PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – In addition to the presidential race, voters will be electing state senators in 25 districts around the Commonwealth.
One hotly contested race involves 38 communities in the Mon Valley, eastern Allegheny County, and the northwestern part of Westmoreland County.
After almost three decades at Mellon Bank, Democrat Jim Brewster entered full-time politics later in life, first as mayor of McKeesport and now a state senator.
This year he faces a Republican woman from Lower Burrell, Nicole Ziccarelli, who is running an aggressive campaign against him.
WATCH: More With Jim Brewster And Nicole Ziccarelli
“A lot of parts of our district from Kiski to Kennywood have seen a lot of decline over the years, and Senator Brewster has been at the helm of that,” Ziccarelli told KDKA political editor Jon Delano.
In campaign ads, Ziccarelli blames the incumbent for a decline in the region, and the 39-year old mother of four says it’s time for a change.
“Senator Brewster has been in this role for 10 years, he’s had his turn.”
“I think we need experience now more than we ever did,” responds Brewster.
Brewster says his business and political experience have made a difference.
“I do this because I want to make the quality of life better for every individual in the district and to do that you have to take care of the 38 communities. I’m one of the few individuals in Harrisburg who really pays attention to small communities,” the senator says.
The 45th Senatorial District stretches through the Mon Valley, McKeesport, West Mifflin into Monroeville, Plum, and the Alle-Kiski Valley.
“Our leadership has not done a good enough job of making sure that they’re a champion for business, economic development, small business, and community growth – and that’s my number one issue,” says Ziccarelli.
“I vote on bills that I think benefit all people, as I said earlier. Yes, I’m a Democrat. I’m a conservative Democrat. I have been through experiences she has never been through,” notes Brewster.