Spirited GOP Presidential Contest Encourages Kelly

SHARON, Pa. – U.S. Rep. Mike Kelly says he doesn’t have a favorite in the Republican presidential nomination contest, but he’s encouraged by the interest in the race.

“I don’t know that I’ve ever seen this much interest a year and a half out in a presidential race but I think it’s good for America,” Kelly, R-3 Pa. said Wednesday following a speech here. “It gives the American people the chance to look at who wants to run the country, who has an agenda that actually lifts people and gets it back to where its greatness really is and that’s with its people.”

All of the candidates “offer something that’s really distinctive,” Kelly continued, citing retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson and former Hewlett Packard CEO Carly Fiorina, who he said is “one of the most interesting people” in the race.

As for Donald Trump, the billionaire developer and reality show host who leads GOP polls, Kelly said wherever he goes people tell them they like what Trump has to say. “Whether you like Donald Trump or don’t like Donald Trump, or you’re somewhere in the middle, he has the country stirred up, and I think from that standpoint it’s wonderful that he’s in the race,” he said.

Kelly was the featured speaker at a luncheon hosted by the Shenango Valley Chamber of Commerce. About 30 people attended event held at Brewtus Brewing Co.

During his talk, Kelly emphasized the importance of civic engagement and said he can’t believe the number of people who tell him they don’t vote. “The model only works when we’re all fully engaged,” he said. “If we can’t do it that way, then the whole model fails.”

Kelly, an automobile dealer from Butler, Pa., said when he first ran for Congress, people told him that he was crazy if he thought government could be run like a business. “The reality of it is, that’s the problem,” he remarked.

“We have to bring the answers from the private sector in order to save to save the public sector. There’s no other way to do it because government by itself does not create revenue,” he said. Through taxes and regulation government can either “stymie the process” or encourage growth.

“Companies that are out of business or companies that are not profitable pay no taxes,” he pointed out. “People who are not working don’t participate in wage taxes. … Every single program relies on Americans being successful.”

Responding to the congressman’s remarks, Brent A. Ward, president/owner of Integrated Fabrication & Machine Inc., Sharpsville, said, “It’s so good to hear that you get frustrated because we get frustrated. There’s so many things that we cannot control,” Ward said.

“We have to compete in an international marketplace,” he continued. “Its one thing to get hammered by the completion. It’s something else to get sideswiped by our government.”

During and interview following his speech, Kelly said he believes the issue of funding Planned Parenthood will be addressed in legislation separate from approval of the federal budget.

The organization has come under fire following the release of videos that represent the organization is illegally harvesting the tissue of aborted fetuses. Planned Parenthood’s defenders say the videos were heavily edited to mislead, but congressional abortion opponents say they won’t vote for legislation that includes Planned Parenthood funding, raising the prospect of another government shutdown.

“A government shutdown is not the answer to our problems,” Kelly said. “The real issue that I see facing us today is that we need to get down to a process that allows us to pass all 12 appropriations bills and move them forward.”

Shutting down the government would be a “foolish thing to do. That’s what breaks people’s confidence in their government,” he said.


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