A 26-year-old political newcomer is hoping to swing the 3rd Congressional District in Pennsylvania back into the Democratic column.
Dan LaVallee officially announced his campaign Friday with a Youtube posting and then began a tour of the northern portion of the district that stretches from Cranberry to Erie.
“To me it’s about getting to everyone in our area figuring what we can do to move forward,” said LaValle.
The CMU graduate most recently spent time in Washington, D.C. working on healthcare reform but is centering his campaign on economic issues.
“While Youngstown and Pittsburgh are seeing economic recovery, the rest of northwest Pennsylvania is still falling behind. We have opportunities for growth but we are just not taking advantage of them,” said LaValle. “To me we need new energy and new leadership to get the economy moving again.”
LaValle plans to build partnerships with universities and colleges in the district in an effort to jumpstart the economy. He also wants to find new ways to support local businesses. That could include increased energy exploration.
“Leveraging the natural resources that we have here in our region to then further grow the economy,” said LaValle who believes shale drilling will lead to more jobs and more economic activity for local businesses. “It’s got to be a couple step process and they are all intertwined together.”
LaValle says the leaders in Washington have failed and the results are clear.
“They would rather shut down the government than find jobs,” said LaValle.
On the subject of the Affordable Care Act, LaValle said he supports the principals and foundations of Obama Care but he thinks it can be improved. “Those folks being kicked off of insurance plans, that never should have happened,” said LaValle. “But I think we need to look at how we can go forward. How we can fix the problems and really figure out a better health care system where we have affordable, quality health care for all Americans.”
At this time there are two other announced Democratic candidates in 3rd District. Rob Joswiak and Matt Ryan are both looking for the party's nomination. Incumbent Republican Mike Kelly is expected to run for reelection. He took the seat from Democrat Kathy Dahlkemper in the 2010 election. She held the seat for just two years herself after wresting control from Republican Phil English.