She explained why she is running for re-election.
Position Sought: Pennsylvania State House of Representatives 157th
Party Affiliation: Democrat
Family: Husband, Hans Mueller, 51 and son, Paris Shusterfallou, 20
Does anyone in your family work in politics or government?: No
Conestoga High School 1985
Lafayette College 1989 – Bachelor’s degree in Russian Studies and History
The American University 1993 – Master’s degree in Film and Television
Occupation: Before running for office, I worked in the video production industry for over a decade. I worked for large networks like FX and Food Network before returning to Pennsylvania to raise my son as a single mother. Here, I started her own successful business, a video production company.
Previous or Current Elected or Appointed Office: Currently, Member of PA State House, since 2018
Campaign website: www.melissashusterman.com
Why are you seeking elective office?: I was motivated to run for my first term in 2018 to challenge the old boys’ club and special interests that control Harrisburg and prevent progress on important issues in Pennsylvania. I campaigned on government transparency and accountability, education equity, environmental sustainability, and gun control reform.
During my first term, I’ve authored legislation dealing with small business loans, gun safety, environmental sustainability, and animal protections. I hope to be re-elected so I can keep fighting for this and other much-needed legislation.
The single most pressing issue facing our state/nation is: I believe the current most pressing issue is keeping Pennsylvanians safe and able to pay their bills during the COVID-19 pandemic.
This is what I intend to do about it: I believe the Federal government has failed when it comes to providing basic relief, and our state government has struggled to pick up the slack with its more limited resources. This summer I worked with the Governor to roll out $225 million in pandemic relief for small businesses and led efforts to resume real estate services quickly and safely. I’ve also drafted legislation to help small businesses strengthen online sales during pandemic.
What are the critical differences between you and the other candidates seeking this post?: I believe the single biggest difference is that my platform and legislative record are focused on building a PA in which everyone has the opportunity to thrive.
I hope that constituents will also view me as proven fighter for them in Harrisburg. In all things, I’ve sought to put people before politics and work across the aisle to get results.
Describe the other issues that define your campaign platform: Gun Safety; Protecting the Environment; Defending a woman’s right to make decisions about her own health; Government reform and increased accountability
What accomplishments in your past would you cite as evidence you can handle this job?: I’m proud of several legislative accomplishments I was able to make during my first term. In 2019 I was able to direct over $2 million in grants to district, host 15 legislative events, and sponsor 12 bills and co-sponsor 182.
I introduced legislation to ban firearms in our courthouses and secured over $1M in grants to enhance safety and security in local schools. I’ve also stood firmly in defense of the environment and open space, earning a 100-percent legislative score from Conservation Voters of PA.
The best advice ever shared with me was: Growing up, when I found myself wavering or unsure of myself, my dad would often tell me “Just do it.” This was long before it was a Nike slogan, by the way. I still take this advice to heart today when I start to second-guess myself.
What else would you like voters to know about yourself and your positions?: I’m working hard with other Representatives to move Pennsylvania forward and make it a more inclusive place to live.
I’m committed helping our local Main Street economies in Chester and Montgomery Counties succeed and maintain their unique, diverse character.
I believe state government can provide a number of tools and opportunities to help small businesses thrive, particularly when it comes to women-owned, minority-owned, and micro businesses.