In two local congressional races, Andy Kim and Ashley Ehasz deserve voter support


Control of Congress is at stake on Election Day and two races in the Greater Philadelphia region could help determine the balance of power.

Pennsylvania’s 1st District is a swing district that covers Bucks County and a sliver of Montgomery County. Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick, the Republican incumbent first elected in 2016, is one of the more bipartisan members of Congress. He supported President Biden’s $1.2 trillion infrastructure bill and a bill to provide a path to citizenship to immigrants in the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program.

Fitzpatrick also voted to certify Biden’s election — unlike the rest of the Pennsylvania Republican congressional delegation. That should not be news, but with the current state of the GOP, Fitzpatrick’s stance amounts to a profile in courage.

Fitzpatrick called the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol “a coup attempt” and rightly blamed former President Donald Trump for the insurrection. Yet when it came time to hold Trump accountable, Fitzpatrick voted against impeaching him and voted against creating the bipartisan House select committee to investigate Trump’s attempts to overturn the election.

Elected officials swear an oath to protect and defend the Constitution against all enemies, foreign and domestic. In this board’s view, Fitzpatrick’s failure to hold the former president accountable for the attempted coup disqualifies him and other enablers from public office.

Fitzpatrick has also been squirrely on the other defining issue of this election: the Supreme Court’s overturning of Roe v. Wade. He issued a muddled statement after the court’s misguided decision to eliminate a basic right that had been the law of the land for nearly half a century. Fitzpatrick’s campaign website doesn’t mention abortion. If you want to be in the arena, you have to take a stand.

Fortunately, voters in Pennsylvania’s 1st District have a candidate ready to fight for reproductive rights, among other important issues. Ashley Ehasz, 33, the Democratic nominee, is a 2010 graduate of West Point who served in Iraq and Kuwait.

After her military service, Ehasz received a master’s degree from the University of Oxford and now works as a public service sector consultant. She was raised by a single mother who struggled and moved around Southeastern Pennsylvania. Ehasz’s upbringing provides a window into the issues facing many voters, such as housing costs, child care, mental health, substance abuse, and student loan debt.

Ehasz was inspired to run after watching the Jan. 6 insurrection. She will defend the Constitution and wants to codify Roe v. Wade. Ehasz’s humble roots will help her represent the interests of everyday Americans, as opposed to the special interests who own many lawmakers. She will serve as a check against a potential Republican-controlled Congress filled with election deniers gearing up for endless, Benghazi-like show hearings.

The Inquirer endorses Ashley Ehasz for Congress in Pennsylvania’s 1st District.

In New Jersey, Rep. Andy Kim, the Democratic incumbent first elected in 2018, is running for reelection in the 3rd District, which covers virtually all of Burlington County and parts of Monmouth and Mercer counties.

Kim, who grew up in Marlton, is a thoughtful family man who embodies the framers’ intent that House members be responsive to the will of the people. He holds monthly town hall meetings with constituents — including in precincts that voted against him — and advocates for important issues facing his district, such as veterans’ benefits, gun safety, and women’s health-care rights.

Kim, 40, understands that elected officials are not sent to Washington to serve themselves. In 2019, he cosponsored an amendment to stop pay raises for members of Congress and supports banning congressional members from trading individual stocks.

Kim’s decency and dedication were captured in a viral photograph of him in a blue suit picking up trash left behind by the insurrectionists who stormed the Capitol. A week later, he wore the same suit, with dust still on the knees, to vote to impeach Trump. The suit is now part of our nation’s collections at the Smithsonian — an enduring reminder of Kim’s commitment to preserving democracy.

Kim’s Republican opponent is Robert Healey Jr., the chairman of the Viking Group, which includes the Viking Yacht Co. started by his father and uncle. Thanks to the successful family business, Healey, a yoga instructor who played in a punk-rock band, has an estimated net worth between $10 million and $72 million, according to his financial disclosure.

Healey, who supports completing Trump’s border wall and opposes abortion in most cases, espouses other GOP culture-war talking points surrounding “woke ideology.”

Much to his credit, Healey acknowledges that Biden won the 2020 presidential election. He also took the time to meet with this editorial board, unlike many Republican candidates who refused to engage in a civil discussion. However, Healey’s policy positions are clearly out of touch with everyday New Jerseyans.

The Inquirer endorses Andy Kim for Congress in New Jersey’s 3rd District.

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