2nd state representative announces run for 15th District

Ryan Mackenzie will step down from state 134th

A second Pennsylvania state representative has announced plans to run for the soon-to-be vacant 15th District seat in Congress.

Rep. Ryan Mackenzie, a Republican who represents Berks and Lehigh counties in Harrisburg, formally announced Friday his candidacy for the seat currently held by U.S. Rep. Charlie Dent. The seat includes Lehigh County and portions of Berks, Dauphin, Lebanon and Northampton counties.

In his announcement, Mackenzie said he will focus on "commonsense solutions that put our priorities first."

"Our nation works best when Americans are in the driver’s seat," he said in a prepared statement. "Our government has grown so big, unwieldy and directionless that it is holding us back from achieving the prosperity we all know is within our reach."

Mackenzie has represented the 134th District since 2012.

On Wednesday, state Rep. Justin Simmons, a Republican who represents Lehigh, Montgomery, and Northampton counties, announced he would step down from his seat in the 131st District to run against Dent. Simmons blasted Dent as a "liberal Republican" and claimed the district's conservative base wanted more from its congressman.

In response, Dent touted his record as a "strong and independent voice," blasting Simmons' "failed record" as a lawmaker in Harrisburg.

On Thursday, Dent made the surprise announcement that he wouldn't seek an eighth term in Congress. The Lehigh Valley resident said he'd been considering the move for months.

Mackenzie's announcement touched on the hot-button issues facing Congress such as calling for an immigration system that secures the country's borders, tax relief that "unleashes American workers to reach our full potential" and foreign policy that is "clear, resolute and remains focused on our interests."

Mackenzie announcement will also create a second vacancy in the state House as he plans to step down in order to run for Congress.

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