Republican Lisa Scheller making her second bid in 7th Congressional District

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Republican Lisa Scheller is making her second try at running in the 7th Congressional District.

Scheller, of Allentown, is president and CEO of Silberline Manufacturing, a global aluminum pigment company.

She is again facing incumbent Democrat Susan Wild, a lawyer from South Whitehall Township. Wild, who is seeking her third, two-year term, defeated Scheller 51.9 percent to 48.1 percent in 2020.

The 7th includes Lehigh, Northampton and Carbon counties and in Monroe County, Eldred and Polk townships and about half of Ross Township.

The district leans Republican now that Carbon County was added, and most of Monroe County was eliminated, under a newly drawn map. FiveThirtyEight, which analyzes political data, is calling the race a toss up.

Scheller has described herself as “a trailblazer in the world of business and a successful reformer in public service, embracing both roles with a sense of humanity and purpose.”

She has spent the summer and fall traveling across the district, meeting with business leaders and constituents.

“Our communities are diverse. We have farmers, we have businesses, we have manufacturers. We have people of every background. But there are values we all share – values that should unite us, not divide us,” Scheller said. “Those are the values I’ll carry with me to Congress.”

One of Scheller’s main campaign messages has been to tie Wild to the high inflation rate and high gas prices.

“Susan Wild ignored economists’ warnings and voted for trillions of dollars in new spending that has led to the highest inflation in 40 years—and our families and businesses are paying the price. With the rising costs of gas, groceries and housing, it’s becoming harder and harder for Pennsylvanians to stay afloat,” she said on her campaign website.

Scheller also has touted her experience in a global industry, saying it has given her the experience and leadership skills needed to serve in the House of Representatives.

She has criticized Wild for running abortion ads that, according to The Morning Call, were “partially misleading” when it came to her positions.

Scheller entered the summer with nearly $2 million less in campaign funds than Wild.

Scheller had $1,190,663 in cash on hand in the FEC reporting quarter that began on April 28 and ended June 30. She has loaned her campaign $610,000. Wild had $3,143,371 in cash on hand. For more details, click here. 

Scheller has a bachelor’s degree in math from the University of Colorado, Boulder, and a master’s degree in manufacturing systems engineering from Lehigh University.

She worked at Unisys and Sperry Corporation before becoming the data processing manager at Silberline in 1987.

Ten years later, after the sudden death of her brother Ernest Scheller III, she became president and CEO of the company founded in 1945 by her immigrant paternal grandfather. Scheller has been chairman and CEO since 2017. Scheller is a multi-millionaire due to her role in Silberline and investment income.

She is twice divorced, and has two grown children. She again has pledged to donate her congressional salary to veterans’ causes in the Lehigh Valley.

In 2011, angered by a 16 percent tax hike, Scheller ran and won an at-large seat on the Lehigh County Board of Commissioners. In the primary race, she was among three Republicans who targeted incumbent Republican Dean Browning over his support of the tax hike and won seats.

Scheller was named chairperson of the board in 2013. She decided not to seek a second term because of time issues with her business. 

In 2020, Scheller ran in the June 2 primary for the 7th Congressional District seat where she defeated Browning with 52.1 percent of the voteBrowning is the Republican candidate in this year’s 14th Senate District race. In the 2020 general election, Wild defeated Scheller 51.9 percent to 48.1 percent.

In the May 17 primary, Scheller defeated Kevin Dellicker of Heidelberg Township, 51.33 percent to 48.67 percent, to become the GOP nominee in the 7th.

This year, Scheller, among others, was endorsed by Trump’s former Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo, Trump defender U.S. Rep. Elise Stefanik’s E-PAC and Republican Nikki Haley, former ambassador to the United Nations.

Issues

Abortion: In an April debate, Scheller said, “Yes, I am open to it” when asked if she would support a federal law making it a crime for a physician to perform an abortion if a heartbeat is detectible unless the life of the mother is at stake. In the same debate, she said would not support a human life amendment to the U.S. Constitution. She said she would not vote to ban the RU 486, a pill used to end pregnancies up to 10 weeks. She also said would vote to allow abortions if the health of the mother is in question, but her life is not in danger. She further would allow abortions in cases of rape and incest. She said she would never vote in favor of a law to codify Roe v. Wade. She said she is in favor of defunding Planned Parenthood.

In late August, Scheller removed the issues section from her campaign website, which had listed her stances on issues such as abortion. Her campaign said it was due to planned upgrades. By mid-September, the issues section was restored but did not include abortion.

How Carbon County voters could decide the winner of 7th Congressional District

A Sept. 9 ad watch by The Morning Call found that political ads by Wild and the House Majority Pac are “partially misleading” on Scheller’s position on abortion.

Biden agenda: Scheller is opposed to President Joe Biden’s agenda, which she points out is supported by Wild. Her campaign did not respond to questions on where she stood on recent Biden victories that included the Bipartisan Safer Communities ActProtecting our Kids Act,  PACT Act , and CHIPS + Science Act. She previously said the $1.2 trillion infrastructure bill that is now law does not address the real needs of communities. She said the move to make Washington, D.C., a state is part of a ”radical left agenda” to grab power. She said Biden’s “disorganized” withdrawal from Afghanistan led to the Taliban’s rapid rise to power.

Silberline: Scheller has criticized Wild for political ads that she says make inaccurate claims that she is shipping jobs to China. She said she has never shipped jobs to China. She has noted that Siberline is a 100 percent American-owned company.

Besides Rush Township, Silberline has manufacturing plants and/or offices in the United Kingdom, India, Brazil, Mexico, Singapore, and China. Siberlina the the e employs about 700 people worldwide. The company listed 142 employees for purposes of obtaining COVID-19 relief loans, according to www.federalpay.org.

1998 article in The Morning Call said Silberline employed 360 people in its U.S. operations.

In 2016, Siberline closed a plant in Lansford, Carbon County, saying the jobs were moved to Rush Township. In 2019, the company closed a plant in Decatur, Indiana, a move that affected about 50 people. Silberine was quoted as saying the closure was part of its “ongoing effort to shrink its geographic footprint and consolidate operations into a smaller number of locations.”

The same year, Silberline expanded its facilities in Hometown to allow for the production of pigments that are compatible in water-borne coating systems, which are more sustainable.

The company is also opening a new plant in China in 2023, according to CEO magazine.

Scheller also criticized Wild for a political ad that the League of Conservation Voters’s PAC  pulled after Scheller’s campaign said it contained inaccurate accusations regarding Silberline’s environmental record. Under federal law candidates and PACs are not allowed to communicate on things such as ad buys.

Wild was aware of the finished ad, retweeting the PAC’s tweet on it. She then deleted the tweet.

Pa. Rep. Susan Wild holds $2M advantage over Republican Scheller in 7th District congressional race

Second Amendment: Scheller is a member of the National Rifle Association who posts photos of herself holding firearms. In August, she attended the New Tripoli Guns and Cash Bash where guns were raffled off to raise money for the fire department. In 2020, the NRA said it supports her because she favors concealed carry reciprocity legislation, opposes a ban on semi-automatic firearms and magazines, and opposes a universal background check system, among other things.

Economy and taxes:  In July 2021, Scheller signed a no-tax-hike pledge for Grover Norquist’s group, Americans for Tax Reform.

COVID-19/PPP Loans: Scheller called the $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief package that was passed in March 2021 a “socialist boondoggle.” In 2020 and 2021, hercompany saw slightly more than $5 million in Paycheck Protection Program loans forgiven, according to ProPublica’s PPP tracking system. 

GOP hopeful Scheller slams Biden’s student debt plan. Her company had PPP loans wiped clean

Mail-in-voting: In 2020, Scheller strongly urged senior voters to vote by mail to keep them safe during the pandemic, setting up a special web page to help them. 

Education: On her previous campaign page, Scheller said she wants to “stand up to the woke cancel culture that is threatening our First Amendment rights.” She supports school choice, saying the 2021 elections showed parents want to be involved in their children’s education.

Scheller said she wants to stop primary and secondary schools from teaching critical race theory, a concept that is taught in law schools but is commonly used by Republicans to refer to lessons instilled with diversity, ethnic inclusion, and the history of racism.

Scheller is opposed to Biden’s student loan forgiveness initiative, saying it means the state’s “working families will be forced to pay off the debts of doctorate degree elites.”

The Biden administration’s plan to cancel student debt for millions of Americans includes income thresholds for eligibility. Individual borrowers making less than $125,000 per year, and married couples earning less than $250,000 per year, are eligible.

“No high-income individual or high-income household – in the top 5% of incomes – will benefit from this action,” an August statement from the White House reads.

Philanthropy

In 2018, Scheller revealed she is a recovered addict who began drinking at age 11 and later used heroin. She entered into a treatment program at 22 and has remained sober.

Also in 2018, she founded Hope & Coffee in Tamaqua, Schuylkill County, a nonprofit coffee shop and meeting place that seeks to bring persons recovering from alcohol and drug dependency back into the job market.

Scheller has long funded programs at Lehigh Carbon Community College. They include the Lisa Jane Scheller Technology Scholarship, which provides LCCC tuition to students of Lehigh Career and Technical Institute and Carbon Career and Technical Institute.

She also funded the Roberta and Ernest Scheller Jr. Family Foundation Scholarship, which provides scholarships to LCCC graduates from Tamaqua Area High School who pursue further education at four-year colleges in Pennsylvania.

Correspondent Katherine Reinhard covers the Lehigh Valley for the Capital-Star. She wrote this piece for the political newsletter Armchair Lehigh Valley, where it first appeared.





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