State Sen. Costa announces re-election bid
State Senate Democratic Leader Jay Costa (D-Allegheny) has announced he will seek re-election to the Senate of Pennsylvania from the 43rd District.
“This is a very difficult time with many challenges to overcome, that’s why it’s important to elect public officials who take principled positions and apply common sense,” Mr. Costa said.
Job creation, education funding, property tax relief, adoption of a Marcellus Shale extraction tax, equal pay for equal work, safety net repairs and increasing the minimum wage would remain as priorities in his next term.
A lifelong resident of Allegheny County, Mr. Costa currently serves as Senate Democratic leader.
He is credited with helping devise significant bi-partisan policy initiatives in education, economic development and human services. Under his leadership, Senate Democrats authored a comprehensive job creation plan called PA Works; a community development initiative – Growth, Progress and Sustainability (GPS); and a new tax relief proposal, PA Home Rebate, that could provide up to $1990 in property tax rebates.
He has served as a Democratic negotiator on the budget and has taken the lead on many key issues. The Forest Hills lawmaker said his effort in helping craft the $2.4 billion annual transportation plan is an example of the bi-partisan leadership he has provided.
“The new transportation investments will not only rebuild our roads and bridges but it will enhance mass transit service upgrades and system improvements,” Mr. Costa said.
As a leader on promoting access to affordable health care, he also played a critical role in moving negotiations between UPMC and Highmark forward. He helped broker an in-network access agreement between Highmark and UPMC and was the sponsor of FAIRx – legislation that served as the model for leveraging higher drug rebates to reduce drug costs for senior and prime sponsored a law to assist those with disabilities better manage health costs.
Mr. Costa said he has pushed a litany of other significant reforms. His legislation to improve safety for highway and public safety workers in construction zones was recently signed into law. He led the fight to enact wide-ranging changes in court procedures, including jury diversity, and was a strong advocate of improving child abuse reporting procedures.
He lead the effort in Harrisburg to direct nearly $2 million in sustained funding to Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh and the Allegheny County Library Association from annual gaming revenue.
The Forest Hills lawmaker has helped secure millions in funding for water and sewer rehabilitation and community development through the state’s PENNVEST, Commonwealth Financing Authority and Redevelopment Capital Assistance Program, he said.
Mr. Costa said he believes in reducing the corrupting influence of money in Pennsylvania elections. He introduced a campaign finance reform bill that would limit campaign contributions, reduce the influence of special interest groups, and boost transparency.
He has been active in opening government and believes in greater transparency. He supported the development of the open records office and sweeping Right-to-Know Law upgrades, plus new rules restricting gifts to lawmakers. He hosted multiple in-person and telephone town halls; a veterans’ services fair and an annual luncheon honoring veterans; plus programs aimed at slashing electric costs, enhancing public safety, and providing education financing information for students.
Mr. Costa is a founding chairman of the bi-partisan/bi-cameral Arts and Culture Caucus of the General Assembly whose focus is supporting and advancing the arts and cultural opportunities in Pennsylvania. He serves on the board of trustees of the University of Pittsburgh, Community College of Allegheny County, Catholic Charities Free Health Care Center and the Sen. John Heinz History Center.
Prior to his election to the Senate, Mr. Costa was Register of Wills in Allegheny County. He also served as a county deputy sheriff. He graduated from Taylor Allderdice High School, Community College of Allegheny County, Indiana University of Pennsylvania and Duquesne University School of Law. He is married and has three children.
The 43rd district includes most of the East Hills of Allegheny County, eastern wards in the city of Pittsburgh, portions of the Steel Valley and south Pittsburgh communities.