John Lawrence has announced for his candidacy to represent Pennsylvanians in Harrisburg as state rep. of the 13th Legislative District."I'm interested in serving the members of this community and for standing up for what's right," Lawrence said.

The 13th district embodies West Grove Borough and London Grove, Penn, New London, and Franklin townships in the Avon Grove School District, as well as Oxford, Atglen, Parkesburg, and South Coatesville boroughs and several more townships to the west and south of the Avon Grove area.

Lawrence, a lifelong resident of Southern Chester County, said he wants to bring reform to Harrisburg.

Lawrence first became interested in participating in politics after state representatives voted in favor of controversial legislation in the middle of the night, he said.

The first vote was the passing gambling legislation, which out-going State Rep. Art Hershey (R-13) of Cochranville voted against, Lawrence said. The second incident involved a middle of the night pay raise, which Hershey voted for, Lawrence said.

"It just kind of came to me, somebody's got to stand up here for the voice of reason," he said.

Lawrence ran for the Republican nomination for state rep. against Hershey in 2006. He received 42 percent of the vote in the Republican primary, a press release said. And though Lawrence finished second to longtime incumbent Hershey, he was not swayed from politics.

In fact, Lawrence is moving forward, building on the foundation his campaign initiated two years ago. The first goal is for overall reform in Harrisburg, he said. The second is to remove property tax and the third is to improve local infrastructure.

Property tax does not take into account if a person can pay the tax despite having a low income, he said, referring to farmers, senior citizens and those living on a fixed income.

Lawrence prefers the sales tax as an alternative to real estate taxes.

"My favorite is the sales tax, but I'm open to any reasonable solution. I'm not going to go to Harrisburg with my mind closed."

Through reform, Lawrence sees change destined for Harrisburg. As state reps. retire, he said, there is a turnover of new representation.

"And that is an opportunity to get something done," he said.

"My campaign will focus on the issues facing each of us in Chester County," Lawrence said. "I will work tirelessly to solve the educational funding crisis and bring reform to Harrisburg."

Funding is a problem Lawrence wants to address.

"As a concerned taxpayer, I recognize the fiscal challenges facing our state in the next few years. Our state faces real problems in how to fund public education, transportation infrastructure, and state entitlement programs. Our state's regressive tax code penalizes businesses, while families, farmers, and seniors struggle with increasing property taxes. I will work with like-minded legislators to reduce taxes, redirect funding to priority needs, and rein in the state budget, which has increased over $7 billion since 2001."

Lawrence said he also believes in the area and its future.

"As a lifelong resident of Chester County, I share the values important to the people of our area: a strong work ethic, a commitment to smaller government and lower taxes, and respect for the traditional values that have shaped our nation for over two hundred years."

Lawrence also wants to reach out to newcomers.

"We could be doing a better job reaching out to the people that are new to our area," he said. "I think that we need to be very thoughtful to make everybody in our community feel welcome."

As for the political race, Lawrence said he would keep his campaign positive.

Locals can also expect to see Lawrence standing up for what he believes in throughout his bid for state rep.

Lawrence, 29, is a senior account officer with JPMorgan Private Bank in Newark, Del.

Lawrence and his wife Rebecca live in Franklin Township.

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