Setting up a generational battle, Democrat Preston Nouri officially kicked off his campaign for the 16th Congressional District seat held by Republican Mike Kelly.
The 24-year-old Nouri is a legislative analyst for the U.S. Department of Defense. The 75-year-old Kelly is in his seventh term in Washington and announced his plans to seek another two years back in August.
Nouri will turn 25 in February, meeting the minimum age requirement to serve in the House of Representatives. He would join Rep. Maxwell Frost (D-Fla.) as a member of Generation Z serving in the House. Frost became the first to do so with his historic election in 2022.
An Erie native, he graduated from the University of Pittsburgh and worked as a student with the Pittsburgh Department of City Planning’s Americans with Disabilities Act Office, the Erie County District Attorney’s office, and the Muslim Public Affairs Council, where he completed a public policy fellowship.
After graduation, Nouri served as a House legislative intern in Washington, a security specialist for the Department of State, a program administrator for Partnership for a Secure America, and currently is a legislative analyst for the Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition & Sustainment.
He raised nearly $115,000 in the last quarter for his campaign and has nearly $68,000 in the bank. That pales in relation to Kelly’s $543,000 haul and $1.23 million cash on hand.
“I know the road ahead of us won’t be easy to navigate,” Nouri told the Erie Times-News. “I know Mike Kelly will have all the special interest money he wants to run his campaign.
“But, I know that we can win in November 2024 because the people of Western Pennsylvania want a congressman who will put the future of this district before the future of their billionaire friends,” he continued, “someone who will put people first, someone who will work to grow the middle class, and someone who will make sure young people can move in down the street with the future they deserve.”
“Erie is my home, and I want to take care of my home and all communities across Western Pennsylvania,” he says on his website. “For too long, our region has been left behind by politicians who focus on padding their own pockets and working for the special interests. Seeing the lack of leadership in Congress for our communities made me decide to step up and run for Congress. If elected, I will work tirelessly to ensure good public education, opportunities to expand career opportunities and skill sets through technical programs and apprenticeships, and comprehensive and accessible health care.”
The 16th District includes all of Erie, Crawford, Lawrence, Mercer and Butler counties and the western portion of Venango County.