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Originally published on Oct 10, 2018

news from the trail: pa-06

The Philadelphia Inquirer, 10/23/18

Two years ago, when Democrat Chrissy Houlahan began running for Congress, people told the military veteran and former high school teacher to stay away from one topic:

Gun control.

"There was a caution to me … that it wasn't a quote-unquote winning issue," she recalled.

But she ignored the advice. And since she announced her candidacy, a rash of mass shootings, including the one in February in Parkland, Fla., have rocked the country. Supporting major gun-control policies, she has been endorsed by gun-safety groups and is favored to win a newly redrawn seat that in its last configuration has been long held by Republicans.

In addition to spending, other signs point to gun control being the louder side this year: The NRA removed its long-noted archive of candidate grades from its website. Houlahan's opponent, Greg McCauley (who supports several of the gun-control measures Houlahan does while also supporting concealed carry reciprocity and opposing an assault weapons ban), took a pro-gun section off his web page early in the campaign. 

The Times of Chester County, 10/21/18

Endorsement: Chrissy Houlahan for Congress

In this year’s race for the new and open Sixth Congressional District seat — a seat that now encompasses all of Chester County as well as the southern portion of Berks County — we have Democrat Chrissy Houlahan facing Republican Greg McCauley, both first-time candidates for office.

Unlike the visceral, top of the ticket races for U.S. Senate and Governor, this race, thankfully, has been more about issues and policy, with some fairly substantive discussions on many of the issues that face the country today.

Houlahan is advocating support and repair of the ACA, to broaden access to affordable health care for the community at large. She has not embraced a single-payer or Medicare for all model, bravely defying the left in her party demanding a stronger and potentially costly government intervention into health care.

The two differ strongly on tax policy, too.

Houlahan strongly opposed the tax cuts — which despite claims by GOP leaders — appears to have strongly increased the federal budget deficit without offering broad economic benefit to those in the lower and middle income brackets. McCauley, a tax attorney and fast-food franchise owner, suggests that he has fought “overbearing taxes and regulations” for his business clients. He supported the GOP tax plan, although he decries the deficit and suggests it could be closed through cutting waste and fraud, a somewhat tired refrain from generations of politicians who never seem to find much in the way of said fraud and waste once elected.

The two differ on a multitude of other issues, from a women’s right to choose — Houlahan is pro-choice, McCauley is not. Houlahan supports “common sense” gun safety measures, such as universal background checks, closing the gun shot loophole, restricting high-capacity magazines and renewing the federal Assault Weapon ban. 

Lastly, with the excesses of the Trump Administration and what appears to be ongoing aiding and abetting of obstruction of justice by some members of the U.S. House of Representatives (and little more than allegedly angry Tweets from GOP members who disagree), never before has it been more important to elect house members who will serve as a check to the more outlandish actions of the president. We need a Congress that will fulfill its Constitutional duty to  hold the White House accountable. While we have no doubt that Houlahan would do so, we reasonably have doubts whether McCauley — or any Republican, based on the behaviors seen in the last two years — can be trusted to embrace this fundamental duty.

At the end of the day, this is not a difficult choice. Houlahan’s positions are a better match for the largely moderate people of Chester County. Her experience in a wide range of areas will bring much to the halls of Congress badly in need less insular members. And we can trust her to be an advocate for the people, not a small number of powerful special interest groups.

The Times endorses Chrissy Houlahan for Congress from the Sixth District of Pennsylvania.

The Philadelphia Inquirer, 10/14/18

Pennsylvania's Sixth Congressional District: Democrat Chrissy Houlahan, a military veteran, has prioritized gun-control in her campaign, holding in September a meeting with gun-violence survivors, activists, and Kelly and Giffords. Giffords, Everytown and the Brady Campaign endorsed her. She favors universal background checks, renewing the assault weapons ban, restricting high-capacity magazines, and allowing the CDC to study gun violence.

Republican Greg McCauley, an NRA member, says he supports both "common-sense gun safety" and the Second Amendment. He backs expanding background checks, raising the purchase age for semiautomatic firearms to 21, and expanding mental health care. He also supports concealed carry reciprocity, fortifying schools, and armed officers in schools, and opposes renewing an assault weapons ban.

Politics PA, 10/10/18

Today, Democratic candidate for Pennsylvania’s 6th Congressional District, Chrissy Houlahan released her first television ad of the general election cycle. The 30 second ad, “Service” depicts Houlahan running through different stages of her life, while detailing her upbringing and professional career leading up to her run for Congress.

“This is my life,” Houlahan says to start the ad as she is running outside of a house. “Dad served in the Navy. We lived in 10 homes in 12 years. My Mom taught me to love math and science.” 

Houlahan continues to detail her professional career in the ad from earning a scholarship, becoming an engineer, serving in the Air Force, and several more careers leading up to her bid for public office.

“This ad perfectly captures Chrissy’s deep roots of service to her country and to the people of Southeastern Pennsylvania,” said Houlahan campaign spokesperson, Matt Sonneborn. “Chrissy has spent her life lifting and serving the people around her as a teacher, a job creator and as an engineer in the U.S. Air Force. As you watch the ad, you see those values building around Chrissy as she runs, culminating in the core message: she’s running for all of us, to continue serving her country and her community.”

Houlahan is facing Republican Greg McCauley for the newly drawn 6th Congressional District open seat. Rep. Ryan Costello (R-Chester) announced he was not seeking reelection in May.

The Philadelphia Inquirer, 10/10/18

Chrissy Houlahan, a Chester County Democrat running for U.S. House, has launched her campaign ad on television, joining two other women congressional candidates in the Philadelphia suburbs on the air.

Houlahan's 30-second ad began airing Wednesday morning in the Philadelphia television market. It features Houlahan running at every stage of her life — grade school, the Air Force and in her professional life.

"My mom taught me to love math and science. I became an engineer on an ROTC scholarship. Then in the Air Force, I prepared for the aftermath of nuclear war," Houlahan says as she narrates the scenes of a younger version of her running. Then the video shows Houlahan as she looks today. "I was COO of a successful start-up. A chemistry teacher in North Philadelphia. Then led a literacy nonprofit. I'm Chrissy Houlahan and I approve this message because service is my life. Serving in congress will be about yours."

Houlahan is running in the Sixth District against Republican Greg McCauley to replace Republican Ryan Costello, who decided to not seek reelection.

VISTA Today, 10/4/18

Chrissy Houlahan, the Democratic nominee for U.S. Representative from Pennsylvania’s Sixth Congressional District, speaks with VISTA Today about growing up as “a Navy brat,” moving around a lot when she was younger, and her interest in swimming.

The daughter of a Holocaust survivor, Houlahan also discusses her education at Stanford and MIT, as well as the time she spent growing AND1, the successful basketball apparel company that was based in Paoli. She also elaborates on her broad experiences in different sectors of society, and how that has made her the quintessential candidate for Congress.

What are your current challenges and opportunities? What are you focused on?

As I enter the closing weeks of my campaign for Congress, I’m mostly focused on communicating what I believe in. In speaking to a vast majority of voters, people are troubled by what’s happening in our government and the way we communicate with one another. We need to bring a kind of trust back to our government that is focused on solutions, whether that’s healthcare or good jobs or a great education or just being able to retire with security and dignity.

What kind of Solutions can you bring to the table?

Because I have broad experience in different aspects of our society – military, business, and education – I think I have a unique perspective to bring to Washington. These are the fundamental pillars of what it means to be a citizen of our country – to serve and protect, to work at and lead a business that cares for people and our planet, and to educate our kids.

I’ve heard from many voters about jobs, education, healthcare, and security. I have a lot of experience in each of these areas that I consider basic human needs. I’m heartened by the fact that people are responding by expressing their values and volunteering for the campaign – whether that means calling voters, knocking on doors, or making a donation. We’ve become so civically engaged recently because people are genuinely worried about our future.

I’ve been able to be successful here because of the opportunities that Chester County has provided–to be an innovator, an entrepreneur, an educator, and raise a family. Those first-hand experiences would be especially valuable for me and for us in Washington.

One of the foremost reasons I was motivated to run, in addition to the political climate of today and the current administration, is that our Pennsylvania Congressional delegation doesn’t have much diversity: most of our Congressional representatives have never served in the military, started or grown a business, or taught kids in school. My business, military, and classroom experiences will be important for making legislative decisions that are right for Pennsylvania families and communities.

What’s been your best experience thus far on the campaign trail?

Some of my best experiences are actually some of the worst too — when I get a letter, or a phone call, or a hug from somebody who is really worried. Just the other day a woman reached out to me saying she was a Republican and wanted me to know that she was going to vote for me and had volunteered to help my campaign, but she was genuinely scared for our future.

Those types of conversations humble me and show me what is at stake for many of my voters. I find it amazing when people share their fears and hopes with me to remind me why I’m running: so I can make a difference for them. 

The Wall Street Journal, 9/10/18

COATESVILLE, Pa.—Chrissy Houlahan nursed a chocolate milkshake at a diner here on her way to a gun-control event and pondered the changing political nature of this Philadelphia suburb, which has been represented in Congress by an uninterrupted chain of Republicans for more than 100 years.

“If you had told me 10 years ago, here in Chester County, that we were having a conversation about this issue, I would not have believed you,” said Ms. Houlahan, the Democratic candidate for Congress representing Chester County.

The new political dynamic was evident Friday, when Ms. Houlahan appeared in Coatesville with former Arizona Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, who was shot in the head outside a supermarket in 2011, and her husband Mark Kelly, the former astronaut who now runs Giffords: Courage to Fight Gun Violence, the gun control organization named for his wife.

Mr. Kelly and Ms. Giffords are in the midst of a nationwide tour stumping for Democratic candidates who back proposals such as universal background checks for gun purchases.

On Friday, they appeared with Ms. Houlahan and Mikie Sherrill, the favorite to win one of four of New Jersey’s competitive House races.

Among those here to support Ms. Houlahan was Nicole Bowman, a marketing writer from nearby Reading, Pa. After the school shooting earlier this year in Parkland, Fla., Ms. Bowman, 37 years old, started a local chapter of Moms Demand Action, the gun-control group backed by former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg. More than 100 people attended the first meeting.

“For a while it was a helpless feeling here,” Ms. Bowman said. “Now we have overwhelming support.”

Daily Local, 9/8/18

COATESVILLE – Community members and local activists met with 6th District Democratic congressional candidate Chrissy Houlahan and former U.S. Rep. Gabrielle “Gabby” Giffords, D-Ariz. for an anti-gun violence roundtable discussion at the New Life in Christ Fellowship church Friday afternoon.

Houlahan and Giffords were joined by Giffords’ husband, former astronaut and retired Navy Captain Mark Kelly, and Dan Helmer, an Iraq and Afghanistan War veteran and vice chair of VoteVets, a political action committee that supports veterans’ interests.

Houlahan, who is a retired Air Force captain, said fighting gun violence has been a key issue in her campaign for Congress, and she can bring a unique perspective as a veteran.

She said she supports policies such as universal background checks, closing the gun show loophole, keeping guns away from domestic abusers, allowing the Centers for Disease Control to research gun violence and reinstating a ban on assault weapons.

Weapons of war don’t belong in the hands of civilians, she said.

The New York Times, 8/31/18

Usually you only get to dream about a candidate like Chrissy Houlahan. People in the Philadelphia suburbs actually get to vote for her.

She’s brainy: a bachelor’s degree in industrial engineering from Stanford, a master’s in technology and policy from M.I.T. She’s bold: service in the U.S. Air Force. She has entrepreneurial bona fides from her years as the chief operating officer of an athletic wear company but also had a top job for a group promoting childhood literacy. She’s a wife and mother, with two grown daughters.

So why, at 51, has she set her sights on the House of Representatives, when she never ran for any office before?

The answer is Nov. 8, 2016. To vote for Hillary Clinton, she put on a pantsuit. Her gay daughter wore all white, honoring suffragists. That night they broke out the Champagne. “I thought that history would be made,” Houlahan recalled.

When it wasn’t, her father, a Holocaust survivor, cried, fearing what Donald Trump’s victory could mean for the vulnerable and the powerless. Her daughter panicked about L.G.B.T. people. “Unnerving,” Houlahan called it, and her response was “to be part of the solution.” She has since raised about $3 million and emerged as one of the Democratic Party’s best bets to turn a red seat blue.

DAILY LOCAL, 8/13/18

Democratic candidate Chrissy Houlahan is listening and learning, while getting out and about, during a run for a seat in the U.S. House of Representatives.

Monday morning Houlahan visited the ChesPenn Health Services Center for Community Health in Coatesville.

The candidate received a tour from Tamara Fox, director of organizational development, who noted that the agency depends partly on federal funding.

Houlahan hopes to replace two-term 6th Congressional District Rep. Ryan Costello, a Republican, who opted to not seek re-election. Houlahan will face off against Republican candidate Greg McCauley in November.

Houlahan discussed her former career in the military and as a business owner.

Reading eagle, 7/18/18

Democratic congressional candidate Chrissy Houlahan visited the Teachers in the Parks program Tuesday on Third Street in Reading.

Program founder and teacher Matt Hathaway told Houlahan that the initiative helps to prevent the summer slide, the loss of math and reading skills over the summer break. Students are matched with teachers and given fun ways to retain and improve their skills.

Its mission is similar to Springboard Collaborative, where Houlahan served as president. That Philadelphia-based program coaches teachers and families to help students retain what they learn in school and improve literacy.

“I have a deep and abiding interest and also experience in early childhood development and pre-K through fourth-grade literacy,” Houlahan said.

the philadelphia inquirer, 03/15/18

Continuing his push into high-profile congressional races, former Vice President Joe Biden endorsed two Democratic candidates in the Philadelphia suburbs Thursday: Chrissy Houlahan of Chester County and Andy Kim from Burlington County.

“Chrissy Houlahan is an Air Force veteran, business leader, and former teacher, and she is precisely the type of public servant we need serving in Congress,” Biden said in a news release issued by the Houlahan campaign.

The economist, 02/17/18

IF DEMOCRATIC strategists could build a candidate for Pennsylvania’s sixth congressional district, she would probably look something like Chrissy Houlahan. A 50-year-old former air-force captain, entrepreneur and chemistry teacher with Teach for America, Mrs Houlahan appears, crucially, to have been none of those impressive things for political effect. Until recently she had not contemplated running for anything...“I was raised to respect democracy,” she says. “But I felt on this occasion the people had got it wrong.”

The philadelphia inquirer, 01/17/18 

I rode to the Women’s March, now nearly a year ago, with 51 women and two men in a big bus packed with people, donuts, fried chicken and colorful signs. It was positively life changing. The March brought together so many concerned citizens with disparate issues — the commonality was a collective desire for change. 

I returned from the March like many others: inspired. How could I use this crisis in our democracy and turn my anxiety and concern to good? I’m an engineer, veteran, business woman and an educator.

I decided to run a different kind of race — to run for Congress right here in our district where I have lived for the last 23 years.

U.S. News, 12/29/17

Chrissy Houlahan – a Stanford-educated engineer, a former Air Force Reserve captain, teacher, chief operating officer and mother to a daughter who's a member of the LGBT community – never really considered the gravity her candidacy could take on.

Following weeks of phone calls, training sessions and meetings with influencers around the district, Houlahan, 50, launched her bid for Congress in the most populous state without a woman in its delegation. 

Based on strong early fundraising, she was just one of 11 Democratic challengers to make the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee's "Red to Blue" list, denoting "top tier" recruits. 

POLITICS PA, 11/15/17

Chrissy Houlahan, who is running to challenge Congressman Ryan Costello (R-Chester) next year, was added to the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee’s ‘Red to Blue’ program, a program that highlights Democratic candidates.

“An Air Force veteran and executive, Chrissy Houlahan has spent her life in the business and nonprofit sectors working to create jobs and give back to her community,” DCCC Chairman Ben Ray Luján said.

The DCCC also highlighted Houlahan’s business experience as part of their support.

“As an executive at AND1, Chrissy helped grow the company to approximately $250 million in revenue and created more than 250 jobs in the Philadelphia area. …  It’s clear why she’s been able to build one of the strongest campaigns in the country,” Luján said.

The philadelphia citizen, 9/7/17

"Like the best outsiders, what Houlahan is selling transcends the normal exchange of politics. It’s not about a litany of policies, so much as what her story represents: True American exceptionalism, the sense that inclusive values matter, and that what’s been lost—the urge to do big things together—can be regained.

"Houlahan is the daughter of Andrew Jampoler, a Holocaust survivor and career naval aviator who spent a lifetime repaying the country that took him in at Ellis Island. His daughter grew up idolizing Sally Ride and, though her astronaut dream didn’t come to be, she built a mind-numbingly varied resume with one clear constant: Chrissy Houlahan builds things."

Lebanon Daily News, 8/10/17

"People are looking for a different kind of leader and they are looking for somebody who has that real-world experience," Houlahan said. "Somebody who’s done the kinds of things that they are being challenged to do every day. Whether its serving in the military, whether its building businesses, whether its educating their children, all of those are the things that people are crying out for in a leader."

The NEW YORK TIMES, 07/05/2017

WASHINGTON — Somewhere on the road between here and Pennsylvania, the idea began to take root for Chrissy Houlahan: “I can’t not run.”

The daughter and granddaughter of Navy pilots, Ms. Houlahan had served 16 years as an Air Force engineer on active duty and in the Reserves. But in January, between conversations on a bus bound for the Women’s March and thoughts about her father, a Holocaust survivor rattled by the presidential election, she felt it was time to serve again.

In April, Ms. Houlahan, 50, who most recently worked as head of a nonprofit organization devoted to childhood literacy, entered the Democratic primary to challenge Representative Ryan A. Costello, a second-term Republican from the suburbs northwest of Philadelphia.

Philadelphia inquirer, 6/12/17

An influential women’s political group is jumping into one of the most closely-watched congressional races in the Philadelphia area, giving an early endorsement to a Democrat who hopes to capitalize on President Trump’s struggles in moderate territory.

EMILY’s List, which played aggressively in last year’s U.S. Senate race in Pennsylvania, endorsed Chrissy Houlahan Monday she builds her campaign against the 6th district’s Republican incumbent, Rep. Ryan Costello.

The Chester County-based district is one of a handful of traditionally Republican districts where Trump lost last year, giving Democrats hope that they can use a mid-term backlash to flip the seat and others like it to  take control of the House. Houlahan, a first-time candidate with military and business experience, has emerged as one of the party’s top recruits and even GOP leaders say the race could be a telling one for the national picture

nbc news, 5/29/2017

For Chrissy Houlahan, who said she always felt that running for office would be a natural extension of her service in the Air Force, it's all about how her outlook on society has shifted since serving.

It's what helped her connect with the 53 people who got on the bus she organized to the 2017 Women's March in Washington. At the start of the trip down from Pennsylvania, she only knew nine. Now she knows them all, and she's running as a Democrat in the 6th Congressional District.

THE Wall Street JOURNAL, 5/21/17

“There’s a real fiction in our national narrative that the Republican Party has the corner on the market on patriotism,” said Chrissy Houlahan, a former Air Force captain who is challenging GOP Rep. Ryan Costello in a suburban Philadelphia district that Hillary Clinton carried in November.


Reading Eagle, 4/11/17

READING, PA - Chrissy Houlahan said public service has been a driving force in her career to this point.

She has served in the Air Force, she has been involved with Teach For America and she has worked as an executive for a nonprofit literacy organization. But now she's ready to try something new, she said.

The Chester County Democrat announced today that she's running for a seat in Congress.

Chrissy Houlahan Democrat fro Congress
Chrissy is a woman who gets things done. Our small company, AND 1, grew from $5 million in revenues to over $250 million largely because of her creativeness and commitment to her team. She is a great business leader.
— Seth Berger, CEO And 1 Basketball
As a fierce advocate for high quality jobs with dignity and responsible stewardship of the community and the environment, Chrissy is a compassionate entrepreneur who uses her business acumen as a force for good.
— Jay Coen Gilbert, Co-Founder B Lab
Chrissy is a tireless advocate for giving low-income students access to the educational opportunities all children deserve. By combining her experience in the boardroom and the classroom, Chrissy is uniquely positioned to make lasting impact.
— Alejandro Gac-Artigas, Founder/CEO Springboard Collaborative