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PA16: Rep. Kelly and Ron DiNicola Spar in 1st and Possibly Only Debate

On Monday, Rep. Mike Kelly (R-Butler) and Democratic challenger, Ron DiNicola participated in their first and according to Erie News-Now “likely only debate” at Mercyhurst University.

The hour long debate between the candidates for the newly drawn 16th Congressional district included a wide variety of topics that ranged from addressing the economy and touting about being able to work across the aisle when needed.   

The Democratic candidate shared his vision for improving the economic environment in the district.

We need to make sure our workforce has the right training and skills to compete in the new economy and we need to make sure we’re protecting our environment every step of the way,” DiNicola said according to

The Republican incumbent harped on the current state of the economy and having the remedy to fix the nation’s debt.

“It’s the same as in our families right? We’re on a spending, how much money are we making, how much money are we bringing home,” said Kelly, according to “All of a sudden, we get a raise so all of that debt we can pay it down.”

According to Erie News-Now, DiNicola discussed his willingness to work with President Trump and others in the GOP on “issues like tax cuts and the national budget deficit if elected.”

Kelly touted tax reform bill as a factor in moving the district and nation forward. “He spoke to bipartisan work he says he’s already accomplished during his term,” Erie News-Now reported.

Watch the full debate here from C-SPAN.

For further in-depth coverage, here are the links to the debate recap from various news outlets.

Erie Times-News: Kelly, DiNicola face off in Erie debate

Erie News-Now: Tensions flare as DiNicola, Kelly face off in first and likely only debate in Erie Congressman Mike Kelly and Erie native Ron DiNicola face off in a debate

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