An Ohio Township Democrat has announced that she is running for the 44th Legislative District seat held by longtime Republican state Rep. Mark Mustio.
Michele Knoll is a 61-year-old former teacher at St. Malachy Catholic School in Kennedy Township and Pittsburgh Public Schools and is now a developmental specialist working with families with infants with special needs.
“Our current leadership has failed to deliver reliable funding for our schoolchildren or a safe business environment for either our businesses or communities,” Knoll said in a campaign press release. “The status quo must go.”
Her Facebook page (@MicheleKnoll44) boasts several photos from Sunday’s Pittsburgh Women’s March, where Knoll spoke to the crowd.
Knoll stressed her background in education and its connection to economic growth.
“I served on the Avonworth School District Board, and we must not only properly fund our schools without putting them at risk every year, but we must also better suit our educational programs to local jobs in our energy and technology sectors to spur growth,” she said.
“Career Harrisburg politicians elect themselves for themselves,” she said. “I have worked as a born-and-raised community advocate my entire life – and now I want to fight for those values in Harrisburg, for us.”
Her announcement said Knoll supports “careful and incentive-based regulatory programs to smoothly guide us to a safe, reliable and sustainable energy sector for our community.”
On her website, Knoll4PA44.com, Knoll lists her priorities as “jobs, education, fiscal responsibility, health care, the environment and women’s role in government.” Knoll also defends the Affordable Care Act and Medicaid and says the state Department of Environmental Protection is “currently understaffed for the tasks they are expected to carry out.”
She also says she wants to encourage young women in science, technology, engineering and math and to work on veterans’ issues.
Knoll earned a bachelor’s degree in elementary education and a master’s in education from the University of Pittsburgh and worked as a staff educator at the Carnegie Science Center and as an outreach coordinator at the Pittsburgh Civic Garden Center.
Also, Knoll touted her affiliations with the League of Women Voters, the Coalition of Labor Union Women, West Hills Democratic Women and Ohio Township Democrats.
The 44th District includes Moon, Findlay, North Fayette, Crescent, Ohio and Aleppo townships, and Sewickley, Edgeworth, Bell Acres, Sewickley Heights, Sewickley Hills, Glenfield, Haysville and Glen Osborne boroughs.
Mustio, a North Fayette resident, is a former Moon supervisor, who has represented the district since winning a special election in June 2003 to replace former state Rep. John Pippy. In the current legislative session, Mustio is chairman of the House Professional Licensure Committee and a member of the Liquor Control Committee.