LIMERICK — Before former state representative Tom Quigley can battle incumbent Democrat Mark Painter for the 146th House District seat, he is going to have to beat off a Republican primary challenge from Limerick Township Supervisor Thomas Neafcy Jr.
Neafcy contacted 21st Century Media Monday to announce his candidacy for the Republican nomination in the 146th House Dist.
Neafcy, a 62-year-old Linfield-Trappe Road resident, has spent 14 years on the Limerick Board of Supervisors, although not all consecutively.
During his time on the Limerick board, property taxes have been kept low “and we’ve brought 500 jobs to Limerick Township, which has helped to keep our property taxes in the bottom one-third of Montgomery County,” Neafcy said.
Neafcy said he was approached by several people about running for the state Legislature and his candidacy has been well received by area Republican leaders in the district.
“We need a new direction in Harrisburg, not people who are running for their own personal reasons. I don’t think serving in Harrisburg should be a career,” said Neafcy, who works for a transportation consulting company.
“My opponent hasn’t worked since he lost the election, he’s just trying to get back into office,” Neafcy said of Quigley, who held the 146th Dist. seat from 2004 to 2012, when he lost to Painter. “I know what its like to have a family and to have to pay the bills.”
Saying he believes in term limits, Neafcy said he would limit himself to 10 years serving as representative for the 146th District.
“I know the effects of Harrisburg laws on local communities and local government,” Neafcy said. “I will not vote for any unfunded mandates.”
Neafcy also pledged to focus on property tax reform, adding “my opponent talks about serving on the Select Committee on Property Tax Reform, but he was unable to come up with an answer. The voters have had enough of all the double-talk.”
“Property tax reform helps everyone,” said Neafcy. “We’re crushing our senior citizens and we’ve got to stop.”
He could get it done, Neafcy said, because “I’m not a guy who sticks his finger in the air first to see which way the wind is blowing before I vote on something.”
Quigley, Neafcy charged, is seeking a return to Harrisburg in part to obtain a state pension, using the charge to talk about his belief that “we’ve got to get pension reform done or its going to break the bank.”
That should begin, Neafcy said, with state legislators changing their pensions over from defined-benefit accounts, as they are now, “to 401(k)-type plans where you get out of it what you put into it.”
Contacted for comment, Quigley noted that he is already vested in the pension system, and was after five years in the House, so his desire to get elected has nothing to do with that.
“It’s really a moot point,” he said of Neafcy’s pension charge.
Quigley also responded that if Neafcy intends to term-limit himself to 10 years in the legislature, that would be enough for Neafcy himself to collect a state pension.
“So I’m not sure why it’s an issue for me, but not for him,” said Quigley.
A longtime proponent for eliminating school property taxes, Quigley said his work on the Select Committee for Property Tax Reform did have results.
“Property tax is one of this issues we have to keep chipping away at,” he said.
His committee’s recommendations “kept the conversation going in Harrisburg” and was crucial to the formation of Senate Bill 76 “which now has 26 co-sponsors, enough to get it to the floor for a vote,” Quigley said.
As for work, Quigley said he did seek employment in two places, but when asked “If I was done with the political thing, I had to answer no. So in this tight job market, why would someone hire me when they know in a few months I’m going to be on the campaign trail?”
As for his desire to return to elected office, Quigley pointed out that he is not the only candidate in the race to have been rejected by the voters and then sought to be returned to the seat he had lost.
Neafcy was ousted by Republican voters in 2001 when he and three other incumbents lost a primary election, “and yet he thought it was OK to run for election again after being rejected by the voters,” Quigley said.
Candidates for the primary election must file by March 11 and the primary election is May 20.
Painter has not formally announced yet if he will seek re-election, but he recently told 21st Century Media he will most likely seek another two-year term in Harrisburg.