Upd8: Fitzpatrick/Strouse race hits the airwaves

The Americans for Responsible Solutions Political Action Committee is airing a 30-second television ad titled “Not Afraid To Lead” that highlights U.S. Rep. Mike Fitzpatrick’s bipartisan leadership on proposals that would help make communities safer from gun violence.

In the meantime, Democratic challenger Kevin Strouse is also on the air with an ad.

In January 2011, a mentally ill young man shot Arizona Democratic Rep. Gabby Giffords in the head, killed six of her constituents and wounded 12 others. Giffords and her husband, astronaut Mark Kelly, launched Americans for Responsible Solutions to encourage elected officials to stand up for solutions to prevent gun violence and protect responsible gun ownership.
Fitzpatrick co-sponsored bipartisan legislation authored by Democratic Rep.

Mike Thompson of California and Republican Rep. Peter King of New York that would have expanded background checks for gun purchases online and at guns shows, and strengthened reporting to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System.

ARS PAC also announced the findings of recent research in the 8th Congressional District showing that Fitzpatrick’s support for gun violence prevention policies reflects the views and values of voters in the traditional swing district.

The survey also gave Fitzpatrick a lead of 60 percent to 30 percent over Strouse.

”We need more bipartisan leaders like Mike Fitzpatrick in Congress – leaders who aren’t afraid to stand up to powerful special interests and to stand up for commonsense solutions to gun violence,” said Hayley Zachary, executive director of Americans for Responsible Solutions. ”By reaching across the aisle to cosponsor legislation to close loopholes on gun sales, Congressman Fitzpatrick was not only showing some leadership, but reflecting the reasonable views of his constituents.”

Fitzpatrick is serving his third term in the House of Representatives. The 8th district includes all of Bucks County and a portion of Montgomery County.

Strouse, a former CIA counterterrorism analyst who lives in Middletown, debuted a commercial showing him with his wife and two young children. The family read a book, visited a playground and bought treats at Rita’s Water Ice.

In the ad, Strouse says, “We’re all tired of politics. We just want what’s best for our kids. It’s why I work at an education nonprofit. As an Army Ranger in Iraq and Afghanistan, it was about getting the job done. Congress should do theirs – help small business and improve education. If they don’t pass a budget, they shouldn’t get paid. And let’s ban politicians from becoming lobbyists — permanently. So Washington works for us, and we can rebuild the middle class.”


Strouse is criticizing Fitzpatrick for failing to support access to higher education by supporting a budget that would freeze Pell Grant funding.

The challenger said, “Congressman Fitzpatrick continues to fail the middle-class families of the 8th district. Unfortunately, my opponent’s destructive actions will make higher education less and less attainable to his constituents. Ultimately, Mike Fitzpatrick would rather protect tax breaks for big oil companies than give every 8th district student a fair shot at
higher education.”


Strouse last week highlighted the importance of the Violence Against Women Act on the 20th anniversary of its signing.

The candidate said, “The Violence Against Women Act has helped our country make great strides to protect women and hold offenders accountable. Unfortunately, this Republican Congress is so dysfunctional that it made the reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act a complete debacle. We must take the necessary steps to continue to make progress to improve women’s health care and cut through the rape kit backlog.”

The Violence Against Women Act was passed in response to the need for a comprehensive federal strategy to stem the tide of violence. Since its passage, domestic violence rates have fallen dramatically.


Strouse is taking issue with Fitzpatrick’s claim that he worked to stop the government shutdown of 2013.

“Eighth district voters deserve a pledge from Congressman Fitzpatrick to not repeat the same shutdown disaster that he brought us through last year. We deserve better than a Congress that forces our country to live from budget crisis to budget crisis. It’s time for entrenched Washington politicians like my opponent to finally put people before politics,” he said.


Meanwhile, Fitzpatrick was among more than three-dozen House members who came together to introduce the James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Reauthorization Act.

The bill’s two critical programs providing medical treatment and compensation for 9/11 heroes – the World Trade Center Health Program and the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund – are set to expire in October 2015 and October 2016, respectively. The bill introduced this week would continue these programs for 25 more years, through 2041.


Fitzpatrick introduced legislation last week that reinstates access to employment and job training services for veterans.

The Protect Vets Act, introduced by Fitzpatrick in the House and Sens. Pat Toomey and Joe Manchin in the Senate, would overturn an April Department of Labor decision to deny 70 percent of veterans, including some who are disabled, access to employment coaches.

“At a time when our veterans’ faith in the promises made to them is at an all-time low, the federal government should be strengthening its commitments to veterans – not restricting access and minimizing services to help them get ahead,” Fitzpatrick said.

“Post-9/11 veteran unemployment was over 8 percent in August – well higher than the nationwide number. It’s unbelievable that we need the Protect Vets Act to ensure our veterans get the career services they’ve earned – but that’s what we must do.”

The Protect Vets Act is endorsed by the American Legion, Vietnam Veterans of America, AmVets, Paralyzed Veterans of America and Iraq Afghanistan Veterans of America.


Fitzpatrick met with dozens of members of Congress, state and local officials and business leaders last week to kick-off No Labels’ yearlong process of establishing a national strategic agenda.

“Now more than ever, it’s critical that our nation sees there is more that brings us together than separates us,” Fitzpatrick said. “Establishing a bipartisan governing vision that puts people and policy above politics shouldn’t be a red or a blue goal – it should be an American goal.”

The Sept. 17 meeting was the first step toward developing a comprehensive policy document – with input from people across America – that builds support around four objectives:

Create 25 million new jobs over the next 10 years;
Balance the federal budget by 2030;
Secure Medicare and Social Security for the next 75 years;
Make America energy secure by 2024.

“Washington has become too complacent and too accepting of gridlock as the natural order of things. It’s not,” said Jon Huntsman, co-chairman of No Labels and a former Utah governor and presidential candidate. “The National Strategic Agenda is a big idea, and it’s simply the right idea at the right time. It directly involves citizens in the process and will help our nation’s leaders rediscover the lost art of policymaking.”


Legislation introduced by Fitzpatrick aimed at encouraging economic growth for small businesses passed the House last week.

The Promoting Job Creation and Reducing Small Business Burdens Act includes 11 bills that make it easier for small businesses to grow and hire.
“American workers and workplaces need legislation that empowers them to succeed

and create a healthy economy. Too often, what comes out of Washington are more regulations, higher taxes and heavier burdens that hold Americans back,” Fitzpatrick said. “This package of bills represents a common-sense, bipartisan plan to cut red tape and give businesses the flexibility they need to create better jobs and more opportunity. I hope the Senate acts quickly on this legislation in the same bipartisan fashion it passed the House.”

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