Behind the Ballot: Pennsylvania's redrawn sixth congressional district

An Air Force veteran is facing off against a tax attorney for the right to represent Pennsylvania's redrawn sixth congressional district.  

The district includes all of Chester County and lower Berks County, including the city of Reading.

The candidates are Democrat Chrissy Houlahan and Republican Greg McCauley.

Critics say the new map unfairly favors democrats, while many democrats feel the old map was in favor of the GOP.

Both candidates would be first-time elected officials as well.

Two candidates who are new to the political landscape are running to represent Pennsylvania's re-drawn sixth congressional district.

One of them will replace Republican Ryan Costello, who isn't seeking another term.

Representing the democratic party is newcomer Chrissy Houlahan. 

She served in the Air Force, ran an education non-profit and became a chemistry teacher in Philly.

She says her life has been one of service.

"I thought I was doing my part to advance our democracy and our democratic values," said Houlahan.

Republican Greg McCauley is also new to the political scene. He's a tax attorney, and says he can't take the dysfunction in Washington any longer. 

"I want to get in there and get my simple solutions out. They can all put in their input and we can come up with a bill and solve the problems," said McCauley.

So what do these candidates want to do to help the district, which includes Chester County and the lower part of Berks County?

For Houlahan, it's about basic needs.

"Whether it's healthcare and making sure we have affordable and quality and accessible health care, whether it's education and making sure that everybody has a great opportunity to being educated in this fine nation of ours or whether it's jobs with dignity and decency."

McCauley says he'd like to see commuter rail return to Reading. 

"They're talking about it in Phoenixville. I think if we get on board as a city and I can bring in some federal funds. We can build some new stations and move down the tracks, get it?" said McCauley.

Congress has become very partisan in the last few years. Both Houlahan and McCauley say they plan to work with those across the aisle.

"I believe we're a purple people, I don't believe that we're red or blue. I don't think we're republicans or democrats. I think particularly in our community we sit in the middle and we need to make sure that we're talking to one another," said Houlahan.

"I think we ought to work together. I have no problem working with anybody. I work with the IRS every day and they're the nicest people on the planet so if they're that nice, think of how great congress is going to be," said McCauley.

We asked both candidates whether they think the new district is gerrymandered in favor of democrats.

McCauley said he believes while the new map slightly favors democrats, he's not going to worry about that, and is just focusing on his campaign.

As for Houlahan, she says it's not gerrymandered, adding that the new district is "compact, contiguous and constitutional."



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Allentown, PA 18102


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