Democrats Will Choose Nominee for US Congress from New 12th District

Democrats Will Choose Nominee for US Congress from New 12th District

by Randy Shannon

February 20, 2012

The April 24th primary election in Pennsylvania will see two incumbent Democrats, Rep. Jason Altmire and Rep. Mark Critz, competing for the Democratic nomination to represent the new 12th District in the 113th United States Congress.

Rep. Mark Critz

Critz has been endorsed by a number of labor unions. The following unions have endorsed Critz:

United Mine Workers

United Steelworkers

Utility Workers Union

Service Employees International Union

United Food and Commercial Workers

Laborers’ District Council of Western PA

Amalgamated Transit Union Local 1279

International Association of Firefighters

United Transportation Union

Plumbers and Pipefitters Local 354

The Steelworkers Organization of Active Retirees (SOAR) and the National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare have also endorsed Critz.

The Johnstown Tribune-Democrat of February 19th quoted Neal Bisno, President of  SEIU Healthcare PA: “Altmire pays far too much attention to the lobbyists and not enough to the working people who elected him.”

Leo W. Gerard, United Steelworkers international president, said in announcing his endorsement of Critz last month that the congressman “has tirelessly fought unfair trade deals and job-killing currency manipulation by China.”

Don Dunlevy, Pennsylvania Legislative Director for the United Transportation Union said: “Working men and women can count on Mark Critz to stand up for them in Washington. UTU is endorsing Mark Critz because he has the strongest record on job creation and fighting for the middle class.”

The Allegheny County Democratic Committee endorsed Altmire by a vote of 122 to 63 on February 12th. Other county Democratic Committees will vote by secret ballot in the coming weeks.

Altmire has released an extensive list of area Democratic elected officials as endorsers on his website. Altmire quoted Monroeville Mayor Greg Erosenko: “Having seen the great work Congressman Altmire has done for his nearby district, I was happy to learn that his new district will now expand into Monroeville. I look forward to working with Jason, and I strongly believe our community will benefit from his leadership.”

Lower Burrell Mayor Don Kinosz said, “I proudly endorse Lower Burrell’s native son, Jason Altmire. He has a proven track record of success and has always been popular here. We are excited that his district will now include Lower Burrell, and I look forward to working with him in the years ahead.”

Altmire has been endorsed by Amalgamated Transit Union Local 85.

Both candidates describe themselves as “conservative” Democrats. Altmire has voted approximately 50% with the Democratic Party while Critz has voted approximately 75% with the Democratic Party. As predicted in a Beaver County Blue article last year, Can the Democratic Party Survive the Blue Dogs, Altmire has shifted to a more conservative voting pattern.

The Republican Congress has introduced many bills to cut essential government program and to undermine social security and medicare. Last May Altmire voted with the Republicans on HB1213 to Repeal and Defund the State Healthcare Exchange program. Critz voted no with 183 other Democrats while Altmire joined 5 Democrats to vote against healthcare.

The Republicans introduced the Balanced Budget Amendment, which would make working people pay for the deficit by cutting Medicare. Altmire voted with 25 Democrats for HJR2 while Critz voted with 161 Democrats against the measure.

The Republicans introduced a bill to block raising the debt ceiling. Altmire voted with 4 Democrats to support HJR77 while Critz vote with 181 Democrats opposing the measure.

In a series of bills designed to bring our troops home from Afghanistan and transfer infrastructure spending from Afghanistan to the United States, Altmire stood with a handful of Democrats in opposition while Critz supported this effort along with the overwhelming majority of Democrats.

As a result of population decline over the last decade Pennsylvania will lose one seat in Congress. The Republican legislature drew much of the old 4th Congressional District into the 12th Congressional District. The redrawn 12th District includes Beaver and parts of Lawrence, Cambria, Somerset, Westmoreland and Allegheny counties.

According to a recent Beaver County Times article by J.D. Prose the new district voters are registered 52% Democratic, 38% Republican and 10% independent. The new district contains more voters from the old 4th District than from the old 12th District.

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