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Mike Kelly Draws a Challenger

By Keegan Gibson, Managing Editor

Democrat Missa Eaton has jumped into the race against freshman Rep. Mike Kelly. The assistant professor of psychology at Penn State Shenango has been considering a bid for a few weeks, and made it official Thursday morning.

“It’s time for all of us to work hard for recovery, including education for our children, protection of our seniors’ benefits, and the wise use of our natural resources,” she said in a statement. “I will be an independent voice for Western Pennsylvania, standing up to those who would end Medicare as we know it or block middle class tax breaks while fighting to protect tax cuts for Big Oil and billionaires.”

Eaton, 48, is the first challenger on the radar since Ron DiNicola, an attorney and former congressional candidate from Erie, ruled out a run. She lives in Sharon with her husband. She is the President of the Democrat Women of Mercer County.

Though conservative, the area has a history of electing moderates to the seat. Erie Congressman and later Governor Tom Ridge is pro-choice, and former Rep. Phil English was not a Tea Party-style rabble-rouser. In the same way they look at other potential swing districts, Dems see Kelly’s voting record – especially votes to change Medicare – as a liability.

“He’s out of touch with the voters of his current district. He’s not any more in touch with the new district,” Eaton said.

The new PA-3 (light blue border) compared to the old version (shaded in green).

However, Eaton or any Democrat is likely to face an uphill battle against Kelly – especially after redistricting. McCain carried the old third district by a narrow margin: 49 percent to 49 percent. The new district, which shed half of Erie County and absorbed all of Butler, went for McCain 52 percent to 46 percent.

Kelly’s campaign brushed off the news, and said the Congressman is paying attention to his job in DC.

“We won’t be commenting on any potential opponents for next Fall’s campaign beyond we welcome anyone to the race,” said spokesman Brad Moore. “There will be plenty of time for campaigning next Fall but for now Mike’s focus is on aggressively fighting for better jobs and economic growth policies along with reducing the size and scope of federal government to save the country’s financial future for our children and grandchildren.”

Lighting Round:

Eaton is pro-2nd amendment rights.

On abortion, she said:

“I don’t want a situation where the government is involved in doctors office. That should be left to a woman, her doctor, and her family,” she said. “We need to eliminate the demand for abortion,” which, “represents a failure in the system.”

On the health care bill, she says she would not vote to repeal it but is unsure how she would have approached the issue had she been in Congress.

“It promoted insurance companies, but it also did some real good,” she said. She cited the ability of people with pre-existing conditions to obtain coverage, and of young people to stay on their parents’ insurance until age 26.

“We need to look very closely at how it affects small businesses and improve any parts of it that kills jobs,” she said.

Here is Eaton’s full press release:

Missa Eaton To Run for Pennsylvania’s 3rd Congressional District

Missa Eaton, a resident of Mercer County and Assistant Professor of Psychology at Penn State Shenango, announced her bid for Pennsylvania’s 3rd Congressional District today.  Eaton has made a career out of helping others fight to overcome tough economic times and find good-paying jobs.

“I have seen first-hand the effect of the recession on people in Northwestern Pennsylvania.  My students struggle to locate good-paying jobs in their fields.  Seniors struggle with the choice between their medicines and their living expenses.  Our small businesses need economic development support to survive and thrive,” said Eaton.  “I’m running for Congress because the people of the 3rd District of Pennsylvania deserve a representative in Washington, DC who will keep their real interests at the forefront.”

Eaton continued,  “It’s time for all of us to work hard for recovery, including education for our children, protection of our seniors’ benefits, and the wise use of our natural resources.   I will be an independent voice for Western Pennsylvania, standing up to those who would end Medicare as we know it or block middle class tax breaks while fighting to protect tax cuts for Big Oil and billionaires.  It’s time to fix our broken Congress and get back to work rebuilding our economy.”

About Missa

Missa Eaton has been working in education for more than 15 years, and is currently an Assistant Professor of Psychology at Penn State Shenango.

Earlier in her career, Mrs. Eaton worked in a wide range of roles including retail and real estate, giving her a well-rounded base of experience.  Mrs. Eaton grew up in a blue collar family and has spent her career helping students retrain and rebuild their skill sets so they are better equipped to find good-paying jobs in a tough economy.  Missa’s father worked in a meat packing plant until joining the army and deploying to Vietnam. After serving in Vietnam, he returned home to work as a bus driver and a leader in both his union and local VFW.  Mrs. Eaton’s mother worked as a secretary to ensure that Missa got the best education.  Her grandparents were farmers and house painters.  The examples that Missa’s parents and grandparents set taught her the same work ethic and family values that make Western Pennsylvania strong.

Missa Eaton, 48, currently lives in Sharon with her husband John.  Missa’s daughter, Kalie Trueper, is 25.

10 Responses

  1. I do not make political contributions over
    the internet but will consider it by mail with a
    good mailing address. I would very much like to get rid of Mike Kelly. However I’m very
    concerned that your district has been gerry-
    mandered such that it won’t be competitve.
    Can you produce a Gallup, Purple Strategies, PPP, or Rasmussen poll to show
    that you have a competitive race?

  2. Ah, Jim. The quintessential summer-travelling, hippy douche. If all Republicans come from unmarried parents, why do most African Americans vote Democrat? Oh, and if pulling an ID out is such an inconvenience for you, so is pulling out your debit or credit card to make a purchase in a store. Thats all the work it takes….Oh, but again, you’re a proud Democrat, so work really is a 4-letter word for you, huh?

  3. To BenjaminWP: Yeah, the daughter of a bus driver is a real elitist. Shilling for the Republicans and Newt, are you?

  4. Reply to Shiri Meckley: Thanks for the offer Shiri but I have solved the problem. We are planning to spend our summers (Mid-May – September.) in our motor home in Oregon/Washington area which are both heavy Democrat states with great folks. I’d take you up on the free ride to PA if I was qualified to be a Republican. I do not qualify to join with Republicans however because my parents were married when I was conceived and born.

  5. Reply to Jim Debton,
    I’m sure we could come up with monies to get you out of Texas ASAP…If you dont like it, leave..Leave your info and maybe we could even get you a ride to the airport with a one way ticket to that wonderful state of PA..

  6. BenjaminWP: I bet you didn’t learn that language in church.

    Shame on you for disparaging such a lovely, intelligent, good-hearted woman.

    You’ll have to answer for your sins.

  7. what a breath of fresh air. very refreshing. could certainly use a voice like that in the 7th CD.

  8. Boy I wish you lived in Texas. All we have here is right wing Bush/Perry types. Life is very restrictive here. They have even passed a law you have to show a government issued picture ID to vote even if you have been here and voted all your life—-which I have. Good luck to you and if the people there want to turn their state republican have them spend their vacation here in Texas. You will win hands down. For a party that says they want to get government out of our lives they do just the opposite. We teach abstinence for sex education so we lead the nation in teen pregnancies. We also lead the nation in high school drop outs because of teen pregnancies. Now they want to stop all abortions and birth control pills here. Go girl and let the people know about that party.

  9. Awesome! It’s time for a representative who works for all the people, not just the privileged.

    Go, Missa!!

  • Understanding that basic education funding should/will be first, what should be the next highest priority for the General Assembly?

    • Raising The Minimum Wage (25%)
    • Legalizing Adult-Use Marijuana (24%)
    • None of the above. Something Else. (20%)
    • Economic Development (14%)
    • Higher Education (8%)
    • Public Transportation (8%)
    • Workforce Opportunities and Innovation (2%)

    Total Voters: 51

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