U.S. House District 17: Conor Lamb vs. Sean Parnell | Election Guide | Pittsburgh | Pittsburgh City Paper

U.S. House District 17: Conor Lamb vs. Sean Parnell

click to enlarge U.S. House District 17: Conor Lamb vs. Sean Parnell
CP Illustration: Abbie Adams
Pennsylvania's 17th Congressional District includes all of Beaver County, parts of Cranberry in Butler County, Mt. Lebanon, Dormont, Castle Shannon, Carnegie, Crafton, Ingram, all of Western Allegheny County, Oakmont, Verona, most of Penn Hills, and all Allegheny County municipalities north of the Allegheny River, with the exception of Pittsburgh’s North Side. Rep. Conor Lamb is the incumbent.

Conor Lamb

BIO: The Democratic incumbent was first elected in an upset special election in early 2018. Lamb won re-election in the newly drawn 17th district in November 2018. Graduated from Central Catholic High School in Pittsburgh and the University of Pennsylvania. A Marine veteran and former federal prosecutor. Lives in Mt. Lebanon.

HEALTH CARE: Acknowledges flaws in the Affordable Care Act, but supports keeping the law and fixing it. Says if Republicans are successful in repealing it, health care costs will go up for most people, especially those with pre-existing conditions. Says Republicans in the Senate are stopping any fixes passed by the House.

FRACKING: Supports natural-gas drilling, aka fracking, and opposes any ban on it. Backs methane leak reduction along pipelines and carbon emissions technologies at power plants. Lifetime score of 85% from the League of Conservation Voters.

COVID: Says Congress should be focusing on passing another coronavirus relief bill instead of trying to confirm a Supreme Court justice this close to the election. Criticized the Trump administration for low PPE supplies early in the pandemic. Called for multiple investigations into Brighton Rehabilitation and Wellness Center, formerly a COVID hotspot.

ENDORSEMENTS: End Citizens United, Equality PAC, Everytown for Gun Safety, Pennsylvania AFL-CIO, United Food and Commercial Workers Local 1776 Keystone State, United Mine Workers of America, Humane Society Legislative Fund, Feminist Majority Political Action Committee, VoteVets.org

Sean Parnell

BIO: Republican challenger and Fox News contributor who lives in Ohio Township and grew up in Western Pa. Army veteran who was awarded a Purple Heart for his duty in Afghanistan. Has written several books about his time in the Army. Said last year the idea of independent women is “nonsense.”

HEALTH CARE: Says Americans should have “the freedom to choose a health care plan that fits their needs.” Wants to replace ACA with a Republican-backed bill claiming to protect pre-existing conditions. This bill would be subject to current GOP-backed court challenge that would do away with those protections if successful, and offers fewer protections than ACA. The bill would also allow insurers to exclude coverage for maternity care, mental health, and substance use treatment.

FRACKING: Supports fracking industry; alleges Joe Biden and Lamb won’t protect industry. Claims over 100,000 oil and gas jobs in Western Pa. would vanish under Biden (there are only about 26,000 fracking jobs in the state.)

COVID: Advocated several times in May that the state needed to reopen during the coronavirus shutdowns. Did not mention economic relief then. Criticized Gov. Wolf’s reopening plan, claiming Wolf was waiting for a vaccine before allowing business to reopen. In September, said coronavirus relief should be “directly tethered to the actual virus itself.”

ENDORSEMENTS: President Donald Trump, Fraternal Order of Police Lodge #1, National Rifle Association, Firearms Owners Against Crime, SEAL PAC military political group, Citizens United Political Victory Fund conservative political group