Congressional candidate for Pennsylvania’s 7th District Lisa Scheller spoke with The Brown and White about her campaign and policy stances ahead of the 2020 election. Scheller is running against incumbent Democratic Rep. Susan Wild. The 7th Congressional District includes all of Lehigh and Northampton counties as well as parts of Monroe County. Earlier this fall, The Brown and White interviewed Wild’s campaign manager.
Scheller grew up in rural Pennsylvania in Tamaqua, moving to the Lehigh Valley about 30 years ago. As a young adult, she struggled with addiction. She said her life truly began around age 22 once she entered recovery.
She attended a trade school in Pennsylvania to receive a certificate in computer programming and started working in the data processing information systems field, eventually earning a degree in mathematics from The University of Colorado. She continued on to work at and ultimately run her family’s business, Silver Line Manufacturing.
Q: What made you want to get involved with politics?
Lisa Scheller: I decided to get involved in politics in the early 2000s. I became more active as a committee member. In 2010, there was a tax increase in the Lehigh Valley, and I decided to run for county commissioner because with my experience and my backyard I knew that taxage was not necessary. I ran for county commissioner, was elected, and cut taxes in the Lehigh Valley, saving taxpayers and residents more than $40 million dollars.
Q: Why did you decide to run for Congress?
LS: I’m running for U.S. Congress to help get Pennsylvanians back to work following the COVID-19 crisis, to help jumpstart our economy and to help clean up the chaos and dysfunction in Washington. When I think about what is going on in Washington and I think about me and my life and being a mom and what I want for our kids is the American dream. The American dream is a set of ideas. It brought my grandparents here more than 100 years ago, and I would call it personal liberty, a trust in the common person and equality of opportunity. I was running my business, and, for the first time in my life, I truly feel that that American dream is threatened by a far left, radical, socialist agenda. I’m really running to protect our American dream for future generations.
Q: Can you tell me about your campaign strategy?
LS: The COVID crisis kind of changed the rules for everything, but from the very, very beginning, from the day that I announced, I felt that I wanted to run a campaign where I can compare the values and the policies and positions of where I stand on issues and where my opponent stands on issues. (To) create a very clear comparison and contrast to what I represent as the voice of people living in Pa.’s 7th District and what Susan Wild represents, I would say, as the voice of Nancy Pelosi and the Democrats, because she votes with Nancy Pelosi more than 99 percent of the time. I really believe that Susan Wild is out of touch with the values of most people living in the 7th District. This is a moderate district, and she is clearly very, very liberal.
(Our) campaign has changed because of the COVID crisis and how we do things, but the important thing is I’m getting out and meeting people from all walks of life within the district and listening to them and understanding what they want from their representative in Washington.
Q: What issues are most important to you and what would be your first priorities if elected to office?
LS: Number one, we have got to get out of this COVID crisis as quickly as possible, and we have to open up our country. The number one issue is jobs and the economy. How do we get people back to work safely and effectively? How do we get children back to school? How do we make sure that our neighborhoods and our workplaces are safe and secure and people can get back into the community and get back into socialization safely and effectively and really jumpstart our economy? I know I have the credentials to do this because I’ve been a job creator for more than the past 25 years as I’ve ran my company.
The other thing that is very highly important to me, and I think is very high in importance to people who live in Pennsylvania’s 7th District, is health care. I will tell you, as someone who has provided health care for more than 150 families for the past 25-plus years, that with the implementation of the Affordable Care Act, health care became far less affordable and accessible. In fact, health care costs per family within my own business more than doubled with that implementation. There are ways to lower the cost of health care, and I think that is a very big distinction between myself and my opponent on what we view is the right way to go for health care. In my opinion, the right thing to do for health care is that we need more choices, more options, we need to lower the cost of health care. I absolutely firmly believe that it is simply unaffordable.
I will not vote in Congress for a plan that does not include the coverage of pre-existing conditions. In fact, I won’t vote to appeal Obamacare without the maintenance of coverage for pre-existing conditions.
Q: What would you do differently in response to the COVID-19 pandemic that is not already being done?
LS: We need to get our country opened up safely, we need to get the vaccine developed, and I think these are important things so that we can get our country back on track, get our economy going and get people back to work.
I don’t support a mask mandate, but at my business we follow CDC guidelines. We socially distance, we wear masks, we hand sanitize, we handwash regularly, we take temperatures and we do evaluations. Thank goodness, we have had zero cases at my place of business, but I think right now we need to safely open up our country.
I would come to the table and work across the aisle to get in place assistance to Americans who need assistance now. Not with all these other non-COVID related things bundled into it, like same day voter registration or work visa for illegal immigrants, but the assistance, the PPE, the stimulus for American citizens that people need right now. What can we all agree on and make sure (is) that assistance is delivered to Americans in need right now. Right now, it is a mess in Washington because there’s all this extra stuff going into these bills that have nothing to do with COVID. I’d say we need to work together to provide the exact assistance that is COVID related that is needed for Americans right now.
Q: Why do you not support a national mask mandate?
LS: Because I believe that it has been ruled unconstitutional anyway, but I think it is a person’s choice.
Q: What is your plan to combat climate change?
LS: First I will tell you what won’t work. I might even tell you that climate change is real and that it’s been going on for the history of time, that climate change does happen and I might even say that some of it has been manmade. But, the way to approach it is through technology, free market enterprise and reasonable regulations. Right now, if we brought emissions in the U.S. to zer, there still would be increasing emissions around the world from other countries. Joining in and putting in legislation like my opponent supports, which is the Green New Deal, is just going to destroy our economy, raise taxes and wreck jobs. It’s also a matter of national security, the Green New Deal, with its bans on oil and fracking.
In the (recent) debate, Vice President Joe Biden said that he wants to eliminate oil from this country. If we eliminate coal and fracking as it’s being told, first the results in Pennsylvania will be devastating. There are hundreds of thousands of jobs that rely on the energy industry, and Pennsylvania is a very large energy state. Secondly, we will lose our independence, which means that we will need to buy energy from countries that do not like America and do not like Americans and that’s a matter of national security.
Thirdly, it will increase the price of food as we know it because it has regulations on emissions from livestock, and that will be very damaging to people living in Pennsylvania’s 7th District because, with over 450 farms, 70 percent of them are either dairy farms or involved with livestock in some form. With those regulations, it will definitely cause damage to our farming industry here in Pa.’s 7th District and food prices nationally.
Q: Can you tell me about your stance on abortion?
LS: I am pro-life, and I do not believe the taxpayer dollars should be funding abortion, and I would work hard to make sure that that happens. I oppose late term and partial birth abortion, those should absolutely be opposed.