Attorney to seek Democratic nomination in 120th District

Staff Report
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WYOMING — Local attorney Joanna Bryn Smith announced on Monday that she will be running for a position in the state House of Representatives.

Smith, 32, of Wyoming, announced her intention to seek the Democratic nomination for the 120th District seat in the upcoming primary. The seat is currently occupied by Aaron Kaufer, R-Forty Fort.

Smith is a native of the 120th district, having been born and raised in Shavertown.

She is a graduate of the former Bishop O’Reilly High School, St. Joseph’s University in Philadelphia, and the City University of New York School of Law. She has worked in the Luzerne County Office of Conflict Council for the past five years.

“My parents always taught me to use my talents to serve my community,” Smith said. “I could have stayed in New York and had a career, but I chose to use my skills to benefit the marginalized in Luzerne County.”

Smith said she is running on a platform of expanding health care access and job creation, along with reform to minimum wage, property tax and education. In a press release, Smith said politicians in Harrisburg are simply unaware of the “daily struggles of everyday people.”

“We can enact policies that improve both our seniors’ and our parents’ situations, as well as improving the positions of workers by raising the minimum wage and improving access to health care,” she said in Monday’s release. “But we’re going to need a new voice, and I want to be that voice.”

Smith said she will begin circulating nominating petitions on Jan. 28.

Reached Monday afternoon, Kaufer, 31, confirmed that he intends to run again.

A Wyoming Valley West alumnus and graduate of Lafayette College, Kaufer was first elected in 2014, defeating Democrat Eileen Cipriani to succeed retiring state Rep. Phyllis Mundy.

He won a second term in 2016 by defeating Democratic challenger Bob McDonald. In 2018 he secured a third term running unopposed.

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Staff Report

Reach Patrick Kernan at 570-991-6386 or on Twitter @PatKernan

Reach Patrick Kernan at 570-991-6386 or on Twitter @PatKernan