Tonight, we continue our look at the candidates running for office in the upcoming mid-term elections. Focus today on the race for the US Representative seat in the 16th District, formerly the 3rd District.
Republican Incumbent Mike Kelly faces democratic challenger Ron DiNicola. Reporter Sara Bonadies talked to the congressman to find out what it’s been like to represent Pennsylvania’s 3rd District over the past seven years.
The halls are quiet on the hill with the House in summer recess. How did Congressman Kelly get here in the first place? It all started with cars. He tells us, “The government had decided, ‘no, you’re not going to be a Cadillac dealer.'”
In 2009, General Motors was restructuring after a government bail-out. In the process, GM told some dealerships, including one of Kelly’s, they could no longer sell certain product lines. “I had an opportunity to go fight it and I did and I won the case; I got to maintain the Cadillac franchise.”
Through arbitration, Kelly was able to keep the dealership that his father founded in the 50’s.
“If you don’t like what’s going on, you got to run for office and try to change it. So I did.”
Kelly was sworn into office in January 2011; a period that history shows was defined by gridlock. “Those first couple of terms were really difficult and frustrating.”
But, when President Donald Trump was elected, things changed.
“We’ve got so much going on right now… With President Trump in the White House, we are actually able to get these bills through the process to the White House and get them signed into law.” Legislation like the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act that Kelly pushed for as a member of the House Ways and Means Committee.
“It’s a lengthy process, it takes a lot of people in addition to oneself.”
But, Kelly says, he doesn’t let the slow pace keep him from moving forward. “Man, I get up in the morning, I go to mass, and I run to work.”
His favorite part of being a Congressman isn’t just pushing legislation or speaking on the House floor. “It’s meeting with people… and hearing from them a really honest evaluation of what’s bothering them and where changes should be made. And, my job is to represent them.”
Representative Kelly returns after Labor Day, along with the rest of Congress with only 19 Congressional work days before November.
–Sara Bonadies, JET 24 Action News