Elizabeth Roberts  running for House of Rep against Seth Grove
Elizabeth Roberts running for House of Rep against Seth Grove

A founder of the York County tea party group the 912 Patriots has announced plans to run against Rep. Seth Grove, R-Dover Township, in the May 20 Republican primary, saying she wants to boot career politicians so progress can be made in Harrisburg.

Elizabeth Roberts, 46, of Dover Township, said Grove represents a system that's broken and he stands in the way of real reform.

A former teacher who moved to York County from Colorado in 2009, the same year she helped found the 912 Patriots, Roberts said property tax reform was one of the biggest issues that compelled her to run for the office.

Roberts said she's loyal to property tax elimination and would support the failed House Bill 1776 in lieu of Grove's House Bill 1189, which passed the House last year and is sitting in the Senate.

House Bill 1776 calls for the complete elimination of property taxes statewide, but independent reviewers said the math fails. Grove's bill calls for each school district to vote on whether to shift away from property taxes to another tax and how much.

Roberts said she doesn't believe math won't work in House Bill 1776, and she thinks Grove should have voted for that measure instead of authoring his own legislation.

Prevailing wage: She said Grove and other legislators also failed to produce real reform in prevailing wage, a rule that guarantees a set wage for workers on some public building projects. As part of a massive transportation bill, lawmakers increased the value of the projects on which prevailing wage must be paid from $25,000 to $100,000, but Roberts said that's not high enough.

"How many public projects that you know of cost $100,000?" she asked.

Roberts is also in favor of passing legislation to make Pennsylvania a "right-to-work state," so people can't be forced to pay union dues.

A former teacher, Roberts said she supports teachers, but opposes the unions that take their dues and spend them on politicians.

And teachers in some areas make too much money, she said.

"There's something wrong when teachers are making $80,000 in Dover, where the average person who's paying them only makes $40,000," she said. "They should be paid according to what the area can afford."

She's opposed to any public unions, she said, and she would if elected push to eliminate the pension and public perks for legislators.

Background: Roberts said she taught elementary school students at Harrisburg-based Infinity Charter School last year, but she resigned to take care of elderly parents.

She also taught a sixth-grade gifted program in Colorado, as well as teaching fourth grade for the Department of Defense in Germany while her husband was stationed there for the military.

She graduated from Laurel High School in Maryland in 1985, then joined the Marine Corps Reserve for two years and served active duty as a truck driver for the U.S. Army for two years, she said.

She earned a bachelor's degree in education from the University of Arizona in 2000, she said. Originally from Maryland, she is married and has two adult children,

Roberts said her background isn't that of a seasoned politician, but that's the point.

"I'm not claiming to have all of the answers," she said. "(Running for office) is not something I ever considered doing ... but I think career politicians are most of the problem."

Grove took office in 2009 and is running for a fourth term.

"I don't know where they get career politician," Grove said. "This is the same group that called me a career politician when I was first elected to office."

After redistricting, the 196th will include Dover, Jackson, North Codorus and Paradise townships, part of West Manchester Township and the boroughs of Dover, Spring Grove and New Salem.

--Reach Christina Kauffman at ckauffman@yorkdispatch.com.