Candidates for the 28th Senate District are expected to meet for their first debate during a forum held Saturday by a pro-life Christian political action committee.

The event will feature state Rep. Ron Miller, R-Jacobus, and Democrat Linda Small, who will face off in a March 18 special election, plus Republicans Scott Wagner and Zack Hearn, who are running for the vacant Senate seat in the May 20 primary.

Rep. Scott Perry, R-York County, is the keynote speaker, and conservative radio talk show host Gary Sutton will moderate the breakfast event, which carries the theme "New Districts, New Candidates and Traditional Values." It is being hosted by York County ACTION (Americans for Christian Traditions In Our Nation).

The debate also will include state Rep. Stan Saylor, R-Windsor Township, and his primary challenger Kelly Henshaw. Republican Ernie Merisotis, who's running for Miller's House seat, will also attend.

The format: Each candidate will get a minute-long introduction and minute-long responses to each question, said Jay McKiernan, president of York County ACTION.

The candidates will be asked "questions that don't get asked in other venues," including questions that are central to ACTION's anti-abortion and anti-gay marriage stances, he said.

The group will ask candidates to, for example, provide specific details about when they believe life begins, McKiernan said.


ACTION is working to eliminate abortion in Pennsylvania, and the group is interested in what legislative measures candidates would support to limit abortions "until Roe v. Wade is overturned," he said.

The group is also opposed to gay marriage and wants to "preserve the traditional marriage, one man, one woman," he said.

The event will be held from 8:30 to 11 a.m. Saturday, Feb. 8, at Rescue Fire Hall, 50 N. School Place in Dallastown. The cost is $20 per person. RSVP and pay for tickets at by 5 p.m. Thursday.

— Reach Christina Kauffman at