Salisbury Press

Monday, September 16, 2019
Charlie Dent Charlie Dent
Rick Daugherty Rick Daugherty

15TH DISTRICT

Wednesday, October 31, 2012 by KEN PETRINI Special to The Press in Local News

Dent facing challenge Nov. 6 from Daugherty

This year, all Lehigh County residents will vote for the United States Representative from the 15th Congressional District.

Charlie Dent, a Republican, will face Rick Daugherty, a Democrat, in the Nov. 6 contest.

Dent was unopposed in his primary, while Daugherty defeated Jackson Eaton 59 percent to 41 percent.

Dent has progressed through both chambers of the Pennsylvania General Assembly to the United States House of Representatives.

First elected in 2004, Dent has held on to his seat in congress with wide margins in recent years.

Despite being targeted by the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee in 2008 and despite facing a strong challenge from Bethlehem Mayor John Callahan and a Tea Party challenger in 2010, Dent won re-election by double digit margins.

Dent is a life-long Lehigh Valley resident.

Dent and his wife Pamela live in Allentown with their three children, Kathryn, William and Jack.

He is a graduate of William Allen High School and earned a degree in foreign service and international politics from the Pennsylvania State University and a master's degree in public administration from Lehigh University.

Before entering public service, Dent worked as a development officer for Lehigh University, an industrial electronics salesman and an aide to then-Representative Don Ritter.

He served eight years in the Pennsylvania House of Representatives and six years in the State Senate.

Dent's campaign has taken aim at Daugherty for suggesting the federal deficit is a revenue problem rather than a spending problem, highlighting the dichotomy of views as to whether Washington should spend less or tax more.

Asked why he is running for re-election, Dent told The Press "I offer a common sense, growth-oriented approach to the tough challenges that we face in today's uncertain economic times."

He added "I want my children and your children to have the same opportunities for success and a good life that previous generations of Americans have enjoyed."

Dent cites the experience he gained in state and federal government as qualifying him to continue to serve.

He said his experience provides him "with valuable know-how regarding the legislative process."

"As a result, I have been able to deliver results on issues ranging from jobs and the economy, to health care, to law enforcement and homeland security," Dent added.

In Congress, Dent serves on the Appropriations Committee and the Ethics Committee, as well as the Appropriations subcommittees dealing with homeland security, state and foreign operations and transportation, housing and urban development.

Asked about the issues facing the next congress, Dent said "We are facing a long-term debt crisis."

He added "We must control government spending and place the country on a sustainable fiscal path."

Dent, who was recently honored by the National Federation of Independent Business for his support of small business, looks to reduce the tax burdens on small business.

"We are facing a jobs crisis and we need to deal with it by reforming the tax code and relieving the regulatory burden on small businesses," he said.

In an election with pump prices hovering around $4 a gallon for gasoline, Dent noted "We are also in dire need of a national energy policy. Preferably, we need an energy policy that puts an emphasis on maximizing North American energy exploration, development and production."

Daugherty, who grew up in West Bethlehem and attended school in the Catasauqua Area School District before receiving a bachelor's degree in social work from Moravian College, is a long-time party activist.

Asked why he is running for office, Daugherty explained "I have a different opinion than my opponent on a number of key policies."

He added "I believe we need to make dramatic changes in trade policy and military spending and must protect, not eliminate, programs like Medicare that work well."

He claims the plan favored by Rep. Paul Ryan, Mitt Romney's vice-presidential running mate "would eliminate the program and have senior citizens fend for themselves in the private, for-profit insurance market."

Daugherty looks to reform Medicare rather than replace it, saying "we need to improve health outcomes and eliminate fraud in order to reduce costs."

Taking aim at economic policies, Daugherty told The Press, "Policies that hurt our workers and manufacturers, such as unfair trade agreements with China and other nations, are promoted as beneficial."

He added "We need to stop unfair trade agreements that send jobs overseas."

On foreign policy, Daugherty says "Military spending is not directed at our current national security threats and too much of our military spending goes to protect other nations who can protect themselves."

Daugherty, his wife April and their three children Sarah, Eric and Shane currently live in Lowhill Township.

The former district administrator for Congressman Paul McHale, the last Democrat to hold the seat, cited that and 16 years of work at the Lehigh County Senior Center as experience qualifying him for the job.

Daugherty also pledges to impose term limits on himself, limiting his stay in the House of Representatives to five terms.

He also promises to never accept a gift or a free trip.