McConnellsburg woman seeks Senate seat

Shawn Hardy
Emily Best

A McConnellsburg woman has announced she is running for the 30th District Pennsylvania Senate seat being vacated by John Eichelberger Jr.

Emily Best, 34, a Democrat, is a working mom and farm advocate, according to a campaign news release.

She is the second candidate to come forward. State Rep. Judy Ward, a Republican from Blair County, announced her candidacy in January. Eichelberger is running for the 9th Congressional District seat currently held by U.S. Rep. Bill Shuster, who is not seeking re-election.

The 30th District covers western Franklin County, including the boroughs of Greencastle and Mercersburg and Antrim, Montgomery, Peters and Warren townships, as well as all of Blair and Fulton counties and parts of Huntingdon and Cumberland counties.

The primary election is May 15. The deadline to file paperwork to get on the ballot is March 6.

*** About Best ***

Best said she is running because she believes Harrisburg needs a new generation to bring change.

“I can no longer accept the status quo of today’s dysfunctional politics. Our lives, our health care, our environment, and our paychecks are all at stake," she said in a news release. "Year after year of budget delays and last-minute resolutions have shown that we cannot trust our legislators. The politicians in Harrisburg are more focused on covering up scandals and staying in power than on doing their jobs and helping their constituents. I know what it’s like to raise a family in this economy, and it’s not easy. Our legislators should be listening to us and addressing our concerns instead of ignoring our needs but continuing to assume they will get our votes.”

Best was born and raised in Butler, the daughter of two small businesses owners. She graduated from Butler High School and received her bachelor’s degree from the University of Pittsburgh and a master’s degree in environmental policy from American University. After completing her education, she served in the Peace Corps in West Africa, where she realized the power of community change and development.

Returning home in 2012, she joined New Morning Farm in southern Huntingdon County as an apprentice farmer. In addition to tending crops, she managed the farm’s stand at the weekly market, ran the greenhouse, and worked with the farm’s owners to understand all facets of running a successful farm in central Pennsylvania. At this time, Best found her voice as an advocate for farmers and rural places, and began volunteering with the National Young Farmers Coalition. In this capacity, she organized young farmers in the state, built a website consolidating resources for young farmers and was invited to speak at several events, including a rural forum in State College sponsored by the White House.

After four years at New Morning Farm, Best joined Tuscarora Organic Growers Co-Operative, where she has served as general manager since 2015. In this role, Best said she has honed the leadership skills and problem-solving ability needed to bring change to the Pennsylvania Senate.

As state senator, Best said she will bring her constituents’ needs to the forefront of her work.

“For far too long, the voices of the citizens of our district have gone unheard in Harrisburg. Our representatives in government have been prioritizing the interests of insurance companies over our health, and the profits of oil and gas corporations over our environment and our budget. I have heard the frustration in my district and I am ready to be voice of change in the face of this unfair economic system.”

Best said she will work to ensure that farms and small businesses are not burdened by regulatory schemes that hold them back from success, putting aside party politics to get things done. She said she will fight for rural broadband and improved Internet accessibility for the region, as the Internet is key for today’s jobs, skill-building, and information.

In addition, Best said she will work for a fair tax policy, stand up for a strong public school system which prepares our children for their future and fight in Harrisburg for a health care system that works for everyone.

“Our region and our state need new leaders who understand that our citizens cannot wait any longer for change. The era of obstruction, cover-ups, and tired politics as usual is over. Our district deserves better, and that’s why I am running," Best said.