Susan Spicka of Shippensburg says election process was an education
By T.W. BURGER
For Public Opinion
SHIPPENSBURG — Susan Spicka did not win her first race for political office.
She did not exactly lose, either.
Spicka, 42, ran against incumbent state Rep. Rob Kauffman, R-Chambersburg, who won re-election to a fifth term by a margin of 6,288 votes — 18,034 to 11,746.
The district covers parts of Franklin and Cumberland counties, primarily in the Chambersburg and Shippensburg areas.
Though she did not win a seat in the state House, Spicka said she won in other ways.
“It was an amazing experience,” she said. “It was the education of a lifetime. In addition, I learned that Democrats and Republicans are not really all that far apart. If we can talk about it, we can find solutions.”
Just out of the gate, hauling in nearly 12,000 votes versus 18,000 votes cast for an entrenched incumbent was not too shabby a showing. Spicka said she found the numbers encouraging.
“To me, they speak volumes about how unhappy people are with Harrisburg. I had so many voters tell me that, whether they were Republicans or Democrats. One woman told me she had not realized how tired she was of being silent. That made every minute of this campaign worth it,” she said.
She and her supporters generated a lot of energy that is still there, though the election is over. It will not go to waste, she said. She and her team plan to put together a website to focus the campaign’s energy in positive directions.
“We had hundreds involved who had never been involved in a campaign before. We want to find ways to channel their energies in positive ways to help follow through in this district,” she said. “People were so happy to hear a different take on issues. What happens in Harrisburg really does impact us here. Harrisburg’s priorities are not necessarily the same as those of people here.”
Spicka is a former English teacher and a co-founder of the grassroots organization Education Matters.
Her “education first” platform, set ablaze by the continual whittling down of state money for public education, still stands.
“Personally, I am going back to advocating for public education. We are seeing budgets like we have never seen before, seeing cuts they have never contemplated in the past,” she said. “We need to have people understand that this is not just an education issue; it’s a taxpayer issue. Harrisburg has had it wrong.”
During the campaign, Kauffman advocated for the support of public schools. Spicka hopes he meant it.
“I’m looking for him to stand up for the children and taxpayers in our community,” she said.
What about another run at public office for Susan Spicka?
“I have to wait and see,” she said.