Pennsylvania State House District 44: Michele Knoll vs. Valerie Gaydos | Election Guide | Pittsburgh | Pittsburgh City Paper

Pennsylvania State House District 44: Michele Knoll vs. Valerie Gaydos

click to enlarge Pennsylvania State House District 44: Michele Knoll vs. Valerie Gaydos
CP Illustration: Abbie Adams
Pennsylvania's 44th State House District includes Sewickley, Edgeworth, Osborne, Aleppo, Ohio Township, Crescent, North Fayette, and Findlay. State Rep. Valerie Gaydos is the incumbent in this race.

Michelle Knoll

BIO: A Democrat and former Avonworth school board member who has experience working with disabled students as a Development Therapist. Serves on the board of Just Harvest, a local anti-poverty group. Ran in 2018 and lost by less than four percentage points. Lives in Ohio Township and grew up in the Pittsburgh region.

JOBS: Supports increasing the state’s minimum wage above $7.25 an hour to ensure “families who are working 40+ hours a week are making a wage that can meet their bills.” Owns a consulting firm for development therapy. Says she understands the struggles of small business owners.

HEALTH CARE: Says health care is a human right, vows to seek out evidence-based, science-backed information to make health care decisions. Wants to protect the Affordable Care Act, saying seniors, children, and working families rely on its protections for those with pre-existing conditions.

COVID: Supports paid family and sick leave for all workers, especially during the coronavirus pandemic. Says testing capacity should be expanded to ensure “anyone that wants a test, can have a test.” Says local nurses, health care workers, grocery store clerks, all front line workers, and small businesses need more support.

ENDORSEMENTS: Vice President Joe Biden, U.S. Sens. Bob Casey and Kamala Harris, PA AFL-CIO, Teamsters, Sheet Metal Workers Local #12, American Federation of Teachers, Nurses of PA, Human Rights Campaign, United Mine Workers of America District #2, United Steelworkers District #10, Moms Demand Action Gun Sense Candidate

Valerie Gaydos

BIO: The incumbent Republican first elected in 2018. A graduate of Dickinson College in Carlisle, Gaydos started her own information publishing company in 1994. Served as Director of the PA Private Investors Network. Grew up in Allegheny County, and lives in Aleppo.

JOBS: Opposes higher business taxes. Before politics, held a career investing in successful start-up businesses. Supports career and technical education to help Pennsylvanians find new jobs.

HEALTH CARE: Says reforms such as tele-medicine and free-market competition in insurance sales should reduce health care costs and increase access. Introduced legislation to create transparency for costs of prescriptions. Supports the state’s prescription assistance program, PACE.

COVID: Signed a letter in May asking county District Attorneys to ignore Gov. Tom Wolf’s business closure orders early in the pandemic, joining staunch conservative politicians including state Rep. Daryl Metcalfe (R-Cranberry). Said in May the closures were “scaring people” and “doing too much damage to the economy.”

ENDORSEMENTS: Firearms Owners Against Crime, Pennsylvania Pro-Life Federation, PA Chamber of Business and Industry PAC, PA Manufacturers Association, Associated Builders and Contractors of Western Pennsylvania, Laborers International Union of North America, National Federation of Independent Business, Humane PA