Businesswoman announces run for state senator in 46th District

January 20, 2014
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Camera Bartolotta
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Sen. Tim Solobay

A Monongahela businesswoman will formally announce today her plan to run for state senator from the 46th District, which encompasses Greene County and parts of Washington and Beaver counties.

In her first run for public office, Camera Bartolotta is seeking the Republican nomination in the primary election. Sen. Tim Solobay, D-Canonsburg, is the incumbent.

Bartolotta, owner of the quick-lube company Duke of Oil in the Mon Valley, said operating a small business helps her understand the challenges faced by workers and families. If elected, she said job creation would be her top priority.

“For too long, the career politicians continue to tax more and spend more while our families lose jobs and our seniors lose their retirement savings,” she said in a news release. “I will put the needs of taxpayers and our families first by helping the private sector create jobs, bringing fiscal discipline to state government, ensuring a strong education for children and restoring public trust in local government and in Harrisburg.”

Originally from Los Angeles, Bartolotta moved to the Mon Valley nearly 30 years ago. She holds bachelor’s degrees in business and psychology from St. Mary’s College of California and had a career in the entertainment industry. She worked as an actor and producer, and created a cooking and lifestyle show that aired on WPXI-TV in Pittsburgh.

Bartolotta said her business is the “heart and soul” of what she has done for the last 25 years. She has helped campaign for the election of Washington County Commissioner Diana Irey Vaughan and decided to enter politics to effect a change of leadership.

“I believe that integrity is vital in public service, and it should be public service, not self-service,” she said Monday. “There’s too much cronyism in Southwestern Pennsylvania, and I feel the needs of the taxpayers and the families who live here need to be addressed and spoken up for.”

Bartolotta said she also wants to focus on more natural gas and coal development, “with safety in mind.” She opposed the recent closings of two coal-fired power plants in Greene County and believes the state Department of Environmental Protection should have more regulatory power in local energy matters than the federal Environmental Protection Agency.

Solobay also opposed those plant closings.

A lifelong resident of Canonsburg, Solobay holds a bachelor’s degree in management from California Coastal University and also graduated from the Washington Hospital School of Radiologic Technology.

Solobay was elected to the state Senate in 2010 and previously served six terms as a state representative. In the House, he was appointed to the Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency Advisory Council and is now the Democratic chairman of the Senate Veterans Affairs and Emergency Preparedness Committee.

“As I have for the last 16 years, I will be spending the election year talking to voters about my record of fighting for Southwestern Pennsylvania in the state (Legislature),” Solobay said in a statement Monday. “I’ve worked to bring good-paying jobs to our region; increase funding for our schools; building up our communities so they are great places to live, work and raise a family; and battled back the insider politics of Harrisburg. While I welcome all comers into the race, I’m confident that on Election Day, the voters will decide to send me back to Harrisburg to continue the work I’ve been doing.”

Emily Petsko joined the Observer-Reporter as a staff writer in June 2013. She graduated from Point Park University with a dual bachelor's degree in journalism and global cultural studies.

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