Fawn Walker-Montgomery (left) and Austin Davis
Yesterday’s Women’s March was all about getting out the vote, and this week, some Allegheny County residents will have the chance to do just that in the first election of the year. Tuesday, Jan. 23, marks the special election for the 35th State House District.
The election for the state House seat vacated by former state Rep. Marc Gergely is set between McKeesport natives Democrat Austin Davis and Republican Fawn Walker-Montgomery.
Along with serving as a top aide to Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald, Davis is also the vice chair of the Allegheny County Democratic Committee and sits on multiple boards, including the board of the YMCA of Greater Pittsburgh, the Allegheny County Jail Oversight board, the Shuman Detention Center advisory board and the Kane Foundation.
“Austin has spent his entire life serving others. He is the best choice to serve the Mon Valley as their state representative,” wrote Nancy Patton Mills, chair of the Allegheny County Democratic Committee, in a Nov. 18 release
. “When he’s elected by the voters in January, Austin will hit the ground running. There’s absolutely no learning curve with him.”
For the second time, Walker-Montgomery, a senior program manager at a Hill District human-services agency, will face off against a Democrat for the state House seat. Walker-Montgomery lost to Gergley last year by about 5,000 votes. Walker-Montgomery has served on McKeesport City Council for seven years. She is running on a platform for transparency and reform in an area which has been held by Democrats since the 1970s.
“I grew tired of watching my district fall to the wayside,” Walker-Montgomery told Fox News
in December. “I soon began to realize that this was taking place under local Democratic leadership. Moreover, I saw that the local party didn’t endorse minorities, or women — despite how loyal the African-American community, especially black women, were to voting for them.”
Gergely resigned in November after pleading guilty
in August to counts of conspiracy and accepting an illegal campaign contribution in connection with an illegal gambling ring.
The 35th legislative district includes McKeesport, Munhall, White Oak, Clairton, Duquesne, Versailles, South Versailles, Whitaker, Lincoln and parts of West Mifflin.