Everybody should check out Charlie Deitch’s profile of state Senate candidate Kimberly Villella over at Pittsburgh City Paper. Kimberly is running in a tough but winnable district in Western PA, SD-47, around Beaver, Lawrence and Butler Counties. This is a difficult district for a candidate with progressive views on women’s health and privacy issues to win, but Villella has put them front and center in her campaign, and for that she deserves our strong support. Here is her campaign page, where you can send her some money or sign up to knock doors and make calls for her:
A year ago, Kimberly Pazzanita Villella had no intention of running for the Pennsylvania state Senate. But after a year of attacks on women’s health, the passage of a voter-ID law, and the pledge of huge tax breaks for the natural-gas industry amid cuts to education and social-service budgets, she says she really didn’t have a choice.
“Running for the state Senate was not in my plan,” says Villella. “But Pennsylvania is at a pivotal moment in time between two futures, and we need strong leadership.” And that, she says, is what Republican incumbent Elder Vogel has failed to supply.
The race for the 47th state Senate district might seem of remote interest to voters in Allegheny County. The district encompasses most of Beaver and Lawrence Counties and part of Butler County northwest of Pittsburgh. Villella herself is a borough councilor for the Ohio River town of Baden, in Beaver County.
Vogel did not respond to a request for an interview or a list of questions emailed to his office. But if Villella wins, it could be a pivotal victory for Democrats. Keegan Gibson, the managing editor of political website politicspa.com, says the 47th is one of 25 seats the Democrats could take. The GOP currently has a 30-to-20 margin in the Senate, but Gibson says Democrats have “an embarrassment of riches this election cycle.” He says there are four seats targeted, including District 47, with Villella the only candidate facing a Republican incumbent and the only woman running.
Her candidacy itself is intriguing. Along with citing her political expertise, her early campaign mailers have put women’s health issues front and center: “Kimberly will work to remove politics from decisions that should be made between a woman and her doctor.” That’s notable in a landscape dotted mostly by rural areas and small towns — a landscape where, at least in recent Congressional races, contests have largely been fought between men who, whether Democrat or Republican, oppose abortion rights.