State Representative Fred Keller, a Republican, said he’s interested in pursuing his party’s nomination for the U.S. House seat that will be open when Rep. Tom Marino steps down.
Marino announced Thursday that he will be leaving Congress to take a job in the private sector. The state will have to hold a special election.
“My conservative record in the state house as well as my career in business, I think, lend to me being well suited to represent the people of the district in congress,” Keller said.
Keller has served in the state House of Representatives since 2011. The district covers most of Union and Snyder counties.
His background includes working in a factory, going on to become plant manager at Conestoga Wood Specialties Corp. Keller and a friend started a business doing residential remodeling, modular home construction and property management.
The 12th district covers all or parts of 15 counties in Pennsylvania. Marino was reelected to the seat in November, and his announcement that he was stepping down surprised many.
Keller says if he's elected responsible budgeting would be a priority, along with making sure the government is responsive. Workforce readiness, the opioid crisis and health care are other priorities.
“There’s a lot of issues and a lot of things to tackle," Keller said. "But, first and foremost, I think we need to look at what we do financially to make sure we have the resources available.”
Keller said when it comes to ending the government shutdown over the border wall President Trump wants to build, all those involved should be adults.
“There are some issues that need to be addressed," he said. "We need to sit down and look for solutions where everybody comes to the table.”
Marc Friedenberg, a Democrat who ran against Marino in the fall, has said he’s interested in being his party’s nominee.
The Democratic and Republican parties will choose their nominees for the seat, and Gov. Tom Wolf will have to schedule a special election.