The Newcomer: Pa. House District 30: Arvind Venkat vs. Cindy Kirk | Pittsburgh City Paper

The Newcomer: Pa. House District 30: Arvind Venkat vs. Cindy Kirk

click to enlarge The Newcomer: Pa. House District 30: Arvind Venkat vs. Cindy Kirk
CP Illustration: Lucy Chen

The newly redrawn House District 30 covers Franklin Park, McCandless, Emsworth, Ben Avon, Ben Avon Heights and parts of Kilbuck, Ohio and Hampton. Once reliably Republican, the new district has added Democratic constituencies that could make it more competitive.

Arvind Venkat

Bio: Democrat. Emergency doctor at Allegheny General and Forbes Hospitals. Political newcomer. Former president of the Pennsylvania College of Emergency Physicians. Research director at US Acute Care Solutions. Seeking to become Pennsylvania’s only state representative of South Asian descent.

Abortion: Supports abortion rights, drawing on his medical experience, where he recalls treating a woman “who had a back-alley abortion.” Says he will vote for bills supporting abortion. “I will never forget her suffering and do not want to see that happen in Pennsylvania,” according to his website.

Energy: Supports a regulated fracking industry. Told WESA the state should “set a framework for rigorous environmental regulations” that would still leave some of the decisions with local municipalities. Calls climate change a “real” and “serious” issue.

Voter rights: Told WESA that he supports no-excuse mail-in voting, early in-person voting, same-day registration and open primaries. “Our democracy works when every eligible voter participates and when voters pick their political leaders, not the other way around,” he said.

Reported fundraising since January 2021: $508,404

Cindy Kirk

Bio:Republican. Former Allegheny County Council member. Nurse administrator at UPMC Oakland. Former dialysis nurse. Has served on several boards and committees including Northland Library Foundation and SWPA U.S. Air Force Academy Parents Association.

Abortion: Previously included a statement on her website, pledging simply to “protect the unborn right to life.” Has recently softened her messaging by identifying as “pro-life” while supporting exceptions for parental health and victims of rape and incest.

Voter rights: Supports stricter voting requirements. Calls for “a common-sense voter ID requirement”.

Energy: Names “responsible energy development” as a top priority of her candidacy. Said in a statement announcing her resignation from council that public parks have benefitted from profits derived by fracking operations under the land.

Reported fundraising since January 2021: $38,006