Carlisle School Board member Rick Coplen (D-Dickinson Township) announced Tuesday he will run for Cumberland County’s open state Senate seat.
The majority of Cumberland County will now be covered by a relocated 34th Senate District, which will also include all of Perry County and northern Dauphin County, and will have no incumbent. The state’s new legislative maps, re-drawn every 10 years to comport with new census data, were given final approval recently by the state’s legislative redistricting commission.
State Rep. Greg Rothman (R-Camp Hill), who currently represents the state’s 87th Legislative District, announced his bid for the 34th Senate seat earlier this month.
Coplen, 62, ran for the 31st state Senate seat in 2020, losing the Democratic primary to Shanna Danielson, who eventually lost to Republican Mike Regan.
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“The corrupt political ‘business as usual’ and divisive ‘I win, you lose’ politics are tearing us apart and must end,” Coplen, said in a news release. “Running in a new district creates the opportunity for new and better leadership in Harrisburg, and I’m going to lead, unify and help us all do better.”
Coplen, a West Point graduate and U.S. Army veteran, has served on the Carlisle School Board for six years and is a professor at the U.S. Army War College and a faculty member at Elizabethtown College.
His campaign will launch formally Thursday at the Carlisle Ribbon Mill on East Louther Street with a 6:30 p.m. reception and a program featuring remarks by Samantha Martin, Carlisle school board member Linda Manning, County Commissioner Jean Foschi, and former state Auditor General Eugene DePasquale.
Coplen said his campaign will begin “a perpetual listening tour” using door-to-door conversations, community listening sessions, and outreach to everyday citizens, Republicans and Democrats alike, that will continue until he leaves office.
Coplen said he will work to deliver on the state Constitution’s promise that, “The people have a right to clean air, pure water, and to the preservation of the natural, scenic, historic and aesthetic values of the environment,” a promise that Coplen says Republican leadership has ignored.
“Public opinion polls and focus groups can only tell you so much,” Coplen said. “To learn what people really want from their government, you have to talk with people on their own terms and on their own turf, which is exactly what I will do.”
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