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Political newcomer Paul Eagle is running a write-in campaign for the 38th Legislative District seat currently held by state Rep. Bill Kortz.
Eagle was born and raised in Dravosburg, where he also currently resides. He took criminal justice courses at Indiana University of Pennsylvania and is a graduate of Community College of Allegheny County.
He currently serves as a Port Vue police officer and as police/resource officer in the West Mifflin Area School District, as well as constable for Dravosburg Borough.
Eagle is interested in running for office because he feels not enough gets done due to party divisions.
“I think that Democrats and Republicans need to start working together, doing what’s right for Pennsylvanians, or whatever district that they may represent, not because ‘I belong to the Democratic Party,’ or ‘I belong to the Republican Party,’” he says.
“It seems like nothing ever gets done because nobody’s willing to cross those party lines and do what’s right for the people that’s put them there, and that’s something I am willing to do, no matter if I’m put in as a Democrat, or as a Republican,” Eagle says. “I will cross party lines to do what’s right for the people, not for politicians, not for special interest groups.”
Eagle says his work in law enforcement has provided valuable experience with resolving conflicts. “I think as a police officer, my job is to listen to people, and to work out problems,” he says. “You’re listening to both sides of a story, and then trying to come to the best conclusion.”
His work as a school resource officer exposed him to under-funded classrooms, and he says school funding would be his top priority if elected.
“Working in the school district, I started to see how a lot of our teachers are having to buy basic needs — pens and pencils and crayons and paper — and that’s one of the main things we need is more funding for our schools,” Eagle says.
“Not only just for materials we need, but the pay of our cafeteria workers, teachers’ aides, janitors and secretaries,” he says. “I didn’t realize before I started working with the school of how low-paying those jobs were.”
Eagle says he knows finding additional money for school districts will be difficult.
“I would have to look at some things,” he says. “I’m an outside candidate, I don’t have a bunch of advisors.”
Another priority would be increasing funding for volunteer fire departments, Eagle says. When Pennsylvania enacted a new law alllowing private citizens to purchase fireworks, it enacted a 12 percent tax on those purchases. Eagle would like the state to direct some of that new revenue to fire departments.
Because Eagle is running as a write-in candidate, both registered Democrats and Republicans can vote for him in the June 2 primary. He considers his political views moderate.
“I am a registered Democrat,” Eagle says. “But I’m asking for Democrats, I’m asking for the Republicans, the Republicans don’t have anybody on the ballot, I’m asking for the Republicans to come out and write me in also.”
Asked what one thing he would like voters to know about him, Eagle says, “I’m the everyday person. I’m not a politician. I’m an outside candidate. I understand what it’s like to have problems paying your electric bill, or paying your rent, or buying food. I’m just a public servant. I’m a police officer. I don’t make a bunch of money. I understand their struggles. I call myself the people’s candidate.”
Education: Police Academy/Criminal Justice Concentration at IUP, EMT Certification from CCAC
Career: Police officer, Port Vue; School Resource Officer, West Mifflin Area School District; Constable, Dravosburg
Kevin Kino is a freelance writer and filmmaker based in Pittsburgh.
Originally published May 26, 2020.