GROVE CITY — If elected in March to the state legislature, attorney Timothy Bonner said he would work to eliminate some jobs in Harrisburg — possibly his own.
Bonner was selected Thursday by Republican party leaders in Mercer and Butler counties to represent the party in a March 17 special election. The winner of that election will represent the 8th District in the state House until after the Nov. 3 general election for a full two-year term in Harrisburg.
The seat covers 31 of Mercer County’s 90 voting precincts, and 15 precincts in Butler County. Republican party officials said 12 candidates had applied for the GOP nomination in the special election, but two people pulled out before Thursday’s meeting at Grove City College to choose a candidate.
Bonner was elected on the first ballot, 11-9.
Democratic party leaders will meet Jan. 22 at the Springfield Township municipal building to pick their nominee. Two people — Paul Heasley of Butler and Tom Posch of Center Township, Butler County — have filed applications for the party nomination. Heasley owns his family’s business, Butler Gymnastics Club, and Posch is a retired steamfitter.
The special election will fill a vacancy created by the election of former representative Tedd Nesbit as a judge in the Mercer County Court of Common Pleas.
Bonner said he would support legislation to reduce the size of Pennsylvania’s state legislature. The state now has 203 representatives and 50 state senators.
The issue of reducing the legislature’s size has previously been considered, and Bonner said he believes cutting the number of legislators, and the general assembly’s cost, would improve the public’s confidence in state government.
Even though Bonner has never before run for public office, he said he has had a broad interest in politics. He has served as solicitor on several governing bodies, including Grove City Council, and was chairman of the Grove City Medical Center board when the hospital merged with Allegheny Health System.
Bonner said several people encouraged him when Nesbit’s election cleared the seat, and he was interested.
“I’ve always wanted to work in the legislative arena,” he said.
While winning the special election would put him in office only until later this year, Bonner said he plans on seeking a full two-year legislative term. That would require that he wins three times — the March 17 special election, the April 28 primary, and the Nov. 3 general election — this year.
“There’s a lot more work to do,” Bonner said.
If Bonner is elected to represent the 8th District, his partners would take over the law firm.
He would not be required to step down from any of his solicitor posts if he wins, but said he would be fully committed to his legislative work.
“I would look forward to that change,” he said.