Rick Daugherty, a former chairman of the Lehigh County Democrat Party, has launched his campaign in Pennsylvania’s 15th Congressional District, which in addition to western parts of Lebanon County represents all of Lehigh and portions of Berks, Dauphin and Northampton counties.
Daugherty’s name should be a familiar one to Lebanon County voters, because he was on the ballot in the newly reshaped 15th District four years ago against incumbent Republican Charlie Dent.
After running a grassroots campaign that produced a win in the primary contest against attorney Jackson Eaton, Daugherty was defeated by Dent in the 2012 general election by a 14-point margin.
This time around, Daugherty will have an easier path to the November election, because he is running unopposed in the April 26 primary.
Dent, who is seeking a seventh two-year term, also is running unopposed in the primary.
In a news release issued to coincide with his announcement, Daugherty said his number one priority is to return jobs to the U.S. by ending unfair trade agreements.
“Since the United States granted China Most Favored Nation status as a trading partner in 2001, we have lost millions of jobs and have been flooded by products made in China,” Daugherty said. “This policy has been an economic disaster for many working families. It has to stop now.”
Daugherty said Dent supports trade agreements which cost jobs in America by giving advantages to countries with low-paid employees and lax regulations.
“The North American Free Trade Agreement and giving China Most Favored Nation trade status cost us nearly one-third of our manufacturing jobs and over 80,000 factories closed. Yet my opponent wants even more free trade agreements,” he said.
Daugherty said he favors bipartisan efforts to renegotiate the agreements or levy tariffs to level the playing field.
“This is one issue where I align with the Freedom Caucus of the Republican Party, and I welcome the opportunity to work with them. China has been lying, cheating and stealing from us for 10 years, and we sit back and do nothing,” Daugherty continued. “Congress determines trade policy. It will be my laser focus if elected.”
Director of a Lehigh Valley senior center, Daugherty said he will also fight to strengthen and improve Social Security and Medicare, and opposes Republican-supported voucher plans. He also favors raising the wage cap on Social Security to ensure its solvency and believes seniors should receive annual Cost Of Living Adjustments.
The married father of three grown children also said that student loans are a focus of his campaign. In addition to making college more affordable, he supports allowing students to refinance their student loans and giving them a higher tax deduction for their interest payments.
To learn more about Daugherty, visit his website daughertyforcongress.com.