Keller lands Republican nomination

MARK NANCE/Sun-Gazette State Rep. Fred Keller, left, answers questions from the media as U.S. Rep. Glenn ‘GT’ Thompson, R-Howard, looks on.

Republican conferees nominated the state representative from Union and Snyder counties out of nearly 20 candidates, Saturday, to run for former Rep. Tom Marino’s seat in Congress, who resigned in January.

Following nearly seven hours of debate and four rounds of voting, the GOP selected State Rep. Fred Keller, R-Mifflinburg, out of 14 candidates, citing his humble origins and connection to the people of the 12th Congressional district.

Coming off of his recent win to serve a fifth term as a state lawmaker, Keller, 58, will run again against Democratic Nominee Marc Friedenberg on May 21.

After running his campaign for state representative, Keller said he knows the people of the 12th congressional district work hard, are intelligent and it’s his privilege to campaign for the congressional seat.

“I want to point out the campaign begins now,” said Keller.

Friedenberg is out of touch in wanting to align himself with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi,D-Calif., and socialists like Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vermont, and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., said Keller.

In particular, Keller seeks to push back against the Green New Deal, which he said Friedenberg supports.

“It’s estimated to cost $93 trillion in new taxes, which means the cost of $600,000 to Pennsylvanian families,” said Keller. Instead, Keller said he would rather focus on oil, part of which comes from Pennsylvania, to support United States’ energy independence from non-allied countries.

Keller also disagrees with Medicare for all, which he said is the government takeover of health care.

“These are ideas that we shouldn’t be pushing down to the people but the people should push up to us,” said Keller. “We need someone in Washington who will use pragmatic, conservative principles to ensure liberty freedom and respect to the rule of law.”

Keller said he seeks to do his research on the issues he comes in contact with and will disagree with President Donald Trump when he finds it necessary, but added that he will “probably agree with him most of the time.”

“It’s tough to argue against ‘America first’ in jobs,” he said.

If elected, Keller said he will focus on fiscal issues and employment, which he said is the best social policy.

Fiscally, Keller said he wants to limit government spending, while still providing veterans with the care they need and the military with resources to protect United States domestically and abroad.

Reaching across the aisle, Keller said he wants to work with Democrats on improving infrastructure.

Tom Marino, who was only present in the last stages of the nomination process and did not offer his own recommendation, said he wanted to be sure it was the conferees who made the decision.

Citing Keller’s roots as a factory worker who moved to a manager position, Marino said, “We need that type of person in D.C.”

U.S. Rep. Glenn Thompson, R-Howard, who served as Dean of the Pennsylvania Congressional Republican Delegation, said the nomination process was a great success and the voting members were highly representative of 12th district’s 15 counties.