Similar to the relationship of the Vice-President to the President of the United States, the primary responsibility of the Lieutenant Governor is to become Acting Governor should the elected Governor be unable to perform his or her duties. Otherwise, the Lieutenant Governor's constitutional duty is to preside over the State Senate, where he or she can vote only in the event of a tie. A member of the Executive branch, the Lieutenant Governor can be an important source of advice and assistance to the Governor in policy formation and administration, but each Lieutenant Governor's actual role depends upon the Governor.

Democratic Candidates

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Nina Ahmad (D)

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First-time candidate Nina Ahmad resigned as Mayor Kenney’s deputy secretary for public engagement to run for public office. She’s also a past president of the Philadelphia chapter of the National Organization for Women, and served on President Barack Obama’s Advisory Commission on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders and the Philadelphia Foundation’s board of directors. Ahmad immigrated to the U.S. from Bangladesh at age 21 in 1980, earned a PhD in chemistry from the University of Pennsylvania and has worked as a molecular biologist. She lives in East Mount Airy with her husband, real-estate developer Ahsan Nasratullah, and their two daughters.

One big thing I've accomplished that voters should know about is...Setting up the Office of Public Engagement, where I instituted and oversaw various commissions that brought in the voices of constituents whose needs are often overlooked. Among others, this office included the Youth Commission, the Office of Black Male Engagement, and the Commission for Women. 

If elected, one thing I'd work tirelessly to achieve is... An end to gun violence in our communities.

If elected, one thing I'd never vote for is...Any restrictions on women's reproductive choices. Access to reproductive healthcare is incredibly important, and I would never vote for any sort of limitation on abortion access. 

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Kathi Cozzone (D)

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Kathi Cozzone is a third-term Chester County Commissioner who’s currently the board’s vice-chair. She’s also chair of the Chester County Prison Board, and sits on the Pennsylvania Pipeline Infrastructure Task Force and the Chester County Workforce Development Board. Cozzone earned a BS in accounting from the College of New Jersey in 1984 and, prior to her election to the Board of Commissioners in 2007, worked in financial management. She ran unsuccessfully for the PA State Senate in 2014. Cozzone and her husband, Victor, live in Exton with their high-school age son.

One big thing I've accomplished that voters should know about is...I am particularly proud of my time serving on the Board of Elections, where I fought against moving a polling place away from Lincoln University, a historically African-American institution, to a less accessible location that would have discouraged student turnout.

If elected, one thing I'd work tirelessly to achieve is...Criminal justice reform. Public school funding, job training, and affordable housing all contribute to economic success, and are all necessary to achieve any meaningful criminal justice reform. Additionally, the creation of diversion programs for non-violent offenders is a cost-effective means of lowering prison populations. These programs should include behavioral and mental health services, as those suffering from mental illness spend two-and-a-half to eight times longer in prison than their non-mentally ill counterparts.

If elected, one thing I'd never vote for is...any sort of ban on abortions.

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John Fetterman (D) - WINNER

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Braddock, PA, mayor John Fetterman, turned many political heads with his surprisingly strong showing (19% of the vote) in the 2016 U.S. Senatorial primary. Born in 1969, Fetterman grew up in York, PA, and moved to Braddock in 2001 to work for AmeriCorps. He was elected the Allegheny County borough’s mayor by a single vote four years later, and was re-elected in 2009 and 2013. Fetterman played football (and earned a BS in finance) at Albright College. He also holds an MA in Public Policy from Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government. Fetterman and his wife, Giselle, have three young children.

One big thing I've accomplished that voters should know about is...During the last 12 years as mayor, I have worked to build Braddock back from the verge of extinction. I worked with young people and artists to transform creative spaces downtown, and turned abandoned properties into urban gardens. Because of this, the population of Braddock has stabilized for the first time in decades. What most gratifies me about this is, we broke the cycle of violence in our community that culminated with nearly 5 ½ years without the taking of a life. For a community like Braddock, that was unheard of before.
If elected, one thing I'd work tirelessly to achieve is...I want to be able to do more, not only for my community, but for my commonwealth. I’m running for Lieutenant Governor to be a champion for every community and person in this state, especially those that have been left out or left behind. I will bring to Harrisburg an understanding of what life is actually like in places like Allentown, Johnstown, Erie, and other forgotten cities across Pennsylvania. These places matter. They deserve to be believed in, and they deserve to be helped. I believe that things can get better, and that if a community that’s lost as much as Braddock can start to turn things around, then any community can – whether it’s West Philly, or Monessen, or Bethlehem.
If elected, one thing I'd never vote for is...Restricting a woman's choice. Reproductive rights and freedom is one of the most important parts of keeping families healthy, and giving working people, especially women, options and opportunities for a bright future. The fact that we are still arguing about birth control and the right to abortion in 2018 is absurd.
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Ray Sosa (D)

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Ray Sosa, 51, a Montgomery County banker/insurance broker, is a former chair of the Governor’s Human Rights Advocacy Commission in Florida, where he also coordinated emergency-management response efforts. Sosa and his wife, Dr. Nikki Sosa, live in Wyncote. They’re expecting their first child in July.

One big thing I've accomplished that voters should know about is...Being appointed by three US Governors for leadership roles that mirror the duties of the Lieutenant Governor position.
If elected, one thing I'd work tirelessly to achieve is...Prison reform, permanent school funding and help for our farmers and our rural areas.
If elected, one thing I'd never vote for is...A bill that expands extraction and fracking. A bill that cuts funding for our schools. A bill that takes away the bargaining power of unions. A bill that encourages discrimination against the LGBT community.
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Mike Stack (D)

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First elected lieutenant governor in 2014, Mike Stack is a veteran both of Harrisburg (four terms in the State Senate) and Northeast Philly politics (the Democratic leader of the 58th Ward from 2007 to 2018---succeeding his father). Stack was born June 5, 1963, and after graduating from LaSalle University and Villanova School of Law, focused on worker compensation cases at his father’s law firm. He was also a staff attorney and a deputy director in Gov. Robert Casey's administration before winning his Northeast Philly Senate seat in 2000 after two failed attempts. Stack and his wife, Tonya, live in the Northeast.

Republican Candidates

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Jeff Bartos (R) - WINNER

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First-time candidate Jeff Bartos, a Lower Merion contracting and real-estate executive, has aligned his candidacy with that of gubernatorial candidate Scott Wagner. A native of Reading, PA, Bartos is a graduate of Emory University (1994) and the University of Virginia Law School (1997). He has served on the board of the Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts and as a leader in real-estate division of the Philadelphia-area Jewish Federation. Bartos and his wife, Sheryl, are the parents of two teenage daughters. 

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Kathleen Coder (R)

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Allegheny County business consultant Kathleen Coder is well known in the Pittsburgh area for her political and civic activism. A member of the Bellevue Borough Council since 2008 and a 2012 candidate for the PA House of Representatives (16th Dist.), Coder is also the chair of the Congress of Neighboring Communities (CONNECT), an organization that promotes cooperation between Pittsburgh and 36 neighboring municipalities. She holds degrees from Edinboro University of Pennsylvania (bachelor’s in communications) and Geneva College (master's in organizational leadership), and lives with her husband, former Penn State and NFL offensive lineman Ron Coder, in Bellevue. 

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Peg Luksik (R)

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Pro-life activist Peg Luksik is a veteran of numerous PA political campaigns, including a run for the U.S. Senate in 2010 and a 1990 gubernatorial bid as a Republican.  She also ran for governor on the Constitution Party ticket in 1994 and ’98. Born in 1955 in Huntsville, AL, where her father was stationed in the U.S. Army, Luksik graduated from Clarion University of PA in 1976 with a BS in special and elementary education. In 2012 she founded Founded on Truth, a religiously focused civic and political organization. She and her husband, James Luksik, have six children. 

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Diana Irey Vaughan (R)

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Diana Irey Vaughan of Nottingham Township, who has aligned her candidacy with that of gubernatorial hopeful Paul Mango, has been a Washington County Commissioner since 1995---the first and only woman to hold the position. She was the Republican standard bearer for State Treasurer in 2012. She’s 55. Her husband, Robert Vaughan, is a colonel in the U.S. Army Reserves. The Vaughans have three children.

One big thing I've accomplished that voters should know about is...In my 23 years of service as Washington County Commissoner, I have kept taxes low, created a business climate that resulted in over 8,000 new jobs, delivered a well funded pension plan, put an end to lifetime healthcare benefits for employees and created a program for non-violent offenders resulting in over 225,000 of free labor in our communities.
If elected, one thing I'd work tirelessly to achieve is...a growth economy, and eradicate the opioid crisis.
If elected, one thing I'd never vote for is...legislation that is not in the best interest of the taxpayers.

For questions about Seventy's Voter Guide, please contact bettergov@seventy.org.