Bethlehem Press

Sunday, June 24, 2018
Caption 9393: Rick Daugherty with some of his supporters at a rally he held at Pies On Pizza. Caption 9393: Rick Daugherty with some of his supporters at a rally he held at Pies On Pizza.
Caption 9392: Catasauqua native Rick Daugherty delivering his campaign goals as he begins his campaign for the Democratic Party’s congressional nomination for the revamped 7th Congressional District. Caption 9392: Catasauqua native Rick Daugherty delivering his campaign goals as he begins his campaign for the Democratic Party’s congressional nomination for the revamped 7th Congressional District.

Daugherty puts his hat in the ring for the new Congressional district

Tuesday, March 6, 2018 by Paul Cmil Special to the Bethlehem Press in Local News

Rick Daugherty opened his congressional campaign with a gathering of supporters at Pies On Pizza in Catasauqua. Daugherty is no stranger to the area. He lived in Catasauqua and graduated from Catasauqua High School in 1978. Daugherty was chairman of the Lehigh County Democratic Committee from 2006 to 2010. He was a district administrator for Congressman Paul McHale in 1994 and 1995. He ran for office twice against Charlie Dent.

“The changes made by the Pennsylvania Supreme Court make the district much more competitive…and a better fit for someone like me,” he said. Dent agrees with his assessment that the district is competitive. On the Democratic side, Daugherty faces challenges from John Morganelli, Gary Edwards, Bill Leiner, and Susan Wilde among others.

Daugherty is the executive director of the senior center in Allentown, now dubbed Lehigh Valley Active Life. He has been at the center for 22 years.

“I support him…he is a blue collar worker…and a neighbor. He has my vote,” said Radwan Jarrows.

“The focus of my campaign will be seniors…we don’t do enough for seniors…I want to be a congressman in the mold of Claude Pepper,” he said. Pepper was a Senator from Florida who was considered a firebrand for seniors. He served in the Senate until he was 88 years old.

Daugherty worked to make the Allentown senior center a top-flight senior center. “We have a lot of activities for seniors and good participation from our members…one of the unique things is our 70-piece string orchestra,” he said.

Daugherty contends that the projected deficit in Social Security funding can be easily fixed by making those who have income that exceeds the Social Security maximum pay FICA tax. The cutoff is $128,400. Those who make more than $128,400 do not pay additional Social Security tax. Some financial analysists contend that increasing the Social Security tax to high earners will not be enough to cover the promised liability as baby boomers join the retired ranks. The government projects Social Security funds will be exhausted in 2033. Supporters of the Social Security program believe that the federal government can make the system solvent by repaying the trillions of dollars it has borrowed to fund general operations.

The federal government got into a bind on Social security when it started to borrow Social Security reserves at below market rates to fund poverty programs beginning with the “War on Poverty.”

Daugherty claims that Medicare provides the best health care for its customers, although an increasing number of practitioners are not adding Medicare patients because reimbursements are not competitive. Daugherty claims he can reverse the trend. The federal government is projecting Medicare funds will be exhausted in 2026.

Daugherty has a laundry list of ideas. He wants to increase the COLA for Social Security along with the base rate, expand at-home Medicare, stop age discrimination and lower property taxes. Daugherty highlights his campaign to help working families and bring jobs back to America. He wants to stop unfair trade deals, improve vocational education and buy American products.

Although the goals are worthy, they are not the goals of the Democrat Party. Democrat Party representatives are required to vote in lock step with the party leadership.

With the redistricting imposed by the Pennsylvania Supreme Court, the Lehigh Valley is now the 7th Congressional District. Candidates need to get 1,000 voter signatures beginning Feb. 27. “It’s late in the process to gather signatures…that’s true with all the candidates,” said Daugherty. Candidates of both parties will be holding rallies to collect signatures.

The Republican Party is challenging the Pennsylvania Supreme Court’s redistricting to the US Supreme Court. Republicans contend that redistricting is a function of the legislative branch not the judicial branch. If successful, there could be more chaos in the upcoming election.