District 12 Democratic primary: Here’s a look at the candidates

PITTSBURGH — Locally, all eyes are on the District 12 Democratic primary, which is quickly heating up as a third candidate has now entered the race to face off against the incumbent Summer Lee.

Channel 11 News sat down and spoke with each of them to see where they stand on the issues.

This month, incumbent Summer Lee announced that she has delivered $1 billion in federal investments to Western Pennsylvania: addressing affordable housing, infrastructure upgrades, environmental justice, reproductive health, and more.

“I’m so proud of the way that we built an incredible team that’s helped us to bring home over a billion dollars in resources to Western PA; those are dollars that help everyday people who sent us here to do precisely what we are doing,” Lee said.

While a victory for the freshman congresswoman and her constituents, Lee is still in the midst of a heated primary race that just gained another candidate.

“I didn’t really like what I was hearing coming from the other two candidates, from the incumbent in particular; and the other one I just thought I don’t want either one of those two,” said Laurie MacDonald.

MacDonald is the President and CEO of the Center for Victims, a self-proclaimed moderate new to politics. She wants to run because she said Lee doesn’t represent her values - most importantly her viewpoints on the Isreal-Hamas War and Title 9.

“Now she says move over women we are going to let the transgender women play with you, not with the men for me that was heartbreaking,” MacDonald explained.

MacDonald also addressed previous allegations that the Center for Victims created a hostile work environment with racial and homophobic slurs.

“I have never been named in one of these lawsuits as someone who is a perpetrator,” MacDonald said.

The other candidate in the race is Bhavini Patel, a member of the Edgewood borough council in Allegheny County and a Monroeville native. when we asked why she should be elected, she had this to say:

“For me, the primary focus has been showcasing that I am a strong democrat we have strong local support that’s rooted here in this community, and we are talking about key issues that impact working-class communities,” Patel said.

We asked each candidate what their top issues are: Lee and Patel emphasized their positions on defending working-class people from reproductive health to living wages.

“The potholes that need to be fixed are those day-to-day working-class issues that should guide a federal legislature so they can go and advocate for what this community needs,” Patel explained.

MacDonald doubled down on her stance on being tough on crime.

District 12  is comprised of the entire city of Pittsburgh, the Mon Valley, and parts of Westmoreland has historically elected a Democrat, but with redistricting and new voters’ democratic values may differ amongst candidates as well as voters.

“I think that democrats are people who care about progress people who care about the diverse perspectives across our region,” Lee said.

On Sunday the three candidates will face off in their first public forum.

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