CAMPAIGN 2016: Local businessman seeks Senate seat
Indiana restaurateur Tony DeLoreto has announced he is a candidate for the Democratic nomination for state senator in the 41st District.
The 41st District includes all of Indiana and Armstrong counties and parts of Butler and Westmoreland counties.
DeLoreto has been a co-owner and owner of Spaghetti Benders restaurant in downtown Indiana since 1991.
He was born near Boston and moved to the Pittsburgh area while in high school. He graduated from Bethel Park High School in 1980. After serving in the U.S. Navy Reserve he earned a degree in journalism at Indiana University of Pennsylvania in 1988.
He worked at several restaurants to put himself through college, and while attending IUP he decided the borough would be a good place to raise a family.
“I was fortunate enough to do that,” he said.
DeLoreto said he and his late friend, James “Panic” Panichelli, opened Spaghetti Benders with pots and pans from DeLoreto’s home.
“I was a lifelong Republican until the last election,” said DeLoreto, now a Democrat. “I got frustrated with the turmoil, with nothing getting done.
“I feel strongly about term limits,” he said, adding that part of the reason he became a candidate was to “make some noise and challenge other districts to push for term limits” too.
He believes Pennsylvania senators should be limited to two 4-year terms.
“We need a smaller and more efficient government,” and there is a need to rein in spending in Harrisburg, he added.
DeLoreto said that among his restaurant customers, “there are a lot of people concerned there’s no accountability” in their elected officials. “I want to be a voice of the people who are totally discouraged,” he said. “I want to make a difference. I want to be the kind of public servant who would make my wife and daughter proud.”
He also said he feels he’s reached the age where his life experiences — especially as a business owner — will serve him well as a legislator.
“You need to have fiscal responsibility,” he said. “You can’t spend more than you have.”
He opposes the privatization of the liquor industry in Pennsylvania.
“Alcohol is one of the most dangerous drugs out there,” he said, adding he feels the liquor industry in Pennsylvania needs to remain under the regulation of state government.
“No doubt, we need to bring jobs to this area,” he continued. “We need to recruit manufacturing jobs” and retain the area’s coal mining jobs. And he said there’s a need to stop what he called the exporting of the area’s work ethic to other regions.
Consolidation of school districts in the state to save money is something the Legislature should explore, he said.
“Education is an investment in our future. Without investing in education, we’d be throwing away our future,” he said.
“We need to develop the infrastructure,” and especially improve Route 422, he said.
DeLoreto said that if elected he will decline a state pension.
DeLoreto was a volunteer in Big Brothers-Big Sisters while in college, and he’s active with the Indiana Players and has performed in about 15 of the group’s productions.
A website for his campaign is being developed.
DeLoreto and his wife, Cherry, and his daughter, Monica, an IUP student, live in White Township.
He also has three adult stepchildren.
Incumbent 41st District Sen. Don White, R-Indiana, is a candidate for a fifth term.
Robert Colgan, of Rayne Township, has announced he, too, is a candidate for the GOP nomination for the senate seat.