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The Dickinsonian

The student news site of Dickinson College.

The Dickinsonian

The student news site of Dickinson College.

The Dickinsonian

Regional NBC anchor running for Congress, working with student fellows

While the presidential election in Pennsylvania will garner significant attention next year, the Carlisle area will be part of a key race in the House of Representatives. Janelle Stelson, a former news anchor with WGAL, is one of seven candidates vying to unseat Republican incumbent Rep. Scott Perry.

 

Stelson has worked as a journalist for 38 years, most of that in central Pennsylvania, including ABC27 and WGAL, the regional station of NBC, where she was both a reporter and an anchor.

 

During her interview with The Dickinsonian, Stelson was joined by two campaign fellows—Ethan Barnes ’26 and Audrey Herman ’26. She has fellows involved with the campaign at four colleges in the district, with three students at Dickinson. Barnes said that he got involved with Stelson’s campaign because “I feel like Janelle’s ideals align most with my own compared to Scott Perry, whose ideals I would say are a little out there compared to the rest of her constituents.”

 

Voter registration is a key part of Stelson’s campaign, which was a draw for Barnes to get involved. “In a true democracy, we all have a voice,” said Stelson, and she believes that every vote should count, regardless of what level of office the vote is for.

 

Herman said that “While I have not grown up watching her on the television, I kind of understand how people feel they have this connection with her and I think that’s a really valuable thing to see in a representative.” WGAL covers the Susquehanna Valley, including all of the 10th congressional district, which is made up of Cumberland, Dauphin and York counties.

 

Stelson said she wanted to get involved with journalism because “it has the power to effect change.” Given the ways the world has changed since she got involved in journalism, especially in regards to violence and health, she “[wants] to move from the telling about it, to doing something about it” in Washington.

 

Perry’s actions in Congress played a key role in Stelson running for office. Perry—who leads the House Freedom Caucus, a group made up of the most conservative members of the House—was a key figure in attempts to overturn Pennsylvania’s results in the 2020 presidential election.

 

“I believe that he is a real threat to democracy,” said Stelson. “He has voted against worker’s rights, election rights, certainly womens’ rights… and I find it very interesting that he heads up the so-called Freedom Caucus, because I feel like he doesn’t fight for freedoms at all” she went on to say.

 

After spending decades covering the district, Stelson feels that gives her a strong vantage point of the region that other candidates do not have. She said that “I would match my knowledge of the 10th [district] up against anybody running, and certainly Scott Perry.”

 

Despite having lived in parts of the district such as Harrisburg and New Cumberland and having covered it in her professional capacity, she currently lives in Lancaster County, which is outside of the district. However, she intends to move to Harrisburg in the coming months.

 

Stelson is one of seven candidates running for the Democratic Party’s nomination to challenge Perry. Among them include Mike O’Brien, an Air Force veteran who met with the College Democrats in October, Rick Coplen, a Carlisle Area School District board member who ran for the same nomination in 2022 and Shamaine Daniels, the party’s nominee from 2022 who lost to Perry in the general election.

 

The primary for the Democratic and Republican parties will be held in April 2024, which will include the nominations for this race, as well as those for president, U.S. Senate and state House. For more information on Janelle Stelson, her campaign site can be found at janellestelson.com.

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About the Contributor
Walker is a junior political science major from Shavertown, Pa. and is one of the 2023-24 Co-Editors-in-Chief. They previously served as Life & Style Editor in 2022-23, and have been writing with The Dickinsonian since freshman year. Some of their favorite stories they've written include a profile on John E. Jones when he became Dickinson's president, attempts to bring back a special interest house for the African diaspora, and when John Fetterman spoke in Carlisle. Outside of The Dickinsonian, they are also involved with WDCV, Random Acts of Kindness and Dickinson Votes. In their free time, they love reading, finding new music, photography, and playing video games.

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