Rebecca Harmon-Dowling was the 2011 Pennsylvania Republican “Woman of the Year.” In May 2010 she was elected as the youngest member of the Pennsylvania Republican State Committee, and serves on the Board of Directors of the Young Republicans.
Rebecca, 24, is from Uniontown and is well aware of the political strength of the AFL-CIO. She worked diligently for Tim Burns in a 2010 special House election but was not able to overcome labor’s turn out of the vote campaign. The setback did not discourage Rebecca and her Young Republican colleagues. They went on to help pick up five House seats that November.
She says “I was out door knocking and phone banking like I was born to do it. You can be a doer, a watcher or just wonder. You can do something, watch something, or see it done and wonder how things happened. I try to be a doer.”
Her enthusiasm for the GOP is readily apparent, and her heroes are Senator Pat Toomey (R-PA) and Gov. Tom Corbett (R-PA), who were both elected in 2010.
While Wisconsin, Michigan, Ohio and Indiana have been in the reform spotlight, Rebecca believes some of the most exciting changes are in her state. In fact, they are witnessing the largest change agenda in a century. Her message is not to attract attention to herself, but she believes the nation should know what is happening in her state.
Under GOP leadership, Pennsylvania has a balanced state budget and it was the first on-time budget in nine years. There were no tax increases and the $4.2 billion deficit was wiped out by budget reductions.
They obtained $415 million in reductions from public employees. The budgetary gimmicks and short term fixes of the past were abandoned. They are also stopping property tax increases by requiring a public referendum on any future attempt to raise taxes.
A major milestone was the passage of tort reform with the Fair Share Act. It treats business and medical professionals fairly in the award of financial damages.
Natural gas is a major job creator for the Keystone State and Gov. Corbett and GOP leaders wants no state taxes on the industry. The best news is that the reforms have only just begun. The GOP is also moving to eliminate the state liquor monopoly, reduce business taxes, institute school vouchers, restructure public welfare and reform the state legislature.
This is a new direction because politicians in the past expanded the functions of state government and raised taxes to meet budget deficits. Additional reforms are still on the drawing board, but the Governor has plenty of allies.
Since the infamous pay hike fiasco of 2005, almost half of the House and one-third of the Senate have been replaced by new members, many of them committed to reform. The legislature is behind the campaign to stop budget and tax increases.
Rebecca convinced us exciting things are happening in the Keystone State, and her top goal is to make sure Obama does not carry the state in 2012.
You can read more about the contest rules and background at: The 45 Most Admired Republican Women Under 45