Schweyer and Labenberg face off in civil debate
ALLENTOWN, Pa. - Incumbent state Rep. Peter Schweyer, D-Allentown, and Republican challenger Brent Labenberg debated hot-button issues such as abortion, LGBTQ protections and school vouchers Thursday night, but did it without friction.
The debate in the race for the 134th state House seat was a sharp contrast to a contentious battle between Lisa Scheller and incumbent Democrat Susan Wildin a debate for the Lehigh Valley's congressional seat earlier in the day.
- State Rep. Peter Schweyer has been in the House since 2014
- He was redistricted from the 22nd to the new 134th District
- He faces GOP candidate Brent Labenberg, Emmaus Borough Council president
Schweyer has represented Allentown for eight years, but redistricting moved him from the 22nd District to the 134th, which includes southern Allentown, Emmaus and parts of Salisbury Township. Labenberg is the Emmaus Borough Council president.
On Thursday, Labenberg said he supports Senate Bill 106, which is a constitutional amendment that would prohibit taxpayer funding of abortions.
"It doesn't stop abortions," he said. "It just won't be paid by the taxpayer."
Schweyer said that currently, abortions in the state are not paid for by taxpayers. He said that outside of the relationship his constituents have with their family, the two most important relationships they have are with their faith if they have one and their doctor.
"In neither of those places should state Rep. Pete Schweyer be in the middle of that damn conversation," he said.
Schweyer also said the state already has a great deal of school choice and he does not support school vouchers that would allow money to be diverted away from public schools.
"Are we willing to gut public education in order to line the pockets of private corporations, religious organizations that run these other schools? The answer is no."State Rep Peter Schweyer
"Are we willing to gut public education in order to line the pockets of private corporations, religious organizations that run these other schools?" he said. "The answer is no."
But Labenberg said the lack of school choice in the state harms low-income families.
"A lot of the kids that Peter just mentioned could never go to a private school, so with vouchers that would give them that option," Labenberg said.
Both candidates support a law prohibiting discrimination against LGBTQ Pennsylvanians.