As Rep. Bill Shuster, R-Hollidaysburg, rolls through his sprawling 9th Congressional District this week to collect signatures on nominating petitions for his re-election bid, his constituents are bringing up many of the same concerns and issues they’ve told him about in the past several years.
“It’s the economy, it’s Obamacare, it’s the uncertainty, it’s the debt and the deficit,” Shuster said Wednesday during a stop at the Indiana Fire Association’s White Township station for an informal “burgers with Bill” dinner.
[PHOTO: U.S. Rep Bill Shuster, R-Hollidaysburg, left, spoke with Jim Douglass, of Indiana, during a campaign event Wednesday at the Indiana Fire Association's White Township station. (Teri Enciso/Gazette photo)]
“I’ve been working hard in Washington, trying to fight back against this president and the Democrats in the Senate,” Shuster said. “But because they control the Senate and because they control the White House, it’s very difficult to get anything done. I myself have voted over 40 times to repeal, dismantle, do something to stop Obamacare, and again it doesn’t move through the Senate. But we still keep up the fight.”
He again stated his opposition to a proposal to grant amnesty to the estimated 12 million illegal immigrants in the U.S. He favors other steps.
“The first thing we need to do is control our borders. Some of that has taken place,” he said.
And, he continued, immigrants to the U.S. should be required to have a verifiable biometric identification card using eye or finger recognition.
“As a business owner, which I was, it’s hard to tell if these (paper) documents are true or false,” Shuster said. “But if they had a card, today with the technology you could swipe that card and say, ‘OK, Bill Shuster’s a legal immigrant here.’ That would stop much of the illegal immigration.
“Those folks who are here illegally … they need to go back to their country and come through the system. Because if you came here illegally, if you broke the law, you shouldn’t be allowed to be here. But if they came here illegally, they’ve worked and paid their taxes and not caused crimes, they ought to be able to go back home and go through a process to be able to come back to America some day.”
Shuster also met earlier in the day with employees of Diamond Drugs in White Township.
He’s scheduled to make stops today in Bedford and Huntingdon counties before traveling on to Franklin County on Friday.
Shuster said informal meet-and-greet events such as the “burgers with Bill” dinner have been successful in his past campaigns.
“I’ve found out it’s a lot easier to bring people to you than trying to get out to them,” he said. “My guess is we’ll get 100 signatures or so (on nomination petitions) tonight. … It’s a good opportunity to say hello and share a burger with them. A lot of these folks have been longtime supporters.”
Shuster, 54, of Hollidaysburg, has been a congressman since he succeeded his father, Rep. Bud Shuster, in 2001. Bud Shuster had held the seat since 1973.
In 2013 Bill Shuster was elected chairman of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee and he serves on the House Armed Services Committee.
As of now, Shuster faces two challengers for the Republican nomination in the spring primary. They are Travis Schooley, of Waynesboro, Franklin County, and Bedford County businessman Art Halvorson.