Two area Democrats have announced bids to succeed U.S. Rep. Todd Platts in Pennsylvania's 4th Congressional District.
Harry Perkinson, 60, who works for a Texas-based defense contractor from his York Township home, and Harrisburg attorney Ken Lee, 51, declared their candidacies at the York County Democratic Party's campaign kickoff rally Saturday.
They join a field of announced candidates that includes state Rep. Scott Perry, R-Dillsburg, and Hopewell Township Libertarian Mike Koffenberger.
Platts, R-York County, announced Tuesday that he would not seek a seventh term.
Perkinson, a York County resident for 23 years, said his focus as a congressman would be to improve educational opportunities for children, grow the district's manufacturing base and preserve the environment.
He said Saturday that it's time for the region to send a message to Republicans.
"There's a party that thinks that this seat is going to be a slam-dunk," Perkinson said. "They thought that when Mr. Platts was still running, and they're going to have a vicious campaign amongst themselves" to succeed Platts.
Area voters must tell Republicans that "they've forgotten how to govern, they've forgotten that the middle-class in this country is the backbone of this nation, and that big government is measured by the amount of intrusion into our lives, not its size."
Lee, who lives in Cumberland County, said the 4th needs an advocate in Congress who will be a vocal champion for the region.
His campaign will focus on "kids, kids, kids," he said. Many of Pennsylvania's young people are leaving the state, and and those who come for educational opportunities -- he cited engineering programs in the Pittsburgh area -- flee as soon as they graduate, Lee said.
"We have an opportunity to build something here," he said. "Until we get younger, we're going to have the same economic challenges."
Lee applauded Platts' service and said he hopes to represent the district "with the same humility and congeniality and professionalism," but he said the area needs someone to promote its agriculture, rich history and robust workforce.
Ryan Sanders, who ran against Platts in 2010, and former York Mayor John Brenner have said they are considering running.