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O’Keeffe has eye on Congress in 2012
Patrick O’Keeffe, current Democratic candidate for Warwick School Board, plans to run for Congress in 2012.
He made the announcement last week during committee meetings of the Warwick and Manheim Township Democrats, and told the Record Express this week that it does not affect his candidacy for school board.
O’Keeffe said he has no intention of campaigning locally for Joe Pitts’ Congressional seat between now and the General Election in November. His recent announcement, he said, was more for organizational purposes.
He explained his objectives in a mass e-mail that went out to Democratic leaders in Lancaster, Berks and Chester counties (the constituency of the 16th U.S. Congressional District). The Record Express was copied on the June 1 correspondence:
My friends and fellow Democrats,
Earlier tonight I announced that I am a candidate for the Democratic nomination for U.S. Representative for our congressional district. The election for this office takes place in 2012, but I am announcing now to give us time to effectively organize our district to win that election and to re-elect President Obama, and Senator Casey. We need them to continue their efforts to improve our lives.
Improve our lives, that really sums up what it is all about. We have two national parties. One believes that the government does nothing right and should be dismantled. The other believes that government can work and works best when citizens are involved and engaged. One tries to limit who can vote. The other works to protect peoples’ right to vote. One party seems interested in addressing only the concerns of the wealthiest among us. The other is working to improve the lives of all Americans. In my opinion, one party, the Democratic Party, believes in America and the potential for greatness that still exists here. As for the Republicans, well, I have difficulty understanding what they believe.
I will work to protect Medicare and Social Security. If shared sacrifice is necessary, I will make sure that it is shared evenly, not dumped on the backs of working Americans, giving the wealthiest a free ride. Most importantly, I will make sure that our government (remember it belongs to us) continues to be a strong protector of our rights, as well as a protector of our environment, our economy, our security and our future. America is not a weak country and we cannot allow Republicans to succeed in their goal of giving us a weak government.
So now the O’Keeffe 2012 campaign begins. I have been so fortunate in the past to have the help and support of so many people. We need to continue to support each other. We need to work hard to elect our candidates to municipal and judicial offices in 2011. We need to keep in mind the coming challenges of 2012 where the Republicans will try to deny us our President and Senator. We must come together around our common Democratic values. One of the great things about the Democratic Party is it allows room for intelligent discussion and honest differences in points of view, but in the end, we must remember that we are a greater force for good working together than we are going it alone.
Someone who I believe would have made a terrific progressive Democrat, the great Pennsylvanian Ben Franklin, once said, "We must, indeed, all hang together, or assuredly we shall all hang separately." We are now living in serious times and these are not times for timid or divisive Democrats. I will be a proud, bold team player for the Democratic Party. I look forward to working with all of you as we progress towards victory in 2011 and 2012.
F. Patrick O’Keeffe
Democratic Candidate for Congress
Gabe Neville, spokesman for the current 16th District Congressman, Republican Joe Pitts, had this to say about O’Keeffe’s announcement and assessment of Republicans:
"Congressman Pitts is focused on ending our unemployment crisis, restoring strength to our economy, and bringing federal spending under control. The time for campaigning is still a year away. Until then, both parties need to work together. Our challenges are too serious for us to waste time on partisan jousting."
O’Keeffe graduated from the Georgia Institute of Technology with a degree in management and has worked in a variety of segments in the food industry. He is currently director of nutrition services at a continuing care retirement community in Lancaster. He has been a candidate for Lititz Borough Council and Pennsylvania General Assembly, and serves on an advisory committee to the Warwick School Board. He has been an active volunteer on Lois Herr’s campaigns for Congress, as well as a supporter of many other candidates and the Democratic Party. He and his wife Marianne have a daughter, Mary, who is a junior in high school, and a son Jack, who is a sophomore at Clarion University. More O’KEEFFE, page A20