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Candidate Q&A: Ashley Ehasz for Pennsylvania’s First Congressional District 

Democrat Ehasz pledges to fight for women's abortion rights, make herself accessible to the public and press, defend public education, and champion other issues that set her clearly apart from Trump-backed Republican incumbent Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick.
ashley ehasz
Unlike Ashley Ehasz, Republican Congressman Brian Fitzpatrick – along with 2024 GOP presidential candidate Donald Trump (who has endorsed Fitzpatrick twice) – have never served a day in uniform.

Reproductive Rights 

Even before Roe v. Wade was overturned, states have been passing one law more restrictive than the next in efforts to ban abortions. In light of this, what can and should Congress do to protect abortion rights? 

Like the majority of the residents of PA-01, I am pro-choice, and I believe to protect access to abortion, we must codify Roe vs. Wade into law. The first step is to pass the Women’s Health Protection Act. This bill has gone through the House twice, and both times Brian Fitzpatrick voted against it – the second time was only three weeks after the Dobbs decision. As a member of Congress, I will be an ardent advocate for the right to choose, and protect it as well as ensure that Americans have access to contraceptive services nationwide. 

I did not defend this nation overseas only to become a second-class citizen here at home, and I will not back down from my defense of access to reproductive healthcare. 

Productivity of Congress 

Deadlock in Congress has never been worse. The Republican Party works as a machine to halt any legislation that doesn’t come from them. Is there a way to achieve more bipartisanship? Lately, we have seen some major movement in legislation being passed, whether partisan or non-partisan, our legislative branch has stalled for many years, halting numerous needed measures for people of this country to thrive and retain balance. What is your plan or emphasis to help move the machine of government? 

As a commander in the Army, it was my job to ensure that Americans from all races, backgrounds, and creeds worked seamlessly together to achieve a common goal: defending the nation. I will bring this same experience to Congress, working with any member, regardless of party, to achieve success for my country and my community. This starts by having conversations with members across the aisle, and continuing to engage constituents across PA-01, to ensure that I am demanding in Washington what they need at home. 

Communication 

Despite the title Representative, many politicians fail in the arena of transparency – and that begins and ends with communication. What is your plan for helping voters understand your proposed bills, voting decisions, and other positions that impact the district and country? 

I have publicly taken the Town Hall Pledge, and I will frequently engage with the public and local news as a member of Congress. The best ways to do this are actually very simple: meet with your constituents regularly, hear their concerns, and advocate for their needs in Washington. It is foolish to believe you can accurately represent the views of a community when you do not meet with it. I will not be foolish. 

Voting/Elections 

Voting is a core value of being an American, but voting rights are under attack. Misinformation is constant and seems to have become a part of our everyday life. What can be done to protect voters from the exhaustion of politics, the expansive spread of mis- and disinformation, and the lack of belief in elections in general? What can Congress do to increase voter registration and voter turnout? 

In order to expand access to the ballot box, and protect our democracy, we must pass the John Lewis Voting Rights Act. This bill will usher much-needed reforms, and restore faith in our electoral process, while combating tactics designed to impede the right to vote. 

We also must tell important truths: Joe Biden is the duly elected President of the United States, and his election was won free and fairly. This fact is not disputable, and in fact every Secretary of State that oversaw the 2020 Presidential election – Democrat and Republican – agree with this statement. To combat disinformation in our politics, we must call it out and address it head-on, even when it may cost us politically. We must also be clear with the press and the public about where we stand as candidates, and be truthful about our votes and positions. The voters are disenchanted with elected officials because they have grown accustomed to being lied to. To restore trust in our democracy, we must tell the truth to the people. 

Social Programs 

I, like you, grew up with a single mother and I later took care of her for years. Government has given some support in previous generations to fight issues like poverty, lack of healthcare, and lack of resources to retire. Unfortunately, we have seen defunding of programs that have provided a social safety net for poor and working-class families. What is your plan for addressing the issues that millions of working-class families face? 

As a working class candidate, I understand how important our social safety net is to providing services for families that are struggling to get by. I was raised by a single mother in an environment that struggled with both substance abuse and mental health issues. These programs are not simply acronyms to me, but vital resources for families on the brink. In Congress, I will support funding for these programs that not only ensures they continue to provide essential services, but also expand their scope, including pushing for a public option in our healthcare market. No one should be denied access to healthcare because of a lack of money – this is not only immoral, but dangerous to our resiliency against future medical emergencies, including pandemics.

Public Education 

Public Education is under attack in Bucks County, throughout Pennsylvania, and across the nation. The Republican Party wants to defund it, transform it by banning books and limiting what history can and can’t be taught, and some even want to get rid of the Department of Education. What role did public education have in your life and what should be done to protect it? 

From grade school to my time at West Point, I have been a product of public education. I personally understand the importance of funding our education system, but outside of my own experience, I know that it is vital we protect and expand our education system to stay competitive globally. Banning books that teach hard truths about our past does not make us more competitive. Making children terrified to express themselves – including their gender – in a school building does not make us more competitive. 

In Congress, we must work to protect our students from discrimination, and publicly call out attempts to rewrite history in our curriculum. As an elected official, I will not turn a blind eye – as Brian Fitzpatrick has – to the dangerous elements attacking our teachers and librarians as they teach our students. 

COVID19 

It’s sad to see that we now act as if COVID19 no longer exists despite the death toll that continues to climb daily and the fallout for families. These families go seemingly unnoticed, whether from long-term health issues to economic instability. What is your plan or emphasis to help these families? What can be done to help prevent this fallout? 

In Congress, I will support funding for both future pandemic prevention and further research on COVID-19, including on treatment for long COVID. Even more than two years later, there is quite a lot regarding the long-term health effects of COVID that remain unknown, and I believe that granting funding to our world-class research facilities right here in Pennsylvania is essential. Additionally, we must onshore more jobs to both address the global supply chain issues and increase economic prosperity here at home, while expanding access to healthcare for working class families, which will both protect them from further health complications, and assist the entire community. 

Foreign Policy 

How does your approach to foreign policy differ from Congressman Fitzpatrick’s? Can you provide a few examples of where you would do things differently or take different positions? 

As a veteran, I know that principled, rules-based foreign policy is essential to effective American engagement overseas. I also know that we can only effectively advocate for democratic values abroad when we practice them here at home. Ensuring that Americans can vote and safely express their beliefs without violence is just as important to our engagement abroad as fully funding the State Department and our development agencies. Like all policy, foreign policy begins here at home, and we must safeguard our freedoms for all Americans to meaningfully support those freedoms elsewhere.

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Picture of David O'Donnell

David O'Donnell

David O'Donnell recently ran for School Board Director in Pennridge SD. He has been a manager in Retail and Hospitality for over 20 years. He works within the community through organizations such as Pennridge Democrats. He is also a coach in the Pennridge Little League.

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