania, working hard to put herself through school University of Pennsylvania. She earned a Ph.D. in Chemistry and completed a medical fellowship at Thomas Jefferson University. Nina eventually built a diverse community of friends and colleagues, and she embraced being a proud American. She succeeded as a molecular biologist and a responsible small business owner. She married, becoming a loving wife and a mom, raising two daughters who are both now college-educated and making an impact in their communities.
Nina is a strong advocate for women and communities of color. As a catalyst for change, she served for nearly half a decade as President of the Philadelphia chapter National Organization for Women (NOW), and she is honored to serve as a national board member to this day. Nina has also served on local nonprofit boards and acted as a leader in her community. As a small business owner, she’s spurred good jobs with union-generated and labor-built partnerships, and has made key responsible decisions on community investments.
Most recently, Nina served as a Deputy Mayor for Public Engagement under Mayor Kenney, where she was responsible for managing dynamic people, initiatives, and budgets of more than $4 billion in public funds. Nina has also worked closely with officials like Mayor Michael Nutter and Governor Tom Wolf. She’s fostered initiatives including launching the city’s Commission for Women, fighting for pay equity, and working to end workplace harassment. Nina gathered support for reform and opportunity through the city’s Youth Commission, the Office of Black Male Engagement, and the office of LGBT affairs.
Nina also proudly served President Barack Obama as a member of the National Advisory Commission on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders, advising on key issues affecting the health, employment, and well-being of these communities.
Nina knows dedication, education, and insight can be a light to those left-behind or struggling. Community is hard-won. It can gather speed and impact. Nina fights for others because others fought for her. Her work now is just-returns.
Josh Shapiro is a rare public servant who has risen above politics time and again to take on the status quo and protect everyday Pennsylvanians.
As a State Representative, Josh wrote and passed some of the toughest ethics laws in state history. Philadelphia Magazine wrote that Josh was “a blast of oxygen in the smoke-choked back rooms of quid-pro-quo Harrisburg,” and his work earned him a national reputation as a bipartisan consensus builder.
Then, as Chairman of the Montgomery County Commissioners, he led a fiscal and ethical turnaround, took early steps to combat the heroin epidemic, helped the first LGBT couples in Pennsylvania marry and fired Wall Street money managers to save retirees millions. His work on behalf of victims and for criminal justice reform as the Chairman of the Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency earned him the trust of law enforcement leaders from both parties.
As Attorney General, Josh has restored integrity to the office and is standing up for the rule of law and safeguarding Pennsylvanians’ rights — no matter what they look like, who they love, or who they pray or don’t pray to.
He has taken on child sexual abuse in the Catholic Church, identifying 301 predator priests and thousands of victims and spurring investigation across the United States. He has twice secured national injunctions protecting women’s access to no-cost contraception as required by the Affordable Care Act. He is fighting our country’s opioid epidemic on every front– including leading a multistate investigation into pharmaceutical manufacturers and distributors.
Josh Shapiro earned his law degree at night from Georgetown University, and is a member of the Pennsylvania Bar. Josh was raised in Montgomery County, where he met his high school sweetheart, Lori, and where they are raising their four young children.