Featured Candidate: Mark Aurand, Senate District 40
August 22, 2014 | By Krystal Bonner
Mark Aurand, candidate for the newly created 40th state Senate district in Northampton and Monroe Counties, is sick of Harrisburg's broken values.
"Harrisburg is not working for everyday Pennsylvanians. We can't let Governor Corbett and Republicans in Harrisburg continue to destroy public education, attack working families and organized labor, and give the natural gas industry a blank check."
Both of Mark's parents were pastors, and Mark took an active role in his church and community at a young age. For the last six years, Mark has been a community activist, advocating for progressive values and positive change for Pennsylvania families. In Harrisburg, Mark will fight for the same values he has been advocating for in the Lehigh Valley: expanding opportunities for the middle class, equality under the law for all Pennsylvanians, and most importantly, quality public education.
"Throughout the district, parents have told me that teachers have been laid off and their kids are no longer getting the individualized attention they deserve as a result of Governor Corbett's budget cuts over the last few years. In Harrisburg, I'll fight for consistent and fair state funding for public schools."
Growing up, Mark attended Pennsylvania public schools, and he is committed to making sure Pennsylvania's children once again receive a first-class public education by reversing Corbett's cuts. He supports fully and fairly funding Pennsylvania public schools while keeping school property taxes in check by making sure big gas companies pay their fair share in taxes.
"People all over the district want to know why the natural gas companies are getting pretty much whatever they want from the politicians in Harrisburg, including no severance taxes, lax regulation and enforcement, and very friendly legislation in nearly every respect."
Mark is also determined to reverse Governor Corbett's harm to the state's economy. In Harrisburg, Mark will fight for funding for infrastructure jobs, investment in job training programs, an increase in the minimum wage, and Medicaid expansion.
"Lots of people are sharing with me how they are really struggling to get by. Throughout the district, I've heard from people who've lost their jobs and either couldn't find new ones or could only find much lower paying jobs. We need to focus on bringing family-sustaining jobs back to Pennsylvania."
After working his way through both Haverford College and Temple Law School, Mark moved to the Lehigh Valley and served as the law clerk to Judge Carol McGinley of the Lehigh County Court of Common Pleas. In addition to being active in his community, Mark has been a small business owner and served as a partner at several Lehigh Valley law firms.
Fresh Start Chairwoman Katie McGinty lauded Mark's community advocacy: "Mark Aurand truly has his finger on the pulse of the 40th Senate district -- he knows what issues constituents care about, their struggles, and their worries about the direction in which Governor Corbett has taken Pennsylvania. We need Mark in our state Senate to help fix Harrisburg and make sure the state legislature is responsive to the needs of everyday Pennsylvanians."
"Governor Corbett has put our quality of life at risk. As state Senator, I will represent the 40th district with integrity and work hard every day to strengthen our public schools, ease school property taxes, and help middle- and working-class families succeed."
Mark resides in the Nazareth area with his wife of 30 years, Teresa. He has two sons Benjamin, 23 and Joshua, 19, and two cats, Lea and Zoe.
You can read more about Mark at his website, http://markaurandforsenate.com.