U.S. Rep. Tim Murphy (R-Upper St. Clair) is seeking his sixth term as representative of the 18th Congressional District.
Murphy has lived in for more than 30 years with his wife and daughter. They attend in Bethel Park.
Evan Feinberg, a graduate who recently moved to Upper St. Clair with his wife and infant son, is challenging Murphy in the Republican primary on April 24. It's Murphy's first primary challenger since going into Congress in 2002.
Next Tuesday's top vote-getter will face Washington County Commissioner Larry Maggi, who is running as a Democrat, in the November general election.
Murphy took the time to answer some questions we thought were important to Patch readers to know before the election.
Patch: Why do you feel you should be re-elected?
U.S. Rep. Tim Murphy: My focus is on serving my district and representing their interests in Congress. I take our southwestern Pennsylvania values to Washington so we have a voice in addressing the critically important issues facing our region. By following that model, we’ve seen positive change for our families and communities here at home. Just a few of our accomplishments meeting our hometown needs: House passage of China currency manipulation bill to support our manufacturers and steelmakers; enactment of Marc and Chelsea’s law to protect the communities against gas pipeline accidents; securing a new commissary; saving local military installations under BRAC; the Healthy Hospitals Act to stop the spread of hospital-acquired infections; expanded PTSD and TBI services for our veterans; work along the Chartiers Creek to save homes and businesses from seasonal flooding; investments in upgrades to our Pittsburgh VA hospital systems; and dozens of local projects from helping our volunteer fire departments to finally pushing through the missing ramps on I-79 to working with the Army Corps of Engineers to prevent a catastrophic failure of the locks and dams on the Monongahela River.
The term "Representative" isn’t just a job title for me; it’s a job description. I’ve been entrusted to represent family farms and factories; business owners and employees; moms, dads and grandparents; private sector workers and government employees; young professionals and retirees; teachers, professors, scientists and students, the list goes on and on. My agenda comes from the ideas and policies that matter to our diverse and unique communities. I know that I am just a temporary employee working on a two-year contract and that is why I put your voice at a premium. I’ve listened to you and worked to advance policies that are important to your families: spending cuts, low taxes, developing American energy for local jobs, affordable and accessible health care, and ensuring our manufacturers have a chance to compete in a free market.
Patch: Evan Feinberg, a new resident of Upper St. Clair, is challenging you this year. What makes you a more qualified candidate?
Murphy: My constituents are very concerned about the direction our country is headed. I share that concern and my voting record in Congress reflects that. They want Washington to get spending under control, and they want to unleash southwestern Pennsylvania’s energy resources so we can create jobs locally and move our nation towards energy independence. They also want me to fight for this district, like the work I am doing to stop the Pentagon from closing our world-class, top-rated military bases, the 911th Airlift Wing and the 171st Air Refueling Wing located here in Moon Township. I'm working on all of these issues.
One of the concerns I hear is that while we've been working together here in the community to advance our southwestern Pennsylvania values, Evan Feinberg has been working in Washington, DC, for a senator from Oklahoma. My constituents tell me how upset it makes them when they see license plates on the trucks of the workers from Oklahoma around our local natural gas worksites. They want to see local workers getting those good paying jobs, not Oklahomans. My opponent just bought a home in my neighborhood this past December only to run for office. It's hard to convince the families that work here, pay taxes here and send their kids to school here that you are invested in serving them and being their voice in Congress when you've just arrived here a only few months ago.
I'm focused on serving the people of the 18th District. They know I’ve been involved in the community here in southwestern Pennsylvania for more than 30 years. I earned my degree from Pitt graduate school here, started a business here, raised my family here and have been working and serving this community for decades—from my Habitat for Humanity triathlon to serving in my local . Since being elected to the Pennsylvania State Senate and then the United States Congress, my singular focus has been on being southwestern Pennsylvania’s voice. My door is open to everyone and I endeavor at all times on working to bring people together for the betterment of our community.
Patch: What are your thoughts on saving the 911th Airlift Wing, and the targeted realignment and personnel layoffs at the neighboring 171st Refueling Wing?
Murphy: The 911th and 171st are two of the most valuable, decorated and cost-effective bases in the military. For the past four months, I’ve been building our case that the Air Force is moving on a course that’s misguided, misinformed and mistaken. I know that base better than anyone else in Congress. It’s my job to make sure the Air Force does due diligence in its fiscal analysis because to this point, the Air Force’s analysis has been woefully inadequate. I’m ensuring we get the fair and thorough analysis we’ve asked them to do.
Through my work with our local military community and elected officials, I’ve been able to raise awareness of this issue so that the President is now personally engaged, and I’m in regular meetings with commanding generals of the Air Force, the Secretary of the Air Force, the Chairman of the House Armed Services Committee and officials at the Pentagon on saving our bases.
Of course, there are detractors like my opponent who think bureaucrats at the Pentagon who brought us the $400 hammer make better decisions than our local base commanders, or that elected representatives shouldn’t work on behalf of the families they respresent. My opponent argued in support of shutting down the 911th saying that it isn’t a jobs program and that 911th is just a parochial interest. I couldn’t disagree more, and I’m not going to let bureaucrats in Washington, DC decide what happens here.
Similarly wrongheaded, Feinberg advocates dismantling the VA health system. I couldn’t disagree more and he couldn't be more wrong when he disparages the Pittsburgh VA as “broken down, has terrible equipment, the buildings are falling apart, and the doctors aren’t always the best doctors in the region.” If he has visited any of the facilities he wants to shut down in our community, he'd know that simply isn't true. I stand with southwestern Pennsylvania’s veterans and with our military families. I’m going to do everything I can in support of our local military community, which is why I joined the Navy Reserve Medical Service Corps to treat soldiers with traumatic brain injury and PTSD because I had more to give in service to our country and to those who bear the burdens of battle on behalf of our freedoms.
Patch: What are your thoughts on job creation? Marcellus Shale drilling?
Murphy: Energy equals jobs. With success in our coal, natural gas and nuclear sectors, southwestern Pennsylvania can easily be described as the energy capital of the world. Development of the region’s Marcellus shale gas is an opportunity for hundreds of thousands of jobs and millions of dollars in economic output, but only if we advance with a focus on safety, without shortcuts, and most importantly, by ensuring regulations coming out of Washington, DC, don’t put up unnecessary barriers and obstacles to our local job creation. I want these jobs to go to local workers so our local economy and families benefit, not Texas or Oklahoma.
Our manufacturing sector is also critical to our regional economy. We have the most productive, advanced and innovative workforce in the world but face fierce competition from our international trading partners because they do not follow the rules in global trade. For example, China dumps inferior steel, sells us defective and dangerous products, steals patents and intellectual property, hacks our computer networks, and manipulates its currency to give exporters a 20- to 40-percent automatic price discount. This is why I advanced the Currency Reform for Fair Trade Act. When international cheaters are not held accountable, factories close down and those jobs get shipped overseas. Not too long ago, our region boasted a Sony plant, dozens of steel mills like Jessop in Washington, glassmakers in Jeannette, auto plants like Fisher Body in West Mifflin, and countless machine and tool and die shops. I have gone on literally hundreds if not thousands of factory tours and discussed trade barriers with all types of manufacturers in southwestern Pennsylvania. These businesses have repeatedly told me that countries violating trade laws are the greatest threat to their success. That’s why as chairman of the Congressional Steel Caucus, I am going to keep working to hold China and other countries accountable for breaking international trade agreements. My opponent disagrees with me and would support policies that will hurt southwestern Pennsylvania manufacturers on every one of these trade issues.
Patch: What changes would you like to see in Washington, DC?
Murphy: My constituents want to see an end to taxpayer bailouts, like the two Wall Street bailouts I opposed. They want to see an end to overregulation, which is saddling local business owners with mountains of paperwork and compliance costs. I voted against billions in reckless stimulus spending because my constituents are frustrated with Washington spending more and more of their tax money while our nation goes deeper into debt. Southwestern Pennsylvanians want to see Washington living within its means, which is why I voted in favor of a constitutional Balanced Budget Amendment. And there is deep concern about the cost—both to our liberty and to our economy—of the new health care law, which I opposed and have voted to repeal over two dozen times. Everyday we learn that health care law will cost more and more in tax dollars to implement. Meanwhile, I’ll keep working on real health care reforms that will result in lower cost, better access, and higher quality care.
But in the meantime, Congress must tackle our energy needs so we can break our dependency on OPEC oil and end soaring prices at the pump. But the President’s energy policy can be summed up in one word: “No.” No drilling off our coasts for the oil we desperately need. No Keystone pipeline. No mining for our coal and no developing our natural gas resources. In Washington, DC, I’m fighting no fewer than eight federal agencies working to stop development of our natural resources here in southwestern Pennsylvania. We want to see our regional economy thrive. Ultimately, I know my constituents have placed their trust in me to listen to their hopes, ideas and dreams for this region. I’ve never looked at this role as being about me—it’s about us. All of us that live here, pay taxes here, raised our family here, sent our kids to school here, work here or started a business here in the 18th District. I’ve worked hard to earn that trust and I ask for it again on April 24 so we can continue working to advance our southwestern Pennsylvania values together.
Editor's Note: to read a Patch Q&A with challenger Evan Feinberg.
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