Exeter board member runs for State Representative in the 130th House District

Russell Diesinger

Exeter Township School Director Russell J. Diesinger (D) has announced his candidacy for State Representative in the 130th House District, which covers the Boyertown, Brandywine, Daniel Boone, Exeter, Fleetwood, and Oley school districts.

This year marks his thirteenth year and fourth term serving his time as a school board member, where he serves on the BCTC Joint Operating Committee. Passionate about supporting education, the candidate also serves on the county wide school board for the state.

This is the second time the self-proclaimed “moderate democrat” is running for the position; State Rep. David Maloney currently holds the 130th House District seat.

Diesinger grew up in Plymouth Meeting, but now resides in Exeter Township. Having two daughters and two step-sons, Diesinger “wants what is best for the kids.” He has played an active role in the public school system, working with the inner successes and failures in many of the districts across the state.

It shows his dedication to education, as Diesinger has experience both as a school director, educator and is a strong supporter of the public education system, serving on boards on both a local and large scale.

“Being a board member makes me a better teacher, and vice versa,” Diesinger said. “Going back to teaching one of the most meaningful things I’ve done.”

Diesinger is a 24-year business man who found teaching to be a second career; he just retired from Reading High School in January.

Diesinger does not like how the state has been handling the education budget, as he is a strong supporter of education.

“I don’t know if I have [a solution] for the state budget yet,” he answered honestly. “This is not the way the state wants to be, and not how Exeter wants to be either.”

With the current system “drain[ing] resources from the schools,” Diesinger wants to see more transparency with the budgetary system.

He sees union contracts, state requirements, and charter schools as the biggest problems facing the school districts in Pennsylvania.

In Exeter Township, the public school district loses “about $10,000 per student” when a child attends a charter school.

The candidate would like to see reimbursed for the actual cost that the district loses per student.

“Education is the first step to a better everything,” he said. Diesinger would like to see a world class education system. “It makes total sense: education being hope.”

For the district of Exeter, Diesinger strongly supports the merge of Exeter with Antietam School District and has been for the last 10 years.

Historically the country has been devoted to creating good citizens. Diesinger sees Exeter Township as a model for other districts. “Exeter requires 11th graders to take and pass a government course before graduating,” Diesinger said. “I would like to see that required for all schools in the state.”

As a candidate, Diesinger sticks to the principles he preaches, as he wants to start on the right foot.

“We need to regulate campaign funding and lobbying,” he told The Southern Berks News. Diesinger would like to see “common sense return to government.”

Overall, the candidate said he “wants what is best for Pennsylvania citizens” and believes in observing how others operate as a model.

“We all need to pay into the community to make it a better place,” he said. “We look at things in other areas and implement them here”

In Exeter Township, Diesinger is proud of the farm preservation as a way of preserving open space and how the township took over the Reading Country Club. “We need to commit to infrastructure,” Diesinger said while talking about planning. “I would love to see a rail line reopen.”

Diesinger supports controlling the cost of the state university system, a public transportation system, reforming property taxes, businesses who have interest in the community, oil extraction taxes to generate state revenue, and keeping jobs locally based.

The candidate does not want to see the privatizing of state stores, or the lottery.

For Diesinger, he sees the position of a state representative as being the best “example of access” as a resident. “I’ve always been able to walk into their office,” he said about the accessibility of the local representatives.

The last day to register before the primary is April 21. The primary election is May 20, with general election Nov. 4.

About the Author

Emily Thiel

Emily Thiel is the editor of The Southern Berks News and is the Community Engagement Editor for Berks-Mont Newspapers. Emily joined Berks-Mont in March 2013. She graduated from Kutztown University in 2011 with a degree in English with a concentration in Cultural and Media Studies. Emily is a native of Allentown, Pa. Reach the author at ethiel@berksmontnews.com or follow Emily on Twitter: @sthrnberksnews.