CHADDS FORD — State Sen. Tom Killion, whose district has been held by Republicans since the 1800s, has announced his re-election bid for the seat he has held since 2016, and which straddles the boundaries of two suburban Philadelphia counties that have recently seen Democratic victories at the polls.

In his announcement, Killion, R-9 of Middletown, Delaware County, pointed to his efforts in Harrisburg on a number of suburban friendly issues as the keystone of his election run.

“Whether it’s working to end gun violence, stopping repeat DUI offenders, protecting the environment, ensuring affordable healthcare, strengthening our schools or growing our economy, I’ve been fighting for real change for our families,” said Killion. “While we’ve accomplished much over the last few years, more must be done for our communities.”

In 2018, Killion’s legislation to get guns out of the hands of domestic abusers with protection from abuse orders (PFAs) passed the Senate unanimously. The legislation was later incorporated into a larger domestic violence bill that was signed into law by Gov. Tom Wolf.

He also cited his work on Deana’s Law, which recently passed unanimously in a committee and is now before the full Senate. This legislation, named after Brookhaven DUI homicide victim Deana Eckman, substantially toughens penalties for repeat DUI offenders and requires them to wear alcohol monitoring devices to deter future drunk driving.

After Democrats recently flipped six state Senate seats in the suburbs of Philadelphia and Pittsburgh, Killion is one of the chamber’s last Republicans standing in those areas. He is a prime target for Democrats in 2020. Pennsylvania also is expected to be a battleground in the presidential contest.

Chester County Democratic Committee Chairman Dick Bingham said that his committee would be working to flip the district, which includes 20 municipalities in Delaware County and 11 municipalities in Chester County, from red to blue. “We will be putting a lot of effort to make sure that happens,” he said Tuesday.

Three candidates have expressed interest in seeking the Democratic nomination for the seat. They include Chester County residents John Kane of Birmingham, a union official; Robert McKinstry of East Marlborough, an attorney; and Brett Burman, a Delaware County businessman.

Kane is a former longtime Delaware County resident and labor leader who lost a run for the state Senate against Republican Tom McGarrigle for the 26th District seat. 

As a member of the Senate’s Appropriations Committee, Killion said he has been a fiscal watchdog who has helped craft state budgets without tax increases.

On environmental issues, Killion is the only Republican legislator in the country to propose a bill that moves a state to 100 percent renewable energy. In 2018, he received a perfect scorecard rating from Conservation Voters of PA, one of the few Republicans to receive this score.

“We need independent-minded legislators who work for the people, not ideologues,” said Killion, whose positions on guns, the environment and other issues have strayed from traditional Republican orthodoxy. “I’m a pragmatic problem solver who is sick of extremists on both sides of the political aisle,” he added.

Staff writer Michael P. Rellahan contributed to this story.
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