The Herald, Sharon, PA Published Tuesday, Feb. 26, 2002


Gruitza is seeking another term in Harrisburg

By Tom Fontaine
Herald Staff Writer

State Rep. Michael C. Gruitza, Hermitage, D-7th District, said Monday he is seeking re-election in the Shenango Valley district he has represented for more than two decades.

Gruitza, 50, said his legislative purpose has not changed but his responsibilities have over the years.

"My experience and seniority led to my appointment last year as Democratic Chairman of the House Children and Youth Committee, a new committee formed at the beginning of 2001," Gruitza said.

Children and Youth is Gruitza's lone committee assignment.

Gruitza, a lifelong Democrat, described himself as a blue-collar lawmaker. "I pride myself as a steady hand at the helm," he said.

"It is easy to spit and sputter that one is going to march into Harrisburg and shake it down to its foundation or to make grandiose speeches from the floor to get newspaper ink," Gruitza said.

"The real work is what goes on day to day, knowing how to work with 202 other legislators in the House in a way that moves legislation toward what you believe is in the best interest of the people who entrust you with the office," Gruitza said.

Gruitza added that he has helped bring state money to the district for numerous community development and transportation projects. "I've seen Mercer County recover from economic body blows that would leave other communities devastated. That says a lot about the people we have here, and I'm glad to have played a role in keeping my hometown staying proud with a positive future ahead," he said.

Gruitza, a graduate of what is now Kennedy Catholic High School in Hermitage, earned a bachelor's degree from Gannon University and a law degree from Ohio Northern University. He and his wife, Joan, have three children.

Gruitza faces opposition in the Democratic primary.

Hermitage School Director Jim Lumpp announced two weeks ago that he is seeking the Democratic nomination. Lumpp earned the Republican nomination but lost a state House race to Gruitza in 1998.

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