April 12, 2012
Three people will run in the April 24 primary for two places on the November ballot for the Pennsylvania Congressional District 14 seat.
Incumbent Mike Doyle, a Democrat from Forest Hills, will face off with Democrat Janis Brooks, a North Versailles resident, in the primary for the Democratic nomination. The winner will run against Republican Hans Lessmann of Forest Hills in November.
Congressional District 14 covers Brookline and the City of Pittsburgh, Dormont, Baldwin, Edgewood, Forest Hills, Swissvale and Verona. For a full map of the areas in the 14th District,click here.
Below are details from an interview with incumbent Mike Doyle. An article about candidate Janis Brooks appeared on Dormont-Brookline Patch yesterday, and an article about candidate Hans Lessmann will appear as soon as possible.
Doyle, a Democrat who resides in Forest Hills, has a Bachelor of Science degree in community development from Penn State University. He was a small-business owner, and was the chief of staff for state Sen. Frank Pecora.
Doyle is currently serving his ninth term in Congress as the District 14 representative. His tenure began in 1995. He serves on the House Energy and Commerce Committee and is a member of the subcommittees on Energy and Power and Communications and Technology.
He is a member in the House Democratic Caucus, and is the founder and co-chair of both the Congressional Autism Caucus (also known as the Coalition for Autism Research and Education) and the House Distributed Generation Caucus. For a full list of Doyle’s involvement in Congress, see his website.
Doyle has a wife and four children.
Creating jobs and economic improvement have always been Doyle’s main focuses, he said.
“My focus since I’ve been elected has been on economic development in Pittsburgh, and creating a good climate for jobs to grow here,” he said.
Doyle has been involved with projects to reclaim and develop abandoned mill sites in the Mon Valley. He also has worked on “green” projects with Pittsburgh Green Innovators and Connelley Vocational High School in Pittsburgh, as well as development projects in Homestead, McKeesport and Duquesne.
A big part of creating jobs is having a strong education system, he said.
“Education is the key to the future and Pittsburgh is a perfect example,” Doyle said. “In Pittsburgh, we have replaced every job we lost during recession and added 4,000 on top of it, but we still have 27,000 unemployed.”
Doyle said this is because the jobs that were created were not the same as the jobs that were lost. Jobs were lost in manufacturing, construction and retail, while the jobs created were in health care, energy and technology.
“What you find out is that with people who are still unemployed or underemployed, many don’t have skill sets to take advantage of economy,” he said. “We need specialized training. Not necessarily college degrees, but programs to allow people to step into jobs that are emerging.”
Transportation and Infrastructure
Education and transportation are important factors in getting people back to work, Doyle said, but funding for both has been scare, especially at the state level.
“How does the unemployed person get to work if they don’t have a car?” he said. “Education and transportation are critical to getting jobs, and they are the very things we’re stripping out of these state budgets, and to some degree the federal budgets, too.”
To improve fuel efficiency and transportation, it’s important to look at a long-term plan, he said.
Americans used a billion less gallons of gas in the past year, Doyle said, in part because of conservation and driving more fuel-efficient cars.
But that means less money for infrastructure improvements is available from the gas tax. Gas prices, generally, are still high, and Doyle said the government can’t simply bring them down. Americans might be using less gas, but it’s a global market, and countries like China and India are using more.
“Anyone who would tell the American people that gas could easily go down to $2, they’re not thinking the right way,” Doyle said. “It’s just not based in any reality. Gas is made from oil and priced on the world market.”
The answer is to stop using gasoline, he said, but that isn’t going to happen overnight. Doyle said he advocates using oil as a base fuel for the foreseeable future, but to work to develop the technology that would allow electric and battery-powered cars to be the norm in the long term.
Doyle said such technology already is being developed at Carnegie Mellon University, and he wants to expand that research for widespread use.
Doyle said he has been a strong proponent of healthcare for all Americans. He helped write the Affordable Health Care for America Act, and said that since that time prescription drug costs have gone down, especially for senior citizens.
“Seniors are paying on average $600 less on prescription drugs than they were before the act was implemented,” he said. “They also have access to free screenings and preventative care with no copays. This all goes away if the Supreme Court strikes down individual mandates.”
Doyle said he thinks there is a lot of confusion about the health care bill, and that in reality, the bill wouldn’t change anything for about 80 percent of people. He said a final vote on the issue might not be made until June.
For more information about Mike Doyle, check out his government homepage and his campaign website.