“As a single mother, teacher, and cancer survivor, Kristy Gnibus knows how hard Pennsylvanians work to make ends meet. Her story, and the values on which she’s running, couldn’t be more different than Congressman Mike Kelly’s record of enriching himself at his constituents’ expense. Come November, Pennsylvanians will have a clear choice between another typical Washington politician and a neighbor who knows their struggles.” – DCCC Chairwoman Cheri Bustos
To: Interested Parties
From: Courtney Rice, DCCC Regional Press Secretary
Date: June 2, 2020
Subject: The Case Against Mike Kelly
Congressman Mike Kelly has spent his entire career in Washington looking out for himself. He personally pushed to add a provision to the GOP tax scam that gave auto dealers like himself a tax break. Not only did Kelly personally benefit from this, but one of his campaign donors had also been pushing for this amendment. And to round it all off, Kelly has a long history of selling cars with open safety recalls at his dealership, proving that he’s willing to put his own profits above the safety and wellbeing of Pennsylvania drivers. That’s on top of his record of gutting access to health care and protections for pre-existing conditions.
Voters will see a clear contrast between Congressman Kelly and Kristy Gnibus. As a single mother raising two girls, and working as a teacher, Gnibus knows firsthand just how hard Pennsylvanians work to make ends meet. In college, Gnibus was diagnosed with ovarian cancer and had to learn to juggle medical bills, work, and classes. She understands as well as anyone the toll that worrying about how to pay for health care can take. Unlike Congressman Kelly who voted repeatedly to cut protections for pre-existing conditions and make health care more expensive, Gnibus will fight to expand access to affordable care.
Gnibus’ grounding in this blue-collar district, coupled with the disastrous votes Kelly has taken against the interests of Pennsylvanians and his use of political power to financially benefit, make this district a unique pickup opportunity for Democrats in a year where health care and Washington-style corruption are once again on the ballot.
WHAT THEY’RE SAYING
WATCH: Congressional candidate, Kristy Gnibus on hand to discuss the importance of the Affordable Care Act. [Erie News Now, 03/12/20]
HEADLINE: Republican Likens New Tax Law To The Mona Lisa. [HuffPost, 03/27/19]
HEADLINE: GOP Congressman Busted For Selling Used Cars Facing Safety Recalls Busted Again For Exact Same Thing. [Daily Kos, 11/26/19]
HEADLINE: Action News Investigates questions congressman about vehicles with open safety recalls sold at his car dealership. [WTAE, 11/21/19]
Mike Kelly: A Typical DC Politician Who Is More Concerned With Lining His Own Pockets Than Pennsylvanians’ Well-Being
KELLY’S HEALTH CARE RECORD MAKES PENNSYLVANIANS SICK
Congressman Mike Kelly has spent the past ten years obsessing over how to take away Pennsylvanians’ access to affordable health care.
Here’s how: Kelly voted to gut protections and access to affordable care by voting 12 times to repeal the Affordable Care Act, which guarantees young people can stay on their parent’s insurance until age 26 and that people with pre-existing conditions like asthma, cancer, or diabetes won’t be charged more or kicked off their insurance. Then Kelly repeatedly voted to advance a partisan legal campaign against the ACA, including voting against defending our current health care system in court as recently as last year. Kelly also voted for the Republican’s failed 2017 health care repeal bill. This bill would have gutted protections for 281,400 Pennsylvanians in the 16th District with pre-existing conditions, imposed an age tax, and made health care less accessible and more expensive. 798,700 Pennsylvanians who rely on Medicaid would also be at risk of losing their health care coverage.
Now, Kelly is taking his attacks on his constituents’ health care one step further, voting against commonsense, bipartisan legislation to lower the cost of prescription drugs. As a reminder: voters consistently rank the high cost of medicine among their top concerns. This commonsense legislation would have reduced drug prices by 55 percent, lowered health care premiums, and capped seniors’ out-of-pocket costs for prescription drugs at $2,000 per year, according to CBO projections.
As a single mother with two young children, Kristy Gnibus understands the difficult choice many in northwestern Pennsylvania face between paying for medicine and doctor visits or making a car payment and putting food on the table. In Congress, she’ll make sure that the working families in her district aren’t forgotten.
THE KELLY KICKBACK
Congressman Kelly was a key supporter of the GOP tax scam that wrote a massive giveaway to big corporations and the wealthiest few at the expense of the middle class, and it’s clear Congressman Kelly has used his position in Congress to line his own pockets rather than provide much-needed relief to Pennsylvanians. But Kelly isn’t just pushing legislation that benefits his wealthy contributors and special interests. Kelly pushed for an amendment to the tax scam 2.0 that would give auto dealers, like himself, a greater tax deduction on the interest on loans they used to purchase vehicles for sale. Not only did this benefit Kelly’s business, but the amendment was a “top priority” for the National Automobile Dealers Association who, conveniently, has given Kelly $55,000 since he first ran for Congress in 2009, the fifth-highest amount of any contributor to his campaigns.
KELLY’S CARS ARE AS DANGEROUS AS HIS POLITICAL AGENDA
It’s not only through tax breaks to auto dealers that Congressman Kelly is taking advantage of his political power to benefit himself personally. In 2015, Kelly advocated for a federal bill that would have allowed car dealers to rent or loan vehicles with open safety recalls. During consideration of the bill, Kelly assured his colleagues in the House that “there is not a single person in our business that would ever put one of our owners in a defective car or a car with a recall. But that could happen. That could happen.” Kelly clearly wasn’t looking in the mirror when he made that pledge because, when Pennsylvania later passed a law allowing dealers to sell cars with open recalls as long as they are disclosed to buyers, Kelly rushed to take advantage of it. Multiple investigations have since uncovered that Kelly’s car dealership is in fact selling cars that had “potentially dangerous defects.” Of course when it came time to answering questions, Congressman Kelly repeatedly dodged questions from investigative reporters on the subject.
Path to Victory
This blue-collar district in northwest Pennsylvania is ripe for a Democratic pickup in a blue wave. In 2018, the Democratic candidate received 47.8% of the major party, while Senator Casey won 48.9% and Governor Wolf earned 50.4%.
Kristy Gnibus’ standing in the district as a teacher and community member enable her to reach out to voters in a way that Congressman Kelly has long since abandoned. From knowing firsthand the importance of protecting health care for people with pre-existing conditions to the necessity of earning a living wage, Gnibus will go to Congress to fight for the needs of her community – unlike Congressman Kelly who went to Washington and turned his back on his constituents in order to enrich himself.