Why I Support Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick

Environmental issues are not partisan issues, and Pennsylvania Congressman Brian Fitzpatrick, a Republican, is proof. As a young Pennsylvanian, I am grateful to have a congressman in the state delegation who is willing to reach across the aisle to do what he believes is right.

Fitzpatrick followed in his brother’s congressional footsteps and was first sworn into office in January of 2017. Before his election, Fitzpatrick had an extensive career in the FBI, and also worked as a Special Assistant U.S. Attorney. After being elected to Congress, Fitzpatrick quickly became known for his support of Right to Try legislation, term limits, and a balanced budget. As a Republican in a suburban Pennsylvanian district, few people suspected that he would become a leader on a certain issue: the environment.

Nevertheless, the Congressman has vocalized his support for environmental solutions in ways that could satisfy both Democrats and his Republican colleagues. Notably, he is a member of the bipartisan Climate Solutions Caucus, which is a coalition of both Republican and Democratic legislators who work to find solutions to environmental problems palatable to both parties. He was one of 17 Republicans to co-sponsor a House Resolution in March of 2017 to commit to work on viable environmental solutions. As a young conservative, I find it encouraging that some elected Republicans are also working to change the party’s environmental narrative.

For all of his pro-environment efforts, the Congressman was recognized by the Citizens’ Climate Lobby. In June of 2017, he was awarded the Climate Leadership Award for “extraordinary leadership and bold commitment to environmental stewardship.”

When President Trump decided to pull out of the Paris Accords, the Congressman released a statement urging Trump to rethink his position. His reasoning was that a bipartisan Congress believed in working with other developed nations to reduce the effects of climate change. Speaking out against the president’s actions is a risky political move for congressional Republicans, but Fitzpatrick was admirably willing to take the risk.

For Fitzpatrick, advocating for the environment is not just a collection of words and awards. Unlike many of his Republican colleagues, he has a favorable score with the League of Conservation Voters. He scored a 71 percent on the National Environmental Scorecard when the average in the House of Representatives is a 45 percent. Most other Republican legislators scored in the single digits.

The Congressman has been named one of the top five most bipartisan legislators in Congress, partly thanks to his work on environmental issues with both sides of the aisle. In the House of Representatives, Fitzpatrick is the in the top three bipartisan members. These rankings are based on bill sponsorship or co-sponsorship. To me, bipartisanship is one of the most valuable qualities in a legislator, and some of the country’s best legislation has come from moments in which Democrats and Republicans played nice and worked together to get something done.

Speaking of working together with the other side of the aisle, Fitzpatrick publicly displayed his advocacy for protecting and preserving our environment with a speech on the House floor. The Congressman spoke in passionate support of the permanent reauthorization of the Land and Water Conservation Fund. Although this bill ultimately did not pass the House, Fitzpatrick’s support was unwavering. Members of Congress, of course, cannot always have their way, but by taking the time to advocate for this organization, Fitzpatrick proved to his constituents that he will not be silent, even if the odds are stacked against him.

The most important takeaway, perhaps, from the Congressman’s environmental work is that he is willing to go against his party for a cause in which he believes. During his first term, he effectively stood up for his constituents even though he faced critics on both sides of the aisle. Whether or not the environment is at the top of your priorities when voting, Fitzpatrick has proved that he is not a partisan pawn; he is willing to stand up for his values, whether or not those values are popular with his congressional colleagues. Keep in mind that the Congressman has only served one term. He has established a hard-working, collaborative record in just two years of working for his constituents.

Although Fitzpatrick was elected to serve the people of Pennsylvania’s 8th Congressional district in 2016, because of the redistricting in Pennsylvania, Fitzpatrick is running to represent the new 1st district in the 2018 midterm elections. The race between Fitzpatrick and Democrat Scott Wallace is considered by The New York Times to be a toss-up.

Without a doubt, Brian Fitzpatrick is the correct choice for the newly-formed PA-01, especially against his hyperpartisan opponent. His effort to work across the aisle and represent the genuine needs of his constituents has been exceptional. A second term for Fitzpatrick is a victory for Bucks County, Pennsylvania.

Karly MatthewsComment