CaptureIt’s official.

Rick Daugherty announced his bid to once again challenge Republican U.S. Rep. Charlie Dent for his seat in Congress.”I had to run – the issues are too serious and the stakes are too high,” the Lehigh County Democrat said in a phone interview a few hours before kicking off his campaign at the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local Union 375 headquarters in Allentown. – See more at:


Daugherty, who lost to Dent by 14 points in the 2012 general election, is hoping the outcome will be different the second time around.He knows it will not be easy.The 15th Congressional District – which includes all of Lehigh County and parts of Berks, Dauphin, Lebanon and Northampton counties – has been redrawn since then to provide Dent with a district that leans Republican. The new boundaries will make it challenging for any Democrat to win back a district that used to swing between the two parties.But Daugherty, who is running unopposed in the Democratic primary, said his message is bigger than party affiliation.The 55-year-old has made strengthening trade restrictions the cornerstone of his campaign, arguing that disastrous trade policies with China and Mexico have caused a steep decline in manufacturing as a result of companies moving operations overseas.”Manufacturing is significantly important to building a strong economic foundation based on making raw materials and provides people with high school diplomas well-paying jobs,” he said. “I also understand that our prices will increase on products but I think voters are more interested in having stable employment than having stagnant wages.”Daugherty, executive director of the Lehigh County Senior Center, said he’s also committed to protecting entitlement programs for seniors.He supports raising the ceiling on income subject to the Social Security tax to $180,000. By doing that, he said, there’s no reason to consider reducing benefits or raising the age of eligibility. The ceiling now is set at $118,500.He advocates for changing the way cost-of-living adjustments are calculated so that seniors are more likely to get annual raises. He said he would like to see a formula that more heavily weighs the costs of housing and health care, since those expenses typically make up a bigger share of senior budgets. And he opposes a proposal to replace Medicare with a voucher system that seniors would use to buy their own health insurance on the private market – legislation that Dent voted for in 2012.”Charlie and I are on different sides of these issues which makes this a lot more than just a personality contest,” Daugherty said.Representatives in Congress serve two-year terms and are paid $174,000 a year. – See more at: