Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Lebanon Commissioner Faces Long Odds for Governor

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Lebanon Commissioner Faces Long Odds for Governor

Article excerpt

Jo Ellen Litz wants to know the opinions of Pennsylvanians on a key issue: dark chocolate or milk chocolate?

The long-shot candidate for the Democratic nomination for governor says there's a serious rationale behind the informal poll she conducts at many of her public appearances. On an introductory tour of the state, she found lots of small candy manufacturers. To her, those firms symbolize the jobs and firms she wants to nurture in the state should she defy the odds and pull off what would have to be counted as the most improbable upset in the state's political history.

Also, she really likes chocolate.

Earlier this fall, she brought her survey and her bare-bones campaign to the steps of the Allegheny County Courthouse, where she burst through a tape stretched out to mark the finish line on her quest to visit each of the state's 67 counties. Her quest for the Democratic nomination for governor offers a significantly more daunting challenge.

But the Lebanon County commissioner says she's not intimidated by the long odds.

"I was always taught that everybody puts their pants on one leg at a time and we are all equal," she said. "So many of the skills I've learned as county commissioner are transferable, whether it's on the prison board, or disaster relief or chairing the metropolitan planning commission.

"Those are real skills. I have been through elections numerous times; I've run and won. I know I can beat [Gov. Tom] Corbett, I can win this primary, and not be intimidated by someone who says they are more qualified."

Ms. Litz is in her fourth term on the board of commissioners in the county where she was born and raised and where she is a longtime member of the Democratic Party Committee, currently its vice chair. She is a former president and chair of the Pennsylvania County Commissioners Association.

She also has a background in business, having run an auto body shop for two decades. She and her husband have two grown children. She has an associate's degree from Lebanon Valley College.

Ms. Litz also points to her environmental and conservation credentials as a longtime member and current president of the Swatara Watershed Association. …

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