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A closer look at the candidates in the 15th District

Glenn “GT” Thompson

BELLEFONTE — Primary Election Day in Centre County features few races. In fact, the lone race of significance is in the 15th District, where Glenn “GT” Thompson is running on the Republican ballot. Although there are no candidates on the Democratic ballot, there are a pair of write-in choices.

Here are a closer look at the candidates for the United States Government Representative in the U.S. Congress 15th District, which is a two-year term.

REPUBLICAN

(Editor’s Note: Information below was provided by the League of Women Voters of Centre County.)

Glenn “GT” Thompson — Thompson is running unopposed. He was recently interviewed by the Centre County League of Women Voters.

Ronnie Ray Jenkins

LWVCC: What issues would you prioritize, and how would you work with others in government to get legislation passed and signed into law?

GT: Millions lack access to reliable, high-speed internet service, particularly in rural America. COVID-19 highlighted the urgency for connectivity, as so much of life shifted online. I will continue to work to close the digital divide and bring connectivity to rural America. Throughout my time in Congress, I have consistently worked in a bipartisan manner to achieve common ground and consensus. I credit my career in healthcare and volunteer experiences whether scouting, as an EMT and firefighter, or on school board.

LWVCC: What will you do in office to ensure all eligible voters have equal access to free and fair elections?

GT: Free and fair elections are the foundation of our democratic system of government. It is imperative we maintain the integrity of our electoral process and ensure every American’s right to vote. While I encourage efforts to reduce illegal activities in our federal elections, Congress needs to respect the role state and local governments play in shaping their own electoral process. Discrimination of any kind is completely unacceptable. This is not a partisan issue; all Americans should push for inclusion and participation in the electoral process.

LWVCC: What measures, regulations, or acts, if any, would you support to mitigate climate change?

Mike Molesevich

GT: As Republican Leader of of the House Agriculture Committee, I and my colleagues have introduced bills to improve forest management, increase access to precision agriculture, restore healthy soils, and produce responsible energy and conservation incentives. We cannot sacrifice a healthy economy for a healthy environment, and vice versa. Natural solutions work, and we know that farmers, ranchers and foresters are the key to those solutions. I have also authored the SUSTAINS Act, which will encourage private-sector partnerships by encouraging businesses to support sustainability through investment in conservation practices. Thoughtful, science-based policies will help promote a stronger agriculture economy and healthier environment.

LWVCC: How do you view the tole of the U.S. in responding to challenges facing the international community?

GT: The U.S. plays a critical role in shaping international policy together with those countries that share our values. There are a number of diplomatic tools at our disposal to discourage bad actors from inflicting harm. I am a strong supporter of the U.S. Institute of Peace, which Congress established in 1984 with President Reagan, to improve national security and global stability by reducing violent conflicts abroad. We should always strive to mitigate conflict through diplomacy, but as an Army dad, I know we must also continue to have the best funded, highly trained and lethal fighting force on the planet. And we must be there for our troops when their service concludes.

DEMOCRAT

(Editor’s note: There are no Democrats on the ballot for the 15th District, but two candidates are vying for write-in votes. Since they were not on the ballot, they were not interviewed by the LLVCC).

Here is a closer look at the write-in candidates:

Ronnie Ray Jenkins — Jenkins was raised in the 15th District with 10 other brothers and sisters. He is a veteran, having served in the U.S. Army. He later went on to obtain a college education in wildlife management and environmental studies under the G.I. Bill.

According to his website, Jenkins is self-employed.

“I can’t wait to share with you all this Renaissance for rural PA. We will fight for the all the things GT Thompson voted against,” Jenkins said. “He voted against BBB, infrastructure, the formation of an investigative committee for Jan. 6, and most important, he voted against our democracy. Against certifying a President who won by the voices of the people. I will die on this hill we call democracy. That’s a promise.”

Mike Molesevich — According to a news release, Molesvich was born, raised and educated in central Pennsylvania. He is completing his 35th year in business as an environmental consultant and contractor. For more than 40 years, he has has helped Pennsylvania businesses and industries solve problems, remediate land for purchase, sale and finance.

Molesevich lists integrity, national security, defense, economy, jobs, education, environment and energy among his top priorities for the office. His goal, he says, is for more than 1,000 eligible write-in votes.

“No elected official should go unchallenged,” Molesevich said.

Primary Election Day is Tuesday, May 17.

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