Election 2012: Three challengers face Pitts in 16th District

Written by Craig Layne, Morning Edition Host/Reporter | Nov 5, 2012 4:02 AM

(Undated) -- Incumbent Republican Congressman Joe Pitts is defending his seat against three challengers in the newly redrawn 16th district.

The 16th is made up of the majority of Lancaster County, part of Chester County and a sliver of Berks County that includes the City of Reading.

Pitts has held the office since 1997.

He says he wants to see a simplified tax code with fewer loopholes and a path to paying down the country's debts.

He adds his experience in Washington is important.

"It took my 14 years to get enough seniority to become chairman of the (House Energy and Commerce) Health Subcommittee," Pitts says.

Pitts is opposed by Democrat Aryanna Strader.

The small business owner and Iraq War veteran says she sees the importance of social safety net programs.

"If it weren't for programs like food stamps, or the national free lunch program, or even the Pell Grant, I wouldn't be a successful, productive member of society today," Strader says.

She says the economy will grow when people are give the opportunity to improve their lives and move from the welfare system to higher-income jobs.

Independent candidate John Murphy says government programs can also give the economy a leg up by increasing demand for products and services.

"When the government spends money, in terms of investment, to create jobs, people go to work, they pay taxes, the taxes pay down the debt, and people then go to the store and they buy stuff," Murphy says.

Murphy is a former independent management consultant who advocates for more government assistance in health care and education.

He has previously worked on the 2004 presidential campaign of Ralph Nader.

Jim Bednarski is running as a member of his own party.

The Lancaster County businessesman was a spokesman for Congressman Pitts' predecessor, Bob Walker.

Bednarski says he's trying to prove an average American can still run for office by keeping his campaign on a $5,000 budget.

"The campaign funding for one Congressional seat is almost equal to two average American lifetime incomes," Bednarski says. "That just doesn't seem right to me," he says.

Bednarski says the average American lifetime income is about $1.8 million.

The candidates spoke with witf's Craig Layne. Hear their interviews below:

Bednarski for Congress candidate Jim Bednarski:

Independent candidate John Murphy:

Republican Congressman Joe Pitts:

Democratic candidate Aryanna Strader:

Published in Lancaster, News

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