Teacher Deb Ciamacca to run for PA state representative

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By Sophia Pan, Staff Reporter

Social studies teacher Deb Ciamacca will run for the Pennsylvania House of Representatives for the 168th district in Delaware County against incumbent Chris Quinn in 2020. Ciamacca has taught at Conestoga for 19 years and plans to retire in June. Her background as an educator, manufacturing manager and former U.S. Marine Corps captain has given her a unique perspective that she thinks will help her win.

“In the three jobs that I’ve had, I’ve met a lot of different types of people, which I think makes me good at talking to almost anybody,” Ciamacca said. “The number one thing you have to be as a state legislator is sensitive to the needs of the people in your district, and I think, based on what I’ve done in the past, I would be very good at doing that.”

She was recently endorsed by the organization New Politics, which promotes candidates throughout the country with a
military background.

“In the military, we have to work with everyone. It doesn’t matter whether they’re a Republican or a Democrat or an Independent,” Ciamacca said. “I think my military background gives me the ability, in this very polarized society, to work with people that maybe wouldn’t want to work with someone else.”

Ciamacca has long been vocal about politics. After the school shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida in 2018, she wrote an article opposing arming teachers with guns for TIME Magazine and appeared on Comedy Central. She also appeared on the BBC, CBS, Canadian Broadcasting and Sky News voicing her opinion on guns.

“The Parkland shooting really made me consider, what’s the most effective way to effect change in the government?” Ciamacca said. “And I’ve always talked to my students about government not being a spectator sport—it’s a participant sport— and so I knew I needed to put my money where my mouth was, so that shooting really got me involved.”

Additionally, Ciamacca has been politically active in the Conestoga community. She is the faculty adviser of the Young Democrats and Civic Engagement clubs.

Senior Dylan Ward, president of the Young Democrats Club and board member for the Civic Engagement Club, who had Ciamacca her junior and senior years, will intern on the campaign this summer.

“Mrs. Ciamacca has helped me to find my voice during my time at Conestoga. I owe her a lot for the type of person I am today,” Ward said. “I think she has lived an incredible life of public service and she is hopefully going to continue to do so in the Pennsylvania state legislature.”

A few issues Ciamacca plans to address are gun control, gerrymandering, the Sunoco pipeline, education funding and healthcare. She wants her campaign to be about the voice of the people.

“I will be spending a significant time in my own district talking to people because, to me, the whole idea behind this job is that you have to be a conduit and a representative of the things that the people in your district want,” Ciamacca said. “I want to do a really good job representing those people who feel like they’ve been left out of the governmental process.”

She began her goal to knock on at least 20,000 doors to hear about the issues of the people from the people the week of April 8.

“I think we have to start at the grassroots level here and give America back to the people,” Ciamacca said.

Ciamacca hopes to inspire her students to go into government and care about the country.

“I hope that students will see me as a role model. You cannot sit back and wait for somebody else to care about your government because that’s how you lose your government,” Ciamacca said. “I think we should give back to the country because if we don’t, we’re not going to have a country.”