160 District Q&A: Stephen Barrar

Editor’s Note: This is one of two question and answer articles with the two major party candidates for State Representative in the 160th District, which includes Kennett, Kennett Square, Pennsbury, Pocopson and Chadds Ford in the The Times’ coverage area. The responses were not edited and the text was approved by the candidates — this is an unfiltered version of their responses to the same seven questions. It was compiled by staff writer Kim Chiomento. 


State Rep. Stephen Barrar (R-160).

1. Why are you running?  I have serious concerns about the economic direction the Commonwealth is taking.  We have been in a state of stagnation for over a decade; and need legislators with a vision to see where we can go with the right kind of leadership.

One specific, major problem I see is the current tax structure in Pennsylvania.  The tax structure is not conducive to attracting or retaining businesses; we are a highly regulated and high-taxing state.  These obstacles directly correlate to job creation and the overall health of our state’s economy.  Simply put, I want to continue to work toward changing this challenging climate for the better.

2.  Our community is looking to elect you as a leader;  what would you want our readership and voters to know about how you demonstrate leadership? There are legislators who tend to focus the majority of their attention on Harrisburg and the activities that happen there.  Then, there are other legislators who focus on their communities; I am a community legislator.  My record shows that I take an active interest in every problem in my district through a hands-on approach.  Sometimes this means meeting one-on-one with individuals, bringing together several community representatives or meeting with larger organizations and coalitions.

As Chairman of Veterans Affairs Committee; I have dealt with many problems relating to and impacting our veterans.  I am proud that I have been able to get more accomplished than my predecessors have.  Together with members of this committee; we’ve taken on tough issues relating to our veterans and first responders; despite some of them being controversial, we have attacked issues head-on including, obtaining additional funding for services.

3. Please provide an example of a tough decision you’ve had to make.  Why was it tough?  There have been many tough decisions in my life.  Most recently, voting against the Transportation Bill comes to mind.  This bill included .28 cents per gallon gas tax.  It was a tough decision for me NOT to vote for this because my district has many highways, bridges and infrastructure that need to be upgraded.  In the PA 160th we have seen population growth and increased wear and tear on our infrastructure as a result, I knew that this tax would make a real impact on improving those issues.  However, I also know of many people in my district (and state-wide) that are struggling every day just to meet their current needs.

Increasing individuals’ day to day expenses by almost .28 cents a gallon did not sit well with me.  However, simply voting no for the original bill is not the end of the story.  Instead, I supported an amendment that would implement an extraction tax on the natural gas industry’s “fracking” operations within the Commonwealth, a common practice in other states.  This tax would have generated approximately $600 million for infrastructure needs.

4. What make you uniquely qualified to deal with the diverse personalities, priorities and perspectives that you will find in the PA Legislature? I have owned two successful businesses for almost 24 years.  I’ve always considered myself as someone who really understands the concept of customer service.  When your priority is to serve people and make them happy (being a legislator is in many ways very similar to that aspect of my business), your decisions must be well thought out before becoming final and, it is essential that you take time to consider the impact of decisions on all stakeholders.

Additionally, I spent five years as a Township Commissioner which gave me excellent training on working with  many different types of people, how to assemble coalitions from opposing sides of “the aisle” and develop sound policies for concepts to be signed into law.  When taking into account the various interests, personalities and perspectives involved, this is not as easy as it sounds; but I have learned how and have an accomplished record of doing so.

5. Why should voters vote for you?  I am the best person for the job.  When I originally ran for State Representative, I made a promise that I would work very hard for the constituents of my district.  In my 18 years of office, I’ve only missed three session days and have kept that promise.  I think this is just one example of the level of commitment I have to my responsibilities as an elected official.  I go to the House floor every session day prepared to represent the interests of my legislative district.  My record speaks for itself; with a strong history of legislative accomplishments, that show first-hand how I have put the interests of the 160th district first.

6. Is there anything else you’d like to make sure our readership and voters know about you? I bring a passion to the job and care wholeheartedly about the vitality of this district.  This passion translates into taking my responsibilities very seriously and recognizing opportunity is to leave the legislative district even better than I found it 18 years ago. Today, as a grandfather, I want to make sure that my grandchildren have every educational and economic opportunity that I had growing-up.  To do and achieve anything less is unconscionable.

7. How should voters and our readership reach you if they have questions, or would like to get involved?

Email: parep160@aol.com  FaceBook: search Steve Barrar, and Campaign Home Page: www.stevebarrar.com

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  1. Carol Catanese says:

    There are many reasons to not vote for Steve Barrar. He does not support strong public education and has continued to favor vouchers which divert public education funding. He co-sponsored legislation that would have required every woman seeking an abortion to undergo an invasive, painful, and, ultimately ruled, medically unnecessary transvaginal ultra-sound. Additionally, he supported Voter ID laws which were ruled unconstitutional. Do we really need another legislator who uses poor judgement to support his personal agenda?
    I think not.

  2. Barb McIlvaine Smith says:

    Steve Barrar wants to run again, but he’s been in office for 18 years. By his own admission the economy has been in a “state of stagnation for over a decade; and [we] need legislators with a vision to see where we can go…” Gee, it seems to me that Mr. Barrar is part of the problem, not the solution. BTW, today it was announced that Pennsylvania dropped from 49th to 50th in the nation for job growth.

    Also, I would like voters to know that Mr. Barrar used PUBLIC FUNDS to send out a newsletter to my home as well as to others in Pennsbury Township, which is NOT part of the current 160th district he currently represents. My home is located in the 158th legislative district until December 1, 2014 when the new districts will take effect. Therefore, he used taxpayer money for campaign purposes.

    In addition, when one clicks on his ad here on the Unionville Times site, one is taken directly to Mr. Barrar’s Legislative website, NOT his campaign website. Again, he is using taxpayer money for campaign purposes.

    Don’t we taxpayers deserve better?

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