Rep. Lou Barletta visits York County diner for meet-and-greet campaign stop

Logan Hullinger
York Dispatch
U.S. Rep. Lou Barletta, R-Pa., the Republican nominee for U.S. Senate facing incumbent U.S. Sen. Bob Casey, addresses York countians at Round the Clock Diner in Manchester Township, Tuesday, Sept. 25, 2018. Dawn J. Sagert photo

Republican U.S. Rep. Lou Barletta took a Senate campaign stop in York County to talk about the importance of career technology education and hold a meet-and-greet with county voters.

After meeting with York Technical Institute administrators Tuesday, Sept. 25, Barletta stopped by Round the Clock Diner in Manchester Township to meet with voters and spread his pro-Trump economy, anti-Democrat Sen. Bob Casey campaign message.

Senate run: Barletta holds a seat in the U.S. House representing the state's 9th District — previously the 11th District, prior to congressional redistricting by the state Supreme Court in February.

But he is now eyeing the Senate seat held by Casey and will be facing off with the two-term incumbent and Dale Kerns of the Libertarian Party in the upcoming November mid-term elections.

Barletta said he wasn't sure whether he had campaigned in York County since announcing his Senate run, but his spokesman David Jackson said it was at least his first visit since the primary election.

Still, the Senate candidate said the county is "very important" in his election efforts.

The county just recently broke 150,000 registered Republicans, giving the party a more than 37 percent edge over the roughly 103,000 registered Democrats, according to Department of State statistics.

"We need counties like this to counter the parts of the state like Philadelphia and others where people would like the policies of Barack Obama," Barletta said. "But the last election doesn't mean (the voters') job is done."

Barletta, a staunch supporter of President Donald Trump, said those who voted for Trump and like his policies "need to know how important it is to come out and vote again this election to make sure there isn't a blue wave."

Trump also endorsed Barletta's Senate run earlier this year.

On Casey: In addition to his general campaign message, the Republican candidate took shots at the absent Casey, saying he's heard from voters that "they can't really tell you what (Casey) has done."

He added, "Casey is standing in the way of an economy that's helping people here in Pennsylvania."

U.S. Rep. Lou Barletta, R-Pa., left, the Republican nominee for U.S. Senate against incumbent Sen. Bob Casey, is greeted by Dawn Smith, of York City, at Round the Clock Diner in Manchester Township, Tuesday, Sept. 25, 2018. Dawn J. Sagert photo

Barletta cited Casey's conflicting beliefs with Trump policies, adding that he is a proponent of reversing the Trump administration's economic policies and supports sanctuary cities, which Barletta said isn't something Pennsylvanians want.

But he added that he and his opponent agree on one thing: The importance of career technology education — and the jobs that come along with it — to the country's economy.

Casey visited York-based precision stamping business Tooling Dynamics last week to celebrate the reauthorization of the Perkins Act, a Ronald Reagan-era piece of legislation that encourages investment in CTE training programs through federal funding.

Casey co-sponsored the bill with Republican Sen. Mike Enzi from Wyoming, and Barletta said "we both agree" on the idea of encouraging training for skilled jobs.

More:Sen. Casey visits York business to celebrate signing of career technical education bill

On CTE: "I hear the same story," Barletta said. "We have jobs, but we just don't have people with skills to fill those jobs. And now with an economy that's doing so well, it's important we educate people about the opportunities of going to schools like YTI and learning a skill."

As rain poured outside the diner, Barletta also touched on the importance of "pre-disaster mitigation" to decrease the chances of harm to lives or property during potential disasters such as flooding — something county residents are well aware of this year.

More:EDITORIAL: As storms strengthen, increase local planning

He referenced a bill he's been working on as a member of the House Subcommittee on Economic Development, Public Buildings and Emergency Management, which recently passed the House and is awaiting a Senate vote.

The bill includes Barletta's Disaster Recovery Reform Act, which would implement reforms at the Federal Emergency Management Agency to encourage increased federal funding for pre-disaster planning and mitigation. 

"Flooding is a big issue," he said. "This is about saving taxpayer money, but more importantly it's about saving people's lives and property."

In the end, Barletta said, his most important message is that he will best represent the people of Pennsylvania if elected to the Senate.

"The most important thing is to have a senator that actually represents the values of the people here in Pennsylvania, not the values of people in California or Chuck Schumer and the Washington Democrats," he said.