(l. to r.) Chris Deluzio, Sean Meloy, Jeremy Shaffer, Jason Killmeyer, Kathy Coder
Lost in the furor of the chase for the Democratic nomination for the U.S. Senate seat vacated by the retiring Pat Toomey is that one of the candidates – Conor Lamb – is vacating his 17th Congressional seat to run for the Senate.
There are five candidates vying for Lamb’s seat – three on the Republican side and two for the Democrats. And while the neighboring 12th District may be solidly blue and drawing attention from Pittsburgh, the 17th is considered a toss-up and may make more of a difference on a national level.
The 17th District includes Beaver County and parts of Butler and Allegheny counties.
Let’s take a look at the GOP’s three candidates.
Kathy “Kozak” Coder
Coder, 62, of Ben Avon, is a community leader and business owner who grew up in Beaver County. She has served as a Bellevue Councilwoman and a member of the Allegheny County Republican State Committee.
- Fight to bring more jobs and economic growth to our district by limiting government overreach and regulation.
- Support policies that prioritize domestic energy production.
- Believe that common sense includes enforcing the gun laws we already have and closing problematic loopholes
- Always been pro-life, and I am for all life
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Killmeyer, 39, of Mt. Lebanon, is a national security expert with a special focus on supply chains and emerging technology. He graduated from Penn State and received a master’s degree from American University. A self-proclaimed constitutional conservative, Killmeyer founded FreeWork, a Pittsburgh-based non-profit dedicated to providing audio/video equipment to after-school programs.
- We will secure the border, protect the jobs of American workers, and restore American sovereignty
- Embrace an expanded definition of the Domestic Foundry. Semiconductor and chip manufacturing, rare earth metals, sensitive medical equipment, and other things simply should be made at home
- Abortion is not about gender equality, in fact the majority of aborted babies are girls. It’s about a radical, and fading, brand of feminism that rejected the nuclear family in the first place.
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Shaffer, 45, of Gibsonia, co-founded a business committed to improving the area’s crumbling roads and bridges. He has a bachelor’s degree from Tulane, a master’s from North Carolina and a Ph.D. from Carnegie Mellon. Shaffer is a former Ross Township commissioner.
- Infrastructure is critical to fostering greater economic growth and prosperity for Western Pennsylvania and the country
- A competitive free-market economy is the best way to drive down prices and provide opportunities. The federal government needs to get out of the way and enable businesses to thrive
- I will work hard to remove divisive policies that are based on race or ethnic group
- I believe that all life, born and unborn, must be protected. In Congress, I will advocate for the rights of the unborn and fight against legislation that allows taxpayer dollars to fund abortions.
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On the Democratic side …
Deluzio, 37, of Shadyside, is a voting rights attorney who is a Pittsburgh-area native and an Iraq war veteran. He graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy, serving as an active-duty surface warfare officer and was deployed overseas three times. After returning from Iraq, he received his law degree from Georgetown and clerked for a federal judge. Deluzio worked for the Brennan Center for Justice on the Voting Rights and Election Security teams. Now with Pitt Cyber, he has focused on voting rights, election security, and the intersection of technology and civil rights.
- Support legislation like the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act and the Freedom to Vote Act, and the need to overturn the Supreme Court’s disastrous ruling in Citizens United
- Willing to bolster antitrust enforcement, and support efforts in Congress and the Biden administration’s plans
- Bring back strong union jobs to make things here once again.
- Invest in the clean energy sources of the future, protecting and creating union jobs in places like western Pennsylvania
- Health care is a human right and will work hard to expand Medicare to achieve universal coverage for all Americans.
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Meloy, 34, of Morningside, graduated from Penn State in 2009. An Eagle Scout, he started the Young Democrats club at Hampton High School. He has long been a local and national Democratic organizer, working for congressman Mike Doyle and serving on the Allegheny County Democratic Committee. Meloy would be the first openly gay member of Congress from the Commonwealth. He also has a background as a policy advocate for broadband expansion, consumer protection, and holding corporations and special interests accountable.
- Universal preschool and basic child care programs are needed to help make sure we have students that are succeeding and on track to enter the workforce, attend higher education, community college or trade school, and pursue their dreams.
- Take the money and access to power out of our politics so real people can be the ones making decisions that will help everyone
- Fight hard to make sure workers have the right to organize and will support legislation that enshrines this in law, which is why I support the PRO Act.
- We have to strengthen the Affordable Care Act, reinstate the individual mandate which mitigates risk, and expand our support of insurance exchanges and work towards a public option
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