Pa.’s 11th Congressional district candidates respond: Here’s why they’re running, in their own words | PA Power and Policy: Pennsylvania State News

To read these responses in Spanish, click here. LNP | LancasterOnline asked each candidate in



Election 2020

To read these responses in Spanish, click here.

LNP | LancasterOnline asked each candidate in Lancaster County a set of questions and asked them to respond. We are publishing their responses, in their own words, with editing only for newspaper style and spelling.

The District: Lancaster was formerly part of the 16th Congressional District, but redistricting ordered by the state Supreme Court in 2018 made it the central part of a new 11th District, with parts of rural southern York County included. The 11th is considered a solid Republican seat by the Cook Political Report.

Represents: Lancaster County and a portion of southern York County.


Candidate: Lloyd Smucker

  • Party: Republican.
  • Age: 56.
  • Residence: West Lampeter Township.
  • Occupation: U.S. House since 2016. Formerly state senator and drywall business owner.
  • Education: Attended Franklin & Marshall College and Lebanon Valley College but did not complete a degree.
  • Family: Wife Cindy, daughters Paige and Regan, and son Nicholas.

1. Why are you running? What is your pitch to voters?

I am running for Congress to rebuild the American Dream. I was born Amish. I worked nights to pay for my education and was the first in my family to obtain a high school education. After high school, I purchased the business for $1,000 and grew it to employ over 150 people while taking college courses at night. I got involved in government because I believe everyone deserves the opportunity to achieve their American Dream, a dream that I have been fortunate to achieve.

In PA-11, many in our community have achieved their dreams through hard work and individual responsibility. I was not raised to believe that government has all the answers, (or that) it should be the solution. That is the difference between many of my colleagues in Congress and me. I support the free enterprise system and empowering individual liberties so that people, not the government, can make decisions that affect their lives and families. It is an honor to represent our communities in Washington, D.C., and I thank you for your continued support.

2. What are your priorities to help the district recover from the economic and human toll the coronavirus pandemic has taken?

The key to rebuilding our community in the wake of COVID-19 is ensuring that our families have access to good-paying jobs, and we must support our small businesses safely reopening. In the 11th Congressional District, over 100,000 jobs were retained through the COVID pandemic because of the Paycheck Protection Program and funding for our small businesses to recover and reopen.

In the COVID relief packages passed by Congress, we passed tax rebates of $1,200 to individuals, provided small businesses with cash-flow assistance to keep their employees, expanded unemployment benefits and appropriated over $140 billion to support our health care systems.

Congress also funded state and local governments, our schools and universities, and the U.S. Postal Service. From the beginning, I prioritized the readiness of our health care systems across the district and data-driven metrics for preparedness.

Supporting our health care systems included investment in therapeutics and vaccine research and helping our local public health agencies to prevent and respond to the coronavirus. We must continue to protect our seniors, who we know are the most vulnerable during the pandemic. Our hospital systems need to prioritize their resources available to care for infected patients and daily operating tasks separate from COVID-19.

3. Can you briefly describe what you would do to address what residents have told us are the issues they are most concerned about: health care, climate change and balancing the federal budget? Given the 200-word limit, you may choose to respond to a single topic instead of all three.

In Congress, I have worked in a bipartisan manner to address our bloated spending and broken budgeting process, including preventing government shutdowns. We must ensure that every cent paid by the taxpayer is used efficiently and effectively in Washington.

My actions were recently recognized when I joined a bipartisan group of 58 legislators to call on the House to restore congressional accountability for decreasing the federal deficit through the budget reform goals of improved transparency, congressional accountability and responsibility.

I introduced the Government Shutdown Prevention Act that would provide an automatic continuing resolution for any appropriations bill not completed before the end of the fiscal year to end the senseless costs of government shutdowns.

On health care, I believe it is essential that every family have access to affordable health care and the ability to make choices for their care. I have supported increasing access, expanding choice and lowering costs for Medicare for our seniors. I sponsored the Seniors Health Care Choice Act to provide seniors with the flexibility to enroll in Medicare at a time that best fits their needs, without the threat of a burdensome and unnecessary financial penalty.

4. Surveys show that partisanship is increasing, and people of different political views are growing less trustworthy of one another. How will you seek to build bridges to voters who don’t support you or share your views?

Every month, my offices handle an average of 103 individuals to help navigate governmental agencies and processes. We have returned over $5.5 million to constituents from the IRS, Social Security, VA and other agencies. Our office makes an impact every day in our constituents’ lives regardless of their political affiliation or views, and I am very proud of that work.

We have welcomed groups regardless of their views to our office to discuss their concerns and issues. I have personally met with hundreds of constituents in-person or via Zoom at their request, and I have visited over 450 small businesses and community organizations.

Additionally, I have worked in a bipartisan manner on many issues in Congress. I am a member of the Problem Solvers Caucus, a group of 26 Democrat and 26 Republican legislators who work together to find legislative solutions. Recently our caucus came together to end the partisan gridlock with an additional reasonable and well-targeted COVID-19 relief package. I have taken a solution-focused approach in Washington to address the urgent needs facing millions of American families and small businesses.


Candidate: Sarah Hammond

  • Party: Democrat.
  • Age: 27.
  • Residence: East Lampeter Township.
  • Occupation: Field hockey coach at Hanover Area High School.
  • Education: Slippery Rock University, Bachelor of Arts in communication and public affairs.
  • Family: Single.

1. Why are you running? What is your pitch to voters?

My name is Sarah Hammond, and I’m running for Congress because Lancaster and York deserve a representative who will actively show up and stand up for our people. As a small town woman with blue collar roots, I have experienced the negative impact firsthand that partisan gridlock in Washington has created for families like yours and mine.

For far too long, our congressman, Lloyd Smucker, has brushed off the concerns, thoughts and needs of our district. Our economy wasn’t working for nearly half of our people nationwide before the COVID-19 pandemic. Now nearly seven months in, the deliberate lack of action on stimulus to help out our people and small businesses has left us to bear that financial burden heavily here at home.

That’s why my team and I are running to amplify the voices of our communities whose daily lives teeter on the edge of financial stability. We’ve created a platform that reflects the struggles and concerns of our people, so that more of our families can prosper.

I believe in what we can accomplish when our legislature begins to reflect our diverse values, and I believe in you. Let’s win this fight — together.

2. What are your priorities to help the district recover from the economic and human toll the coronavirus pandemic has taken?

We need to create an equitable economy where people are not struggling to make ends meet even during the best of times. Before the pandemic, many families were one medical crisis from financial ruin, and our nation ended up suffering that crisis collectively. While the COVID pandemic has been largely unprecedented, it has also exposed known systemic flaws in our health care system the way 2008’s financial collapse exposed known systemic flaws in our lending and housing markets.

In a period of mass unemployment, the need to uncouple health insurance from employment has become frustratingly obvious, but this need has been clear for decades. Our patchwork system of health care coverage has not been well-equipped to handle this pandemic, and the need for a universal, comprehensive, single-payer system is evident.

Eliminating the expense of health insurance and drastically reducing the cost of workers’ compensation insurance would be one of the best ways to help small businesses grow after the pandemic. This financial and administrative flexibility will allow these businesses to grow and to create jobs that pay at least $15 an hour and provide paid sick leave.

Additionally, we need to apply federal funds to universal child care and broadband access.

3. Can you briefly describe what you would do to address what residents have told us are the issues they are most concerned about: health care, climate change and balancing the federal budget? Given the 200-word limit, you may choose to respond to a single topic instead of all three.

Health care is the number one issue when we talk to voters, before and after the COVID pandemic. In addition to uncoupling health care from employment to benefit workers and small business owners, our tax dollars should be buying us universal, comprehensive coverage.

This should include dental, vision, prenatal and birth coverage, well-child visits, physical therapy, aging with dignity, mental health care coverage, addiction treatment and reproductive coverage. The reality is these treatments would be substantially cheaper to cover under a comprehensive, universal system.

Climate change should be the definitive most-important issue in any of our elections, so it really speaks to the state of our health care system that it often overshadows an existential crisis. Almost everyone we describe the Green New Deal to becomes an enthusiastic supporter of it. It’s probably the most misunderstood resolution and growing package of legislation in Congress. It is a comprehensive plan to create good-paying jobs and universal, sustainable housing, along with mitigating the environmental effects of our energy sector.

Besides the Green New Deal, no one has proposed a comprehensive plan for our economy. To say that we can recreate the industrial and manufacturing-based economy of the 20th century is deceptive, obtuse, or delusional.

4. Surveys show that partisanship is increasing and people of different political views are growing less trustworthy of one another. How will you seek to build bridges to voters who don’t support you or share your views?

Even people in the same party are not going to agree all of the time; we have seen that in our primaries. And even when we don’t want to, as public officials, we are obligated to maintain respectful dialogues with each other. That is the only way that we are going to be able to collaborate to fix anything, and that is the obligation that we commit ourselves to when we agree to represent others in a democracy.

This does mean that we will have to compromise sometimes, but it does not mean that we should compromise all of the time. Human rights can never be our bargaining chip.

Our team will always defend our rights to health care, to our bodies, to equality under the law, and to our pursuits of happiness — all of our pursuits of happiness, together.

This means working hard to find a cohesive balance within our own party, based upon our shared values and upon brave and empathetic dialogues that are constructive, collaborative, and that build our strength as a unified party.

This party must engage moderate Republicans and isolate the voices of the career obstructionists in Washington.

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