2013-11-21 / Front Page

GOP Backs Topper For 78th District

Conferee meeting held Monday
By Chanin Rotz-Mountz

Jesse Topper Jesse Topper NEWS EDITOR

Jesse Topper, a Bedford County state committeeperson, has been selected to represent Republican voters of the 78th Legislative District during the January special election to fill the position previously held by the late, longtime state representative, Dick L. Hess.

Monday night at the Bedford County Elks Country Club, 14 designated conferees from Bedford County, five from Fulton County and one from Huntingdon County convened to select Topper as their Republican nominee.

The number of conferees selected to represent each county within the 78th District was based on the number of electoral votes cast in the 2012 presidential election. Conferees travelling to Bedford and representing Fulton County included Stanley Kerlin, Mikeal Fix, Glenn “Pete” Ford, Rodney McCray and Samuel Metz.

According to a state GOP press release dated last Friday, “each candidate” was to be given an opportunity to make a short presentation and answer questions at the November 18 conferee meeting prior to those on hand casting a vote for their nominee. To date, eight candidates had expressed interest in filling the vacant position, including Brian W. Speck of Bedford, Christine Hershberger Ebersole of Martinsburg, Dana Troutman of Hopewell, Howard E. Weightman of Rainsburg, Josh Lane of Everett, Michael J. Herline of Bedford, Samuel C. Cottle of Everett and Topper, also of Bedford.

However, the conferee meeting turned out to be nothing more than a formality for the conferees in attendance representing Fulton and Huntingdon counties as Topper was reportedly the only candidate on hand to speak.

In fact, it was announced only last week in the Bedford Gazette that Topper had been hand-selected by Bedford County’s Republican Committee on November 12 as its choice to attend the conferee meeting. At the Bedford County Republican Committee, a total of 44 county committee members were in attendance to hear a five-minute presentation from each of the eight proposed candidates. Each candidate was also asked the same four questions such as prioritizing issues ranging from liquor privatization and pension reform to transportation; whether the commonwealth should be financially involved in economic development; which House committee they were interested in serving on; and why they were the best candidate.

Bedford County’s committee members in turn nominated Topper, Cottle, Ebersole and Herline, with the winning candidate needing at least 23 votes. Topper came out on top with 26 votes.

As the only candidate to speak Monday night and the obvious favored choice by Bedford County, which held the majority of the conferee positions and votes, Topper will be listed for consideration by area voters as the Republican nominee during the January 28 special election. Word has not been made yet as to who will represent area Democrats on the ballot.

A native of Bedford County, Topper, is currently employed by Bedford United Methodist Church as an executive minister. The 32-year-old also currently serves on the Bedford County Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors as a second vice president as well as the Commonwealth’s Board of Nursing and has served as a football coach, on the Bedford Borough Council and the Bedford Area School District’s Board of Health and Fitness.

“I would consider it an honor and a privilege to serve the district in this capacity and to represent the interests of the hardworking taxpayers of our area,” said Topper in a previous press release.

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