8th Congressional District.
Voters Guide: Pennsylvania's 8th Congressional District
Mike Fitzpatrick vs. Pat Murphy.
-- Jeff Hauser
The PA-08 congressional race features freshman Republican
incumbent Mike Fitzpatrick running against attorney and Iraq
War Veteran Patrick Murphy.
The race should prove to be extremely close in this politically
moderate, suburban district. While both candidates are strong
supporters of Israel, they take conflicting stances on abortion,
stem cell research, and the first amendment guarantee of the
separation of church and state. In addition, Murphy's record as a
veteran of the War in Iraq is thrusting both the war and Bush
foreign policy to the forefront on this election.
Here's some more information on how the candidates stand on
issues of importance to the Jewish community:
||Patrick Murphy (D. Challenger)
||Mike Fitzpatrick (R. Incumbent)
- Issue statement: "Patrick Murphy
served his country in the Middle East and
understands the importance of America's special
relationship with Israel. Our commitment must be
steadfast and unwavering."
- More: "As America's only true ally
in the region, we must strengthen this bond as we
search for solutions together."
- Please see full policy statement at the bottom of
- Murphy's "Plan
for Iraq:" bring home Reservists and
National Guard immediately; bring home "another
50,000 troops home by the end of 2006."
- Pres. Bush's policy-making
in Iraq: "I believe it's time for someone who
has seen combat in Iraq to demand honesty, to demand
the truth and demand a clear exit strategy to end
the bloodshed. We are not getting that from this
President right now."
- Rep. Fitzpatrick has broken ranks with many
Republicans through his criticism of the War in
Iraq, but he opposes Murphy
and his redeployment plan.
- Also, Rep. Fitzpatrick supported Bush and the War
earlier in his first term, and seems to have flip-flopped
recently in preparation for the upcoming election.
- From his website:
"Patrick is Pro-Choice. As a former professor
of Constitutional Law, he understands that the right
to privacy is guaranteed by the United States
Constitution, and that Roe vs. Wade has been settled
law for 30 years."
?He believes we should also work to make abortion
safe, legal and rare by promoting comprehensive sex
education and encouraging alternatives such as
- Throughout his career in Congress, Rep.
Fitzpatrick has consistently supported legislation
seeking to limit the reproductive freedom of
- In fact, he has voted with the right-wing National
Right to Life Committee 100% of the time on key abortion
legislation since his election to congress.
|Stem Cell Research
statement: "Patrick supports full federal
funding of stem cell research."
- Murphy also believes
that "By failing to fully fund further research
of this scientific breakthrough, we run the risk of
falling behind other nations in the race to cure
life threatening illnesses."
- Rep. Fitzpatrick stands with President Bush in
opposition to stem cell research.
- Rep. Fitzpatrick voted against H.R.
810 (bill vetoed by Bush), which sought to
repeal restrictions on federal funding for stem-cell
of Church and State
- Issue statement: "Patrick Murphy fully
supports the first amendment guarantee of the
separation of church and state."
- "As such, Patrick Murphy opposes the teaching
of creationism or ?intelligent design? in public
schools, prayer in public schools, and the display
of religious artifacts in public places like
courthouses and government buildings."
- "In Congress, Patrick Murphy would oppose any
legislation granting federal funds to religious or
faith-based groups that discriminated in their
hiring practices on the basis of race, religion, or
- Rep. Fitzpatrick voted against NJDC
recommendations on every major piece of legislation
dealing with issues of separation of church and
state during his 1st term.
- Rep. Fitzpatrick twice (H.R. 27 amdt. 14 and H.R.
2123 amdt. 574) voted against bills seeking to
prevent federally-funded religious groups from
in their hiring practices.
- He also voted against H.R.2863 amdt. 328,
which condemned reports of proselytizing
and religious discrimination coming from the U.S.
Air Force Academy.
Patrick Murphy: A Proud Supporter of
The United States? support for Israel is a highly political
issue, but should never be a partisan one. Members of both political
parties must work together to ensure the long term success of the
State of Israel. Patrick Murphy served his country in the Middle
East and understands the importance of America's special
relationship with Israel. Our commitment must be steadfast and
Israel is an important strategic partner and a strong democracy in
an unstable region of the world. But our relationship is more than
political. The connection that many Americans feel with Israel is
based on our shared commitment to freedom, our shared history of
welcoming the persecuted, and our shared values as well.
Israel is a strong partner in the fight against terrorism and a
bastion of stability in the Middle East. Because of the strength of
our relationship, we will see peace, prosperity and stability in
this region. America's support for Israel must be unequivocal and
As America's only true ally in the region, we must strengthen
this bond as we search for solutions together.
STRATEGIC RELATIONSHIP AND ERADICATING TERRORISM
Our special relationship with Israel --- the closest friend and
ally that we have in the Middle East --- is essential to the
eradication of global terrorism. Israel's history of dealing with
terrorist threats and actions makes it an invaluable resource as we
face our own threats from Islamic extremists.
Our nations must continue to work closely together to gather and
share information about terrorist organizations --- their activities,
their tactics, and the best ways to safeguard both nations from
In Congress, Patrick Murphy will be a strong advocate to maintain
our relationship with Israel. He will back legislation to fund joint
terrorism efforts and strengthen Israel's military capabilities.
By doing so, we will reduce the threat of global terrorism and
increase the peace and stability of the region.
IRAN AND OTHER ROGUE NATIONS
As concern about the threat from Iran continues to grow in the
U.S., we must never forget that Iran poses the single greatest
threat to Israel's existence and is therefore the single most
destabilizing factor in the Middle East. Iran has long been a state
sponsor of terrorism and a haven for radical Islamic groups. The
ascendancy of President Ahmadinejad has only heightened those
concerns. It is unacceptable for any world leader to advocate the
destruction of Israel. We must use every resource available to stop
this growing threat to world security. The United Nations Security
Council should immediately take decisive action in condemning any
movement towards an Iranian nuclear program, including economic and
With the current state of affairs in Iraq, we must remain even
more vigilant against the threat posed by Iran, and we must be
prepared to take action to defend the State of Israel and other
nations in the region. While every diplomatic avenue must be pursued
and exhausted, and while nobody wants to see an expansion of U.S.
Military operations in the Middle East, we must also be prepared to
act militarily if need be.
Patrick Murphy will support the Iran Freedom Support Act and all
efforts to hold the Iranian government responsible for its actions
and to encourage a democratic government in Iran. He will support
similar policies towards other rogue nations such as Syria, North
Korea, and any other nation that provides a safe harbor for
terrorists and other threats to world security.
ISRAEL AND THE PALESTINIAN ELECTIONS
No nation should be forced to negotiate with terrorists, and any
sense of peace or security that would come as an outcome of those
negotiations would be tenuous at best.
Israel has, throughout its existence, shown a willingness to
negotiate in good faith with other responsible governments in an
effort to bring a lasting peace to the Middle East. However, Hamas
and the Palestinian Authority have not always shown that same good
The recent Palestinian elections dealt a serious blow to our
efforts to create a lasting peace between Israel and the
Palestinians. Hamas is a terrorist organization whose primary
objective is the destruction of the Jewish people and the Jewish
State, and the U.S. should not bestow the mantel of credibility or
the benefits of financial aid upon Hamas until they renounce
terrorism, not in the hope that they will renounce it later. To
trust that Hamas will ?do the right thing? or somehow change
their ways is naïve. And with other nations already softening their
approach towards Hamas, America has a duty to be especially strong
and united in our own approach.
Patrick Murphy will not support any aid to the Palestinian
Authority until Hamas has renounced terrorism, recognized Israel?s
absolute right to exist, and agreed to honor all previously existing
treaties and agreements.
FOREIGN AID TO ISRAEL
Beyond it being the right thing to do to help our neighbors in
need, it is in our best interests to promote peaceful and stable
living conditions around the world. In this ever-shrinking world, we
do not have the luxury of ignoring problems because they're not in
our own backyards. Conflicts are no longer isolated by national
borders or political boundaries, and we must increase and sustain
our nation's commitment to foreign aid.
Aid to Israel is a critical component and a cost-effective means
of promoting a U.S. foreign policy that continues to stabilize the
region by ensuring that Israel maintains a qualitative military
advantage. Israel's strength serves as a deterrent to those groups
and nations who would otherwise launch constant attacks against
Israel. Finally, this aid further cements the unbreakable bond
between the United States and Israel.
FREEDOM FROM OUR DEPENDENCE ON MIDEAST OIL
Patrick Murphy believes that our dependence on Mideastern sources
of oil weakens our national security. We send $25 billion every year
to unstable and sometimes unfriendly countries, just to cover our
addiction to foreign oil. In order to spur innovation, we should
offer incentives to industries that invest in alternative energy so
that products like hybrid vehicles are more readily available to
American consumers. Patrick believes that by increasing the
affordability and availability of alternative fuel sources we will
be able to wean ourselves off of fossil fuels and reduce our
reliance on foreign oil. Shared projects to explore alternative
energy sources, such as the recent United States-Israel Energy
Cooperation Act approved by the House of Representatives, are on the
cutting edge of the new frontier of the US-Israel relationship.
CAPITAL OF ISRAEL
The United States should recognize Jerusalem as the capital of
Israel. Patrick Murphy will support legislation and action which
moves the United States embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.
Spreading freedom and democracy isn't just a foreign policy
objective; it is our moral obligation. Israel and the United State
have demonstrated for decades their mutual commitment not only to
each other, but to the greater principles of freedom, peace, and