Cancer claims life of PA senator

Cancer claims life

Brain cancer has claimed the life of Pennsylvania state Senator Dave Arnold, R-Lebanon. Arnold died at home Sunday with his wife and daughter by his side.

Cancer claims  life
Sen. Dave Arnold

The 49-year-old lawmaker represented the Senate’s 48th district in parts of Lebanon, Dauphin and York counties after winning a special election last year to replace Mike Folmer, who is serving a two-year prison sentence on child pornography charges.

Arnold, Lebanon County’s former district attorney, sponsored a bill last year that strengthened penalties for possession of child pornography and established a task force to combat the crime. He planned to reintroduce it this year after the House failed to act.

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He also challenged Gov. Tom Wolf’s decision to withhold federal disaster aid from Lebanon County in July after local officials defied the state’s phased economic reopening plan. He encouraged businesses to do what was best to take care of their families and employees during a news conference at the time.

“Every one of us has the right to do that,” he said. “No man can take that away from us.”

‘A good man, gone too soon’

Senate President Pro Tempore Jake Corman, R-Bellefonte, and Majority Leader Kim Ward, R-Greensburg, praised Arnold’s professionalism. “He’s a good man gone too soon,” they said.

“From the moment voters sent Dave to Harrisburg one year ago, he worked tirelessly for his constituents and the Commonwealth,” the leaders said. “This was not a surprise to anyone who knew him. It was a continuation of a record of public service marked by independence and integrity.”

Arnold was diagnosed with a malignant brain tumor in October 2019. In June, he sponsored a resolution that recognizes cancer survivors. 

“There’s a lot of cancer survivors out there and I consider them heroes,” he said. “Some of us will win the battle. Sadly many of us wont, but all are heroes the same to me. I pray for all of you.”

Arnold leaves behind his wife, Alicia, and his 14-year-old daughter, Reese.

“Dave was a lifelong resident of his beloved Lebanon County, a civic leader, softball coach, husband and father,” the leaders said. “Our hearts break for his wife, Alicia, and his daughter, Reese. His community and our Commonwealth are better places because of the contributions of Dave Arnold.”

Election discrepancies called
Christen Smith

Christen Smith follows Pennsylvania’s General Assembly for The Center Square. She is an award-winning reporter with more than a decade of experience covering state and national policy issues for niche publications and local newsrooms alike.


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