A friendly reminder that we have a special election May 21st to fill retiring Rep. Tom Marino’s (R. PA-12) seat. The special election pits State Rep. Fred Keller (R. PA-12) against Penn State faculty member, Marc Friedenberg (D. PA-12). The 12th district is a pretty red district but it’s also in Penn State area with a lot of college students and Friedenberg is running on a pretty progressive agenda to help motivate voters to come out to the polls. One of the biggest progressive issues Friedenberg is running on is health care and he has come out in support of Medicare For All:
The issues with healthcare that residents face are reasons why he supports the Affordable Care Act (ACA).
“I’d even go further,” he said of his support. “I believe the ACA is under attack. It was originally built like a stool with three components to it: no ban on coverage for folks with pre-existing conditions, subsidies for people who can’t afford it and the individual mandate.”
The individual mandate was repealed in 2017 by the Trump Administration as part of their efforts to repeal the ACA, also known as Obamacare.
“This seems like a good thing, not being forced to have insurance,” he said. “But the whole thing was designed together so that everyone could get subsidies so they can get coverage and get treatment for things they wouldn’t have otherwise.”
So what are the options for someone without healthcare?
“Well you could go to the ER,” he referenced what some may say. But that only works for those with non-chronic conditions.
“If you have cancer or some kind of chronic condition that’s not going to help you and we all pay for that in time,” Friedenberg said.
“I think the biggest stat is that the for-profit insurance that we have now is really based upon a propped up 31 percent overhead,” he said. “Medicare has only about three percent overhead and isn’t run by profits. I think that’s where the government can step in most, where the market has failed, and I think the market has failed, because everyone is going to eventually get sick and we’re all going to die.”
Friedenberg made it clear where he stands on the issue.
“I support Medicare for all … a single payer system where the government is the single payer that will pay for insurance for every American,” he said.
He has also been campaigning on the Green New Deal. Here’s an e-mail I’ve received from his campaign:
I believe that clean air and water are a right for all human beings. I accept the scientific consensus that climate change poses a threat to our future on this planet, and that’s something I think about every day when I look at my two little girls.
We don’t have any time to waste in tackling this crisis. We must elect leaders who understand the emergency at hand AND understand that the environmental challenges we face here in our district present us with a great opportunity to join the next energy revolution.
Will you add your name to this petition in support of the Green New Deal? We have an unprecedented chance to invest in clean energy jobs and transform our economy, but we need to come together to make it happen.
The Green New Deal calls on the United States to move away from fossil fuels and switch to 100% renewable energy sources in order to curb planet-warming greenhouse gas emissions, with the ultimate goal of avoiding the worst consequences of climate change.
I am proud to support this bold plan, and I’m ready to get to work in Congress to bring clean energy jobs to PA-12 and ensure our community has clear air to breathe and clean water to drink.
As a technology expert and professor at Penn State, I know that we can overcome this great challenge and make sure Pennsylvania isn’t lagging behind the rest of the country on green jobs. I will put people to work building up our renewable energy infrastructure in wind and solar. If we commit to a future focused on clean energy, we can hire the army of manufacturing professionals, construction workers, and equipment operators we’ll need to maintain it.
We must ensure we leave future generations a healthy, prosperous planet.
Thanks for speaking out,
While Friedenberg lost to Marino in 2018, he’s pitching himself as the more progressive version of Conor Lamb (D. PA-17):
He explained his excitement in being the Democratic nominee again and wants to focus on Medicare for All and the Green New Deal, among other policy initiatives.
“I’m honored to have the party’s endorsement, and to have the chance to speak with voters about issues like Medicare for All and the Green New Deal,” Friedenberg said in a statement. “This special election gives us an opportunity to make sure that every voice is heard.”
Despite being unsuccessful in his previous run, Pennsylvania Democratic Party Chairwoman Nancy Patton Mills expressed her confidence in Friedenberg this time around and tied his candidacy to Rep. Conor Lamb’s (D-Allegheny) upset special election victory last March.
“Marc ran a great campaign against a deeply-entrenched incumbent in 2018, and we are confident that he will take his experience from last year and translate it into success this year. Republicans should not take this seat for granted,” she said in a statement. “PA-12 deserves a congressman like Marc, who will fight the opioid epidemic and defend working Pennsylvanians. Like we did with Conor Lamb, we are going to fight for every vote in every district and ensure that Marc will be victorious on May 21st.”
And he’s going after his GOP opponent on health care:
Marc’s opponent Fred Keller is painting himself as a defender of health care and Social Security.
But we’re not fooled.
When asked by the Sunbury Daily Item’s editorial board whether he would cut health insurance and Social Security benefits, Keller claimed that he would never “advocate for touching any of the benefits that are in place.”
Yet he has a long history of doing just that.
In 2012 Keller wrote a letter urging then-Governor Corbett to “opt out of the Medicaid provision of the ACA,” which meant passing up billions in dollars in funding and leaving almost 800,000 Pennsylvanians without health insurance.
When asked about the corporate tax cuts that were given to the wealthiest Americans and corporations in 2017, Keller defended the corporate tax cuts even though their costs are now being used by his party as the rationale to cut Social Security benefits.
It’s clear that despite his claims to the contrary, Keller will destroy Social Security, roll back Medicaid expansion, and eliminate the health care options that hundreds of thousands of Pennsylvanians utilize every day for their health care.
Marc got his start as an activist fighting cuts to the Affordable Care Act. He will never back down from this fight in Congress.
— Claire Gray
Campaign Manager, Team Friedenberg
Who is endorsed by Trump:
Did you see this? Donald Trump is all in for Fred Keller.
Marc ran away with a huge victory in last night’s debate – so much so, it looks like the GOP is calling in reinforcements to prop up their candidate.
This much is clear: Fred Keller is in lockstep with the most fringe elements of his party. He wants to destroy Social Security, kick millions of families off their health insurance, and toss worker rights out the window. He will work hand-in-hand with the forces that want to harm the middle class in favor of a corporatist agenda.
Thanks for your support,
— Team Friedenberg
And Friedenberg has been hitting the airwaves getting his message across:
So let’s sign up to help him get out the vote:
We are 12 days from Special Election Day.
Talking to voters on the phone and at front doors is the absolute best way to make sure they get out to vote. Can you sign up to help us get out the vote for Marc in these final weeks?
Can’t make it out to PA-12? You can make phone calls from home! All you need is a phone and a tablet or computer.
It might seem scary or annoying, but our volunteers tell us that it’s easier than you think, and a rewarding way to make a difference, instead of just reading the news and getting mad.
Elections like this one are vitally important to our democracy, and there are lots of great ways you can do your part — whether talking to your neighbors, joining a phone bank, or knocking doors. Everybody can help out! Learn more about our volunteer options and sign up to join us here >>
To spread Marc’s message and win on May 21st, we will need to reach thousands of voters — one door, one call, and one conversation at a time.
See you out there,
— Josh Levin
Field Director, Team Friedenberg
P.S. Can't make it? Consider pitching in to support the team and fuel us through Election Day! »