Philipsburg, Pa. — For Nancy K. Snyder, a spirited 60-year-old nurse, the lowpoint came in a parking lot in late July when she and a friend tradedinsults.

The women had just arrived at the state capitol in Harrisburg after atwo-and-a-half-hour ride on separate buses, chartered to help the 3,000residents of this mountain town press senators on a divisive issue.