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PA-07: Lehigh Valley GOP Congressional Hopefuls Focus on Policy in Debates

PA-07 GOP candidates

The three Republican candidates for the Lehigh Valley’s PA-07 congressional seat met in a pair of debates over the last week.

State Rep. Ryan Mackenzie (R-Lehigh), business owner Kevin Dellicker and attorney Maria Montero came together at the studios of WFMZ-TV for a taping of the station’s show, “Business Matters,” as well as at the Lehighton American Legion Post 314 over the past seven days.

The trio is vying for the GOP nomination and the chance to face Democratic incumbent Susan Wild (D-07) in the fall.

Mackenzie, who has served in Harrisburg since 2012, said he is the only candidate with a proven track record of winning elections. A proponent of America First policies, he defeated his primary opponent, 61-39, in 2022 and was unopposed in the fall.

Dellicker, who ran an unsuccessful campaign for the GOP nomination in 2022, said he was the most qualified candidate in the field. He pointed to his 28-year experience in the military, as well as being the only candidate who has signed a paycheck or dealt with business regulations. “All of these life experiences have given me the relevant skills to tackle the most pressing problems that face our nation,” he said.

Montero pointed to her background as the daughter of a Peruvian immigrant, making her the candidate most capable of connecting with the 55,000 Spanish speakers in the district. “We’ve got to build our party,” Montero said. “Let’s bring ’em on board. They’re pro-America. They care about our country.”


All three candidates identified the increasing number of migrants crossing the southern border as a major problem. All blamed President Joe Biden and Wild for not addressing the problem and agreed that no amnesty should be provided for anyone entering the country illegally. Mackenzie and Montero both called immigration their “top priority,” while Dellicker said his biggest focus would be strengthening the military.

Foreign Affairs

Mackenzie, Dellicker and Montero all back Israel and its continued military campaign against Hamas in Gaza, while agreeing that China is America’s primary enemy. All three candidates agreed Congress should not approve an aid package to Ukraine as the Russian invasion enters its second year.

Domestic Affairs

Not surprisingly, the trio blamed Biden and congressional Democrats, including Wild, for creating runaway inflation with massive spending bills. On the topic of creating jobs and bolstering the economy, Dellicker touted his experience as CEO of his cybersecurity company – Dellicker Strategies – and said the federal government needs to cut spending and focus on lowering interest rates. Montero wants to incentivize natural gas production and called for the extension of the Keystone pipeline. Mackenzie wants to limit business-related laws and regulations.

Reproductive Rights

While not addressing her own personal views on abortion, Montero said she wants “real alternatives for women in situations that want to choose life” and that women’s health care is one of her priorities. Mackenzie stated that he is “pro-life” and wants to reduce the number of abortions that occur in the state. Dellicker agreed with his opponents and went on to criticize Gov. Josh Shapiro and his decision to revoke funding for Real Alternatives – the anti-abortion pregnancy counseling centers.

Climate Change

None of the candidates directly answered a question about their belief if climate change is a “real concern.” Mackenzie said that “the climate has been changing” for millions of years without human intervention, and said the “radical left is overturning our whole economy in the push for their radical climate agenda.” Dellicker called climate intervention policies “a great case of the cure being worse than the disease,” while Montero called for incentivizing natural gas production and said that Pennsylvania has the “cleanest coal production that we’ve had in years.”

Election Integrity

Montero did bring up the fact that Mackenzie, as a state representative, voted for Act 77 that expanded mail-in voting across the state. She said Republicans need to hold those who voted for the law to account. “I don’t think we should be promoting people who voted for it,” Montero said.

The candidates will also debate on Thursday, March 14, in an event sponsored by the Slate Belt Republican Committee to be held in Wind Gap.

2 Responses

  1. So candidates, you identify immigration as a major issue that needs resolved. If you were in Congress RIGHT NOW, would you have supported the bipartisan immigration reform bill that Donald Trump stopped Republicans from supporting?

    1. “Bi partisan”… except for the stuff in there that made it a non starter. Hence it didn’t pass.
      This bill did not solve the problem. Biden can solve the problem by enforcing current border and immigration laws TODAY and stop litigating states for defending the birder themselves.
      The attempts to blame this on Republicans and Trump are so silly.

      That said, anyone who stopped addressing the issue because Trump said to should be beaten publicly.


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