Chrissy Houlahan (D)

Times of Chester County

Endorsement: Chrissy Houlahan for Congress

In this year’s race for the new and open Sixth Congressional District seat — a seat that now encompasses all of Chester County as well as the southern portion of Berks County — we have Democrat Chrissy Houlahan facing Republican Greg McCauley, both first-time candidates for office.

Unlike the visceral, top of the ticket races for U.S. Senate and Governor, this race, thankfully, has been more about issues and policy, with some fairly substantive discussions on many of the issues that face the country today.

To McCauley’s credit, he has veered from traditional Republican policy in some areas, calling for the creation of mutual insurance companies to contain health care costs, although he does say the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) is a failure, despite its growing popularity and indications that it was beginning to work before being sabotaged by Congressional Republicans. McCauley does call for a replacement of the ACA, but does not offer specifics as to what his plan would do.

McCauley was critical of outgoing U.S. Rep. Ryan Costello’s vote against repeal of the ACA and cited it as a reason for his then-primary challenge. Costello subsequently decided not to seek reelection.

Houlahan is advocating support and repair of the ACA, to broaden access to affordable health care for the community at large. She has not embraced a single-payer or Medicare for all model, bravely defying the left in her party demanding a stronger and potentially costly government intervention into health care.

The two differ strongly on tax policy, too.

Houlahan strongly opposed the tax cuts — which despite claims by GOP leaders — appears to have strongly increased the federal budget deficit without offering broad economic benefit to those in the lower and middle income brackets. McCauley, a tax attorney and fast-food franchise owner, suggests that he has fought “overbearing taxes and regulations” for his business clients. He supported the GOP tax plan, although he decries the deficit and suggests it could be closed through cutting waste and fraud, a somewhat tired refrain from generations of politicians who never seem to find much in the way of said fraud and waste once elected.

The two differ on a multitude of other issues, from a women’s right to choose — Houlahan is pro-choice, McCauley is not. Houlahan supports “common sense” gun safety measures, such as universal background checks, closing the gun shot loophole, restricting high-capacity magazines and renewing the federal Assault Weapon ban. 

McCauley describes himself as a gun owner and strong supporter of the Second Amendment, but that he would support steps to keep guns out of the hands “troubled individuals.”

Both bring strong resumes from the business world to the campaign. But Houlahan also brings a rare combination of business, non-profit, educational and technical experience — not to mention her time as an Air Force officer.

Republicans have sought to tar that experience — specifically her time as COO of And1, a sports shoe company — because it produced product in China, where workers are often poorly paid. We don’t see the same indignation over President Trump’s ubiquitous red hats, also made in China under the same sort of conditions, nor for the myriad of other products, some sold by large GOP donors that are made in China. Republicans’ selective embrace of socialism and workers rights seems more than slightly hypocritical here.

Lastly, with the excesses of the Trump Administration and what appears to be ongoing aiding and abetting of obstruction of justice by some members of the U.S. House of Representatives (and little more than allegedly angry Tweets from GOP members who disagree), never before has it been more important to elect house members who will serve as a check to the more outlandish actions of the president. We need a Congress that will fulfill its Constitutional duty to  hold the White House accountable. While we have no doubt that Houlahan would do so, we reasonably have doubts whether McCauley — or any Republican, based on the behaviors seen in the last two years — can be trusted to embrace this fundamental duty.

At the end of the day, this is not a difficult choice. Houlahan’s positions are a better match for the largely moderate people of Chester County. Her experience in a wide range of areas will bring much to the halls of Congress badly in need of less insular members. And we can trust her to be an advocate for the people, not a small number of powerful special interest groups.

The Times endorses Chrissy Houlahan for Congress from the Sixth District of Pennsylvania.
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October 15, 2018
DLN
Wolf, Casey stump for Dan Williams in Coatesville

COATESVILLE – With about three weeks left until the midterm elections, Gov. Tom Wolf and U.S. Sen. Bob Casey, both incumbent Democrats seeking re-election this year, spoke at a rally at the New Life in Christ Fellowship church and urged voters to cast ballots for Dan Williams, a Democratic candidate for state representative in the 74th Legislative District, and to support Democratic candidates up and down the ticket.

Wolf said to the gathered crowd of more than 100 people that he was honored to be there to support Williams, and it’s important to elect him to help make change in Harrisburg. Williams, who’s the senior pastor at the church, is running against Republican candidate Amber Little-Turner for the seat being vacated by Republican Rep. Harry Lewis Jr., who decided not to seek re-election.

Wolf said that Harrisburg was broken when he first took office nearly four years ago, but he accomplished goals including expanding Medicaid, funding public education, balancing the state budget, and fighting the opioid crisis. He said Pennsylvania is now doing a lot better than four years ago, but there is still more work to be done.

He said this year’s elections may be the most important in his lifetime, and he encouraged voters to elect candidates like Williams to help keep Pennsylvania moving forward.

“If we make the right choice, we can do great things together,” he said.

Wolf also voiced support for Democratic candidates Katie Muth, a health care provider and professor challenging Republican state Sen. John Rafferty in the 44th Senatorial District, and Chrissy Houlahan, an educator, businesswoman and Air Force veteran running against Republican tax attorney Greg McCauley for Pennsylvania’s 6th Congressional District seat, which is open as Republican U.S. Rep. Ryan Costello is not seeking re-election.

Wolf, who is seeking his second four-year term as governor, is being challenged by Republican Scott Wagner, a former state senator, as well as Libertarian Ken Krawchuk and Green Party candidate Paul Glover.

Casey said protecting people’s access to health care, especially for those with pre-existing conditions, is one of the defining issues in his race for re-election and this year’s midterm elections in general.

Casey quoted the lyrics “We are called to act with justice,” from the hymn “We are called,” to explain how more people are now getting involved in the political process.

He said the hard right and corporate special interests have gained an unprecedented amount of power in the federal government, and they’re obsessed with giving rich people money and taking away people’s health care, but it’s up to voters and candidates to protect basic principles of justice in this country as justice is currently under assault.

Casey said average people like Williams and Houlahan have been called to run for office in a difficult time, and community members have been called to support them in their efforts to work for justice.

He mentioned a quote by Martin Luther King Jr.: “If you want to say that I was a drum major, say that I was a drum major for justice.”

“We have a lot of drum majors for justice in the assemblage here tonight,” Casey said. “We’re gonna work and we’re gonna win.”

Casey, who is seeking his third six-year term in the Senate, is being challenged by Republican U.S. Rep. Lou Barletta as well as Libertarian Dale Kerns Jr. and Green Party candidate Neal Gale.

Williams spoke about his background and said he’s not just a pastor, but also a professor, a parent and a taxpayer. He said it’s important for people of faith to get involved in the political process, and he wants to work to get things done, instead of just complaining from the sidelines.

Williams said it’s important to protect the rights of people who may be forgotten sometimes, such as the poor and senior citizens.

“Often people in power forget that the people who get lost in the debate about the poor are still people,” he said. “Part of what we want to do is move in a direction that doesn’t just lift some, but lifts every single one of us so that we can become contributors to this country, to this community, to this district.”

Williams said the term “working poor” is an oxymoron that should not be present, and there’s something wrong when one person is working three jobs and still struggling to survive.

He said seniors shouldn’t have to worry about being driving out of their homes due to high school property taxes and rising health care costs. He said it’s important to vote for Wolf, Casey, Houlahan and Muth so they can fight for reforms to allow seniors and retirees to live in peace.

Williams said the “war on drugs” has come to be known as the “opioid crisis” as the demographics of drug victims have changed. “We don’t need incarceration, we need treatment,” he said.

State Sen. Andy Dinniman, D-19, said he’s known Williams since the time he was a student in Dinniman’s African-American history class at West Chester University. Dinniman said Williams would question and challenge him, which made him a better professor and they both learned together because of it.

Dinniman said Williams has frequently stood with him on issues affecting the Coatesville community, such as advocating for economic development that benefits everyone and questioning the Coatesville Area School District on parts of its curriculum, as well as urging an end to using the Keystone Exams as a graduation requirement.

Dinniman said Williams will be a great state representative, and in that role he’ll also serve as a teacher for the community.

The midterm elections will be held Tuesday, Nov. 6.     Source

 

October 10, 2018
DLN
Democratic candidates discuss issues at public forum

WEST GOSHEN — Christina Sappey, a candidate running for state representative for the 158th Legislative District, waited until the very end of the program to emphatically state what all five candidates at a forum had voiced earlier, to a lesser degree.

“Vote, vote, vote, vote, vote,” Sappey, a Democrat running against incumbent Republican Rep. Eric Roe, implored an audience of 150, at St. Paul’s Baptist Church, Monday night.

The forum was organized and run by the Chester County League of Women Voters and the West Chester Chapter of the NAACP.

During the 2½-hour forum, five Democratic candidates, all of whom are women, answered questions posed by the audience and event organizers about topics including, health care, water quality, literacy, business taxes and incarceration.

All the candidates in the county were invited. There will be a similar forum with different speakers at St. Paul’s, on Monday, Oct. 15, at 6:30 p.m.

Democratic state Rep. Carolyn Comitta is running against Republican Nick Deminski in the 156th District, and told the attentive audience to vote for people who share their values.

“Your state representative is your last stop from protecting all the people,” Comitta said. “Elect someone who gets it.

“Your vote is your voice.”

Kristine Howard is a Democrat running in the 167th District against incumbent Republican Rep. Duane Milne.

“We need to elect the right legislators,” she said, “We need to take back our power from some extremists.

“This is a really important election.”

Democrat Danielle Friel Otten is facing off against Republican Rep. Becky Corbin in the 155th District.

“Educate yourself about who is on the ballot, vote, and talk to your neighbors,” Friel Otten said.

Sappey said that it all depends on who the public votes for.

“It’s time for us to start electing people who are going to work together,” Sappey said.

Democrat Chrissy Houlahan is facing off against Republican Greg McCauley to fill the seat vacated by Republican U.S. Rep. Ryan Costello in what she said is the “new and improved” 6th Congressional District, referencing a state Supreme Court decision to draw new congressional districts after finding the state’s previous congressional map violated the state constitution due to partisan gerrymandering that favored Republicans over Democrats.

The business owner, MIT graduate, former teacher and veteran, listed health care, decent jobs, a great education and a safe planet as her priorities.

The candidates were asked about “reaching across the aisle.”

Friel Otten suggested that more women should be elected and that politics is not just a Democratic or Republican issue.

“We have the opportunity to look each other in the eye,” she said.

Said Comitta: “It’s all your perspective. It’s about being in this role for the right reason.”

Sappey was a stay-at-home mom and said becoming a state rep is not her dream job.

“You have to enter every conversation knowing that you have to give something up,” she said.

The candidates were asked about incarceration. Howard talked about “super long” prison sentences.

“We had more juvenile lifers than any other state,” Howard said. “We have a very, very harsh justice system in this state and prosecutors hold all the cards.”

The group of candidates talked about supporting small businesses.

Friel Otten said that when manufacturing goes overseas, people on “Main Street” can no longer exist.

“The burden of taxes is on the small business owner,” Friel Otten said. “Close the loopholes (for big businesses) and take the pressure off of small businesses.”

Sappey is a proponent of businesses.

“We need to make it more attractive for businesses to come to Pennsylvania,” Sappey said.

Comitta said that when you buy local, you make an investment in the community.

“For every dollar you spend in a local business, 68 cents goes back into the community,” Comitta said.

Education was also discussed.

“Our municipal government is in a position to choose between the youngest and oldest residents and that is a crime,” Friel Otten said.

Howard favors fair funding for schools.

“We know this is the right thing to do, we have the wrong people,” Howard said.

When asked about the natural gas boom and enacting an extraction tax, Comitta said Pennsylvania is “sitting on a gold mine.

“I’m not against people making a lot of money, but it needs to be done safely and cleanly and (any proposed tax) should be used for kids in schools.”

While Howard said the liquid gases need to be taxed, Friel Otten said that several alternatives should be addressed, such as, creation of siting agencies, oversight of out-of-state companies, and taking any new tax revenue to build renewable energy alternatives.

Sappey reiterated the need to vote for reps supporting the Affordable Care Act.

“Make sure we vote for people who understand how important this issue is — the costs are through the roof,” Sappey said.

St. Paul’s Pastor Wayne E. Croft Sr. welcomed the guests and said he was pleased that the NAACP and League of Women Voters had crafted a platform enabling voters to make informed decisions.

Cassandra Jones, NAACP chair for political action committee, said that the audience was pleased to ask questions, face-to-face.

Pamela Gray, president of the Chester County League of Women Voters appreciated the “very engaged candidates” and the turnout of prospective voters. Source

May 15, 2018
NPR
Democrat Chrissy Houlahan On Pennsylvania’s 6th

NPR’s David Greene talks to Chrissy Houlahan, winner of the (unopposed) Democratic primary in Pennsylvania’s 6th Congressional District, about how she plans to flip the seat in the midterm elections.

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

One big reason President Trump won in 2016 was his success in Pennsylvania. His message about jobs and bringing back struggling industries resonated even with many Democrats. In 2018, if Democrats end up succeeding and taking control of the House, a big reason could be Pennsylvania. The state Supreme Court threw out its congressional map this year, re-drew district lines, and Democrats think they can flip a number of seats. They took some first steps yesterday as Pennsylvania, along with a number of other states, held primaries. And Democrat Chrissy Houlahan won in a district that includes some Philadelphia suburbs as well as the city of Reading. She joins me this morning.

I know you were unopposed, but it’s official now. You’re the candidate. Congratulations.

CHRISSY HOULAHAN: Thank you, thank you, and thank you for having me on today.

GREENE: Yeah, thank you for taking the time. I want to ask you about one of the big themes yesterday. It looks clear now that Pennsylvania is going to have at least one female member of Congress. Both candidates are women in one district – could be more than one in Congress if you win. Now, Pennsylvania’s entire congressional delegation has been men. Politics aside, is there an issue you feel that’s been neglected because of that?

HOULAHAN: So I’m not sure exactly if you’re asking me if there’s an issue with the fact that there are only men in our delegation. I think that’s clearly an issue (laughter). And I’m hopeful that – as you mention – that not just one but maybe several of us will be able to make it through the gauntlet in the fall and be able to break that barrier in Pennsylvania.

GREENE: Is there something that has been neglected because they are men? Do you feel like if there are women serving Pennsylvania that there will be some difference?

HOULAHAN: Well, I think certainly that there are a lot of issues that, I guess, would be considered women’s issues, but I would argue are more likely called family issues that, I think, probably would be better served by having a more diverse delegation in Pennsylvania. But similarly – not just gender-based – we ought to have a delegation that includes people with diverse backgrounds and experiences. And relevant in my case, as an example, I’m also a veteran, and I’m also an engineer. And so I think that in our congressional delegation in Pennsylvania right now, it’s not just that it’s largely men. It’s largely men who are either businessmen or who have been kind of successful in climbing the ranks of politics.

GREENE: Well, let me ask you about politics. Let’s say you have a Pennsylvania voter in your district who backed President Trump – maybe likes the big tax cut, maybe doesn’t like the Affordable Care Act – Obamacare – feels that the president has shown leadership on the world stage. How do you win that person over?

HOULAHAN: So actually, in talking to a lot of people who are, I guess, would be self-described as Republicans or independents, I actually haven’t found a whole lot of people who fit that bill. Most of the folks in my community particularly, who may have voted for President Trump, have now realized that the tax bill that did pass is not necessarily one that is good for them personally, particularly in Pennsylvania. As you probably know, we are one of those state and local tax places. And so that tax bill isn’t particularly good for our community, for property values, for schools and that sort of thing. I think also, increasingly, people have come to, relatively speaking, embrace the Affordable Care Act more certainly than they had in the beginning. They, at least in my conversations with them, would like to see the Affordable Care Act shored up to some degree to make sure that we have affordable care. And so I don’t think that I have personally run into a lot of people who are Republicans or independents who necessarily have that narrative of why they voted for President Trump.

GREENE: Let me ask you – there seems to be a struggle in your party about strategy. I mean, in a special election in Pennsylvania that made a lot of news, Democrat Conor Lamb won after distancing himself from House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi. Do you support Pelosi?

HOULAHAN: Yeah, and so I have a very similar answer to that. I answered that question yesterday. It’s interesting that I only get that question from the press or from media or, you know, from people in Washington, D.C. Again, it’s something that doesn’t really come up in our community at all. It’s something – when we talk about things in our community, it’s jobs. It’s education. It’s making sure that we have affordable health care. And those kinds of decisions, you know, that are sort of inside baseball are not necessarily something that I’m asked on the regular in our community.

GREENE: Chrissy Houlahan is the Democratic candidate for Pennsylvania’s 6th Congressional District. She’ll be running this fall. Thanks so much for joining us.

HOULAHAN: Thank you. I appreciate it very much.

GREENE: Just want to bring in NPR congressional reporter Kelsey Snell who covered all of the races yesterday. Hi, Kelsey.

KELSEY SNELL, BYLINE: Hi, there.

GREENE: Lots of focus on Democrats in Pennsylvania. Interesting there to hear Chrissy Houlahan not give a clear answer about…

SNELL: Yeah.

GREENE: …Nancy Pelosi, saying it doesn’t really come up. But also, I mean, there were Republican races yesterday. If you were President Trump, do you like what you saw yesterday? Do you dislike it? How was he feeling this morning?

SNELL: He’s probably paying the most attention to Congressman Lou Barletta who won the primary to be the Republican candidate for Senate. Trump recorded a robocall for Barletta, and he’s called him a good friend. And we kind of expect that Trump’s going to come out to Pennsylvania and campaign for Barletta, which will bring up the question whether or not Republicans want to associate themselves with the president. It’s going to be an ongoing question that happens throughout the state.

GREENE: That’s NPR congressional reporter Kelsey Snell. Kelsey, thanks.

SNELL: Thank you.
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