Congressional hopefuls weigh in on candidacy, presidential choices

By Patty Yauger pyauger@heraldstandard.com Updated Oct 27, 2016

The three candidates vying for the 9th Congressional District representative seat offered their views on energy, infrastructure and who should be the next president, during their first face-to-face meeting leading up to the Nov. 8 election.

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Incumbent U.S. Rep. Bill Shuster, R-Everett, Republican Art Halvorson of Manns Choice, who will appear on the Democratic ticket, and write-in Democratic candidate Adam Sedlock of Uniontown, took part in the candidate forum Friday at Penn State Fayette, The Eberly Campus.

The forum was hosted by the HeraldStandard, Greene County Messenger and The MonValley Herald Standard, in partnership with the Mon Valley Alliance and the Fayette County Chamber of Commerce.

The unique three-way race has Democratic leaders backing Sedlock, although Halvorson will appear on the ballot. Shuster has the support of the GOP. Halvorson said Democratic voters put him on the ballot because of their shared values. “Party leaders are nice to have on your side, but I have the people on my side,” he said. “The people took this election into their own hands, spontaneously and organically because they didn’t have a choice.”
There was no Democrat on the primary ballot

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Halvorson said Sedlock’s lack of serious participation in the primary process — he waged a write-in campaign — provided an opportunity for his Democratic supporters to do likewise. “They nominated a likeminded, conservative Republican to be the Democratic nominee,” he said. “Clearly, I have a lot in common with those pro-life, pro-conservative
values, pro-family Democrats.

“We’re proud to be on the ballot.” Sedlock said that his course of action came after the Democratic Party offered no candidate to challenge the GOP primary candidates. “I saw that there was a vacancy, and a vacancy should not occur in a Democratic society,” he said. “We need to have a choice.” His decision to seek the nomination came after the submission of petition time frame had expired, he said. “The write-in campaign was embraced by the Democratic Party at all levels,” said Sedlock. “All the 12 county chairs in the (congressional district) were grateful and thankful for the decision. “The people did have a voice.” Sedlock claimed that Halvorson thwarted the process by having staffers elicit Democratic votes by advising primary voters that he represented the party.
“He still espouses the tea party values,” said Sedlock. “He does not embrace the Democratic values of the Democratic Party.” Shuster, meanwhile, said he did not actively pursue the Democratic nod, yet still received hundreds of Democratic write-in votes.
When questioned about whether a three-way race will potentially upset his reelection,
Shuster said he feels confident he will be successful in his bid for a ninth term in office.
“I think my record speaks for itself,” he said. “I am motivated by service. “There are some that say this is about power. It is not. The power belongs to the people and the election is when the people have the power to say who is going to represent them. Who they are going to give the responsibility to serve them in congress.”
Two of the three candidates — Halvorson and Shuster — said they plan to cast their presidential ballot for Trump while Sedlock believes the Democratic presidential nominee — Hillary Clinton — is best suited for the office. Shuster, who had been with Trump prior to the forum at a campaign rally in Johnstown, said while there are positions Trump has taken and remarks made by him that he does not agree with or support, he will make the best choices for the U.S. Supreme Court. Currently one position is vacant due to the February death of Associate Justice Antonin Scalia.
“If Hillary Clinton is allowed to become President of the U.S., she will have one nomination and likely two more,” he said. “She will change the Supreme
Court for two generations. “She will appoint someone that is extremely liberal. (A liberal bench) will chip away at our religious freedoms, our second amendment rights, and the
rights businesses care about until we don’t know this country.”
Halvorson said he would pull the lever for Trump, and agrees with his philosophy concerning “career politicians” like Shuster.
Quoting Trump that “career politicians have been a total disaster in Washington,” Halvorson said it was time to rid Congress of the longtime politicians
like Shuster, in November.
“That’s what is a stake here (in the election),” said Halvorson. “Is Congress going to continue to be run by the power brokers supported by their donors and the lobbyists and the corrupting influence?”
Sedlock, meanwhile, said a Clinton presidency avoids a Trump “dictatorship.” his is a gentleman that has not paid (federal) taxes for 18 years,” said Sedlock. “He thinks its smart.
“How do we fund the military? How do we build our roads? “This is a gentleman that demeans women and gets away with it like its nothing.” Sedlock said a future with Clinton at the helm will allow for “clean energy, a clean environment and a future for the children and grandchildren.”

The full video of the forum can be viewed on the HeraldStandard website at http://www.heraldstandard.com.

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