Without a primary challenger, Ashley Ehasz, Democratic candidate for the First Congressional District, is gearing up for the November election.
Ehasz, a 33-year-old Bensalem Township resident, said “time is up” for incumbent GOP Congressman Brian Fitzpatrick and that she is ready to lead.
Ehasz will have to raise millions of dollars and, if she takes on Fitzpatrick, will have to fight the revival of her strong name throughout the district, which spans all of Bucks County and part of Montgomery County.
Through the end of April Ehasz had raised $266,106.17 and had almost $78,000 in his campaign coffers. His likely opponent, Fitzpatrick, ended the same period with nearly $1.4 million in the bank.
Ehasz, a Lehigh Valley native who moved to Bucks County in July 2021 after leaving the U.S. military, said she understands the struggles of residents in the district because she’s experienced them herself and had ideas to solve them.
“We need leadership to step up,” she said, adding that Fitzpatrick had proven he couldn’t do this.
Ehasz said she was raised by a struggling single mother and that was her motivation for getting a waiver and joining the US Army when she was 17. She went to college, became an attack helicopter pilot and commanded hundreds of servicemen. Growing up, she spent a lot of time with an aunt who lived in Bucks County.
With inflation a priority for many, Ehasz said she would focus on how to lower prices and ensure companies don’t rip people off, citing allegations of price gouging by oil companies.
Ehasz said the Build Back Better proposal, which recently failed in Washington DC, plans to lower the cost of drugs and lower the cost of child care.
She also said interest rates needed to be adjusted and she would be sure businesses would be held accountable for not paying the same amount as families in the area.
By not passing Build Back Better, she is holding Democrats and Republicans accountable. She noted that Fitzpatrick voted against the American Rescue Plan Act in 2021, which helped circulate funds amid the pandemic.
During the November campaign, Ehasz said she had ideas and plans that would reach both Democrats and moderate Republicans.
“I have student loans and lived in a world where my parents didn’t get the good mental health and addiction treatment they deserved and would have made our family so much more successful…and I understand how much life can be complicated. be. I also served our country and I think that’s something people of any political ideology can support. I find my service to the country opens the door to conversation,” she said.
When she knocked on the door, Ehasz said her military service had made people on both sides more willing to talk to her.
Democrats have long sought to turn the moderate first congressional district from red to blue, but they have failed over the past decade. Local and state Democrats have called recruiting candidates for the seat in the past a “failure.”
Ehasz said she had bet a lot on the race and was passionate about being able to win.
“It’s a Democratic-leaning seat,” she said.
Ehasz said she was a “civil servant. not a politician.
Ehasz said she supports the Second Amendment and gun ownership.
“As a former attack pilot, I understand that the use and possession of firearms requires responsibility and maturity. I support a ban on assault weapons for private use. I also support keeping guns out of the hands of abusers and I support universal background checks,” she said, noting that many pieces of gun safety legislation are popular with the public.
With housing affordability a growing issue in the district, Ehasz said she supports exploring ways to make it easier for people to find homes that work within their budget. She said she often comes across families who live with their parents or other family members because of the cost.
“They have young kids at home and they wanted to come back to the great schools in Bucks County and they wanted to buy a house, but they had to go back with their parents,” she said.
Ehasz said she was only able to buy her home in Bensalem Township because of a veterans loan program.
She said politicians must promote policies that allow for the construction of housing that more people can afford. The candidate said she looks at all other costs, including childcare, health care and medication, when looking to tackle rising housing costs.
Ehasz said she would not only focus on young people and families, but also on policies that would help keep older people in their homes.
Regarding immigration, Ehasz said there must be a pathway to citizenship for people here illegally who are not a threat and can contribute to the nation. She added that the immigration system must become more efficient.
Speaking of undocumented immigrant youth, often called “dreamers,” she said they should be protected by federal law.
Ehasz said the expected repeal of Roe v. Wade is concerned and that she supports the protection of abortion by passing a federal law to codify it.
“When we look at the potential for Roe to be canceled, it will not only be a devastating moment for the destruction of the sanctity between a woman and anyone who bares a child and her doctor, but it will have economic ramifications which are really good. to put into words,” she said.
Ehasz said she “fundamentally believes” Republicans will use a reversal of Roe v. Wade to strike down 70 years of civil rights legislation.
Ehasz said she supports public schools and has walked through them in the state. She said she was concerned about the banning of books in schools where some parents have expressed concern about the content and amount of so-called “dark money” flowing into school board elections.
Ehasz said she supports full legalization of marijuana, citing many military personnel and Pennsylvanians who support it.
When it comes to student loans, Ehasz said she knows the problem all too well. She is currently working to repay nearly $70,000 of remaining loans.
“I joined the military, went to West Point, and did all the ‘good things’ the Republicans said you had to do to be able to afford an education,” she said.
She said she knows the student loan crisis is impacting young people and people with families.
“The systems we have in place need to be reviewed,” she said. “I realize the federal government has a lot of tools at its disposal to deal with this.”
Ehasz said the country should seek other types of schools, such as technical schools, to educate new members of the workforce.
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