Congress member John Joyce recently announced his reelection bid. In his announcement there were some things he said that stuck out to me.
In his announcement Joyce said, “From day one in office, I have worked to defend life, our Second Amendment rights, our homeland security and our conservative Pennsylvania values in Washington.” Huntingdon County has consistently had one of the highest unemployment rates in Pennsylvania. Businesses have left our county; the industrial park is but a relic; and our population is aging as younger people continue to leave. So, how does defending life, our Second Amendment rights, homeland security and our conservative values translate into bringing new jobs here? Why is not enhancing our county’s economy not tops on his agenda?
Joyce voted against the recent Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, stating his opposition was in part because the bill did not include funding for Route 219. This act will bring money to Huntingdon County to fix our roads and bridges, as well as help to expand broadband access which are all critical needs for us. Further, it will bring needed jobs which should enhance the economy of the county. Why are these things unimportant to Joyce?
The representative also extolled his medical experience in his announcement: “my wife Alice and I raised our family and practiced medicine for over 25 years… in south central Pennsylvania.” He is bound by the Hippocratic Oath which includes the phrase, “I will do no harm or injustice to them.” How does opposing reasonable gun control not harm us? How about voting against capping insulin at $35 per month? Are we not harmed by his efforts to repeal instead of strengthen the Affordable Care Act? Do I mention the harm caused by maintaining discrimination against the LGBTQ+ community while continuing the oppressive discrimination tax? Are families, individuals and businesses not harmed by not raising the minimum wage? What about his vote to increase childhood poverty? Is he not harming ourselves and future generations by denying that climate change is real?
Joyce’s “work to defend life” is more about life in the womb rather than outside. His defense of “our Second Amendment rights” appeases the NRA more than the people in this district. Indeed, it appears that Joyce chooses to serve the narrow interests of the Retrumplican Party instead of the broader interests of all the constituents in his district. When was the last time he held an open town hall meeting in Huntingdon County?
Most probably Joyce will cruise to reelection as his supporters expect no real results from his work. We will not be better until we expect and demand better.