By Tom Waring
Wire Staff Writer
Shaughnessy Naughton and Kevin Strouse, the two Democrats running in the 8th Congressional District, both announced endorsements from local leaders last week.
Meanwhile, Naughton labeled Republican U.S. Rep. Mike Fitzpatrick as part of the “politics-as-usual” crowd in Washington, D.C.
Fitzpatrick continued his push for passage of a bill he’s sponsoring that would help veterans earn jobs rebuilding the nation’s infrastructure. He also expressed concern over a report showing the negative impacts of Obamacare. And he criticized the Senate Judiciary Committee for approving the nomination of a lawyer who once worked for a convicted cop killer for a top post in the Department of Justice.
Naughton is arguing that Fitzpatrick is attempting to rebrand himself in an election year, that he wants to put distance between himself and his party by emphasizing his membership in the “No Labels” caucus as a sign of his willingness to negotiate across party lines.
“He may not want a label but one that fits him is ‘career politician,’ ” Naughton said of Fitzpatrick, who spent 10 years as a Bucks County commissioner and is seeking his fourth term in Congress. “Voters in the 8th District won’t be duped by a wolf in sheep’s clothing.”
Naughton blames Fitzpatrick and other Republicans for last year’s government shutdown that took $24 billion out of the U.S. economy. And she supports a minimum wage increase to help the middle class.
The candidate, a publishing company owner and former scientist, labels herself a “Washington outsider” who wants to end the partisan gridlock of Congress.
The district consists of all of Bucks County and a portion of Montgomery County.
Naughton announced that 40 local officials from Bucks and Montgomery counties are backing her candidacy.
“I’m endorsing Shaughnessy because she will be a fierce advocate for continued investment in this country’s youth and future,” said Bob Harvie, a Falls Township supervisor. “As an educator, I know how important it is to have a true advocate for education at the highest levels of government. Shaughnessy Naughton’s commitment to investing in the future is a breath of fresh air during a time when education funding too often takes a back seat to special interests and pork barrel spending. I believe in Shaughnessy Naughton’s vision for education reform because she knows that we can’t cut education funding and expect to get ahead.”
Harvie is part of a group that consists of committee people, school board officials and township supervisors.
“I feel incredibly fortunate to have earned the trust of these local leaders,” Naughton said. “These endorsements stand as a testament to the need for new leadership in Bucks and Montgomery counties. When I get to Washington, I’ll work hard for the issues that mean the most to my neighbors. I promise to push for further investment in education, infrastructure and technology following the belief that we cannot cut our way to prosperity.”
Earlier, 20 other local officials endorsed Naughton, who promises that she’ll deliver results, not excuses and empty promises.
“Naughton has shown through her ability to run her family’s small business that she knows how to navigate a tough economic climate,” said Joyce Hadley, vice chairwoman of the Bensalem Democratic Organization. “She’s a proven job creator who is in touch with the problems that the 8th District’s middle class are facing, and if elected she’ll take her business acumen to the Capitol. Her plan for economic growth is both progressive but pragmatic, and I’m proud to say I back her for the 8th District. It’s time to elect someone to Congress who can actually balance a checkbook rather than attempt to hold the country hostage with a government shutdown.”
Naughton has also previously received the backing of EMILY’s List, Women’s Campaign Fund, Iron Workers Local 401 and the Women Under Forty, Tri-State Maxed-Out Women’s, Democratic Advancement and Progressive Kick political action committees.
Strouse picked up backing from 18 Bucks County leaders, including school board members.
John Palmer, a member of the Pennsbury School Board, cited Strouse’s commitment to public service and his emphasis on early childhood education.
“Kevin Strouse has what it takes to go toe-to-toe with Congressman Fitzpatrick next fall and win,” he said. “Bucks County needs a representative like Kevin, with a dedicated career in public service, who will go to Washington to fight for jobs and affordable, quality education for Pennsylvania’s working families.”
Stephen Seufert, a committeeman in Falls Township, pointed to Strouse’s combat experience in Iraq and Afghanistan.
“Kevin Strouse has the leadership ability required to be our representative in the 8th District,” he said. “Time and again, Kevin has displayed a level of openness and sincerity that’s rare in today’s divisive political climate. Kevin fought honorably for his country overseas. I have no doubt he’ll do it again here at home.”
The Strouse campaign considers him the “clear frontrunner” in the primary, thanks to his $470,000 cash on hand.
Earlier, Strouse was endorsed by Bucks County Commissioner Diane Marseglia, state Rep. Tina Davis and a half-dozen labor unions.
A married father of two, he is a former U.S. Army Ranger and CIA officer.
Fitzpatrick knocked the Senate Judiciary Committee for voting to approve the nomination of lawyer Debo Adegbile to lead the justice department’s Civil Rights Division. Adegbile helped defend Mumia Abu-Jamal, convicted of the 1981 murder of Philadelphia Police Officer Daniel Faulkner.
The Fraternal Order of Police and U.S. Sen. Pat Toomey oppose the nomination. The committee’s 10 Democrats voted for Adegbile. The eight Republicans opposed him.
“The Senate Judiciary Committee’s decision to disregard the valid concerns of a bipartisan group of lawmakers, police groups and the family of a fallen police officer is nothing short of disturbing,” Fitzpatrick said. “Furthermore, the widow of Officer Faulkner was not offered an opportunity to testify before the committee. By approving the nomination of Mr. Adegbile, the committee is working in direct opposition of the brave men and women they task to uphold the nation’s laws — from the Fraternal Order of Police to rank and file officers. I could not be more disappointed with the committee’s vote — but the fight goes on. I will work with Sen. Toomey, other like-minded lawmakers and law enforcement groups to urge members of the Senate to consider the serious concerns with Mr. Adegbile’s record before voting on his confirmation.”
On other issues, Fitzpatrick labeled the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office’s report on Obamacare, “shocking.” The report showed Obamacare will slow economic growth over the next decade, costing the nation almost 2.5 million jobs and adding $1 trillion to projected deficits.
“From being told, ‘You can keep your plan,’ to hearing, ‘It will lower the deficit,’ American families and the American economy are paying the price,” he said.
Fitzpatrick also reiterated his call for the Obama administration to support his Fairness to Veterans for Infrastructure Investment Act, which would provide thousands of veterans and veteran-owned businesses with access to existing contracting preferences authorized for federal transportation projects. The American Legion backs the bill.