WATCH VIDEO: 4 Democratic congressional hopefuls gather in Johnstown   By; Dave Sutor is a reporter for The Tribune-Democrat. He can be reached at (814) 532-5056. Follow him on Twitter @Dave_Sutor.  Four Democrats who are looking to become the next U.S. representative from the 12th Congressional District gathered for an informal meet-and-greet at a private residence in downtown Johnstown on Tuesday.  All of them have announced plans to run in next year’s primary with hopes of eventually defeating U.S. Rep. Keith Rothfus, R-Sewickley.  The event was sponsored by Indivisible Johnstown, a newly formed progressive political group.  “The four candidates are all from the Pittsburgh area, and we wanted an opportunity for the people of Cambria County to know who they are and to match a face with a voice and with what they read,” said Mary Lou Davis, an Indivisible Johnstown member.  Here is a look at the candidates:  • Aaron Anthony is finishing his Ph.D. in education policy after teaching high school English.  “I should be the next congressman for the 12th district because I think we need more educators in Washington,” Anthony said.  “We don’t need more lawyers. We need people who care and have worked with people, who really want to invest in children, who want to invest in the future and in the things that will pay off down the road, things like health care, and education, and job training, and infrastructure.”  • Tom Prigg served in the Army and worked in neurobiology at the University of Pittsburgh.  Prigg discussed his economic develop proposal during Tuesday’s gathering.  “It’s too simple to say, ‘I think we need to bring jobs back in Johnstown.’  “That’s too simple,” Prigg said. “Yeah, right. Who doesn’t know that?  “We’re not going to make everybody a congressperson. But how do you do that?  “You need an entire economic plan, infrastructure. You’ve got to save small businesses, which is one of my platform ideas, using a grant. You’ve got to have a targeted trade school for the new skills that will be needed for automation. You’ve got to have market district infrastructure.”  • John Stolz has studied climate change and sustainability.  He is a professor of biology and director of the Center for Environmental Research and Education at Duquesne University.  “For now, I’m bringing this message that we can bring jobs, we can create and stimulate the new American economy with renewables and sustainable practices that are going to provide a healthy environment for people,” Stolz said.  “The irony in all of this is when you have a healthy environment to work in, you’re actually more productive. So I’m bringing that message.”  • Beth Tarasi has worked as a litigator for more than a quarter-century.  She graduated from Duquesne University Law school.  “I have negotiated many contracts,” Tarasi said. “I have gone to court. I have talked with people. I represent people every day. I communicate what their problems are, what the issues are going on in their lives, and I resolve them. I solve problems. I help people.  “My practice has touched upon everything. It’s touched upon health care. It’s touched upon environmental.  “It has touched upon workers. It has touched upon unions. It has touched upon real estate and development.”

Four candidates vying for the Democratic nomination in the 12th Congressional District were in Johnstown for a meet-and-greet sponsored by Indivisible Johnstown on Tuesday, Aug. 8, 2017. From left, they are Aaron Anthony, Tom Prigg, John Stolz and Beth Tarasi.


Third Democrat announces bid for Congress in 12th District

By Michelle Ganassi - Daily American- June 20, 2017

A Pittsburgh litigation attorney has announced that she intends to seek the Democratic nomination in the 12th Congressional District.

Elizabeth M. Tarasi, an attorney with Tarasi & Tarasi, said she has spent her entire career fighting for the rights of people from Western Pennsylvania and will continue to fight for them if elected.

“I am very upset with what is going on in Washington, very upset with the representation that our district is getting,” she said. “It caused me to decide to make a career change and get in and fight for the people of the 12th.”

She said she will run for Congress to bring integrity to Washington and to secure a better future for her two sons, ages 24 and 27.

She cited the debate over the Affordable Care Act and the American health care system.

“They’ve been fighting it now for eight years,” she said. “Health care is a good thing. To have our people covered is a good thing.”

She said she would also like to fight against cuts to veterans benefits and the armed services.

“I believe education is key to long-term economic growth and our competitiveness as a superpower,” she said.

She said she would also fight for the environment.

“Our scientists (and) military intelligence agencies all agree climate change is occurring and is directly related to human activity,” she said. “They are the experts. As a litigator, I hire experts. I am going to rely on scientists and experts, not lobbyists, to warn me about what’s going on. I want to fight for laws that support clean air and water.”

Tarasi said she believes the United States should be a global leader on climate change.

“I’m starting into the sunset of my life,” she said. “I hopefully will have grandchildren. I want them to have a clean earth. I want them to have clean air, clean water.”

She said she believes that lawmakers are beginning to abandon seniors. She is against privatizing Social Security.

“My parents are in their 80s and when I see cuts in Medicaid in the health care bill, that alarms me,” she said. “I don’t want to let my parents, or any seniors, down.”

Tarasi said federal lawmakers do not know how to work as a team.

“Extreme political positions block them from getting the job done,” she said. “We have to learn to work together to bring some normalcy to our government.”

She plans to attend local events and get to know Somerset County residents. When her boys were young, they skied at Hidden Valley.

“I want to talk to the people,” she said. “I want to meet the people and do everything I can.”

She said she is interested in learning about the farming community and talking with farmers about balancing federal regulations and their ability to run their farms.

“I am so impressed with people who do that for a living,” she said. “That is one of the hardest ways to make a living.”

Tarasi, 57, of Sewickley, is the third person to announce their intent to seek the Democratic nomination. Earlier this year University of Pittsburgh doctoral candidate Aaron Anthony, 34, of Shaler Township, and former 82nd Airborne sniper Tom Prigg, 46, of McCandless, announced that they would seek the Democratic nod.

The seat is held by Republican Keith Rothfus, of Sewickley.

Tarasi said her experience separates her from the other candidates.

“I have the experience, integrity and the results to stand up and be able to lead and be a successful candidate,” she said.

Sewickley's Tarasi latest Democrat to enter 12th Congressional district race.

By J.D. Prose - Tribune Review Beaver County- May 18, 2017 

Beth Tarasi, an attorney from Sewickley and former basketball player for the University of Pittsburgh, is Democrat to enter the 2018 primary race for the 12th Congressional District currently held by Republican Rothfus of Sewickley.

A Sewickley attorney, who is also a former University of Pittsburgh basketball player, is the third announced candidate for the 12th Congressional District Democratic primary with an eye on ousting Republican U.S. Rep. Keith Rothfus in 2018.

Beth Tarasi, 57, of the Tarasi & Tarasi law firm in Pittsburgh, has joined a growing field of Democratic hopefuls, including McCandless Township resident Tom Prigg, 46, a Carnegie Mellon University research associate and former Army Scout sniper, and 34-year-old Shaler Township native Aaron Anthony, a former Shaler Area School District English teacher moving back to his hometown from Pittsburgh to run.

All three have ties to Pitt, with Prigg earning a bachelor's degree in neural-psychology and sociology and Anthony currently pursuing a doctoral degree in education policy. Anthony also earned a master's in leadership and organizational studies from Robert Morris University in Moon Township.

A 1978 Quaker Valley High School graduate, Tarasi attended Pitt on a basketball scholarship and served as team captain, graduating in 1982. She earned her law degree from Duquesne University.

In a release, Tarasi stressed her family's "history of hard work and commitment" from one grandfather working as a coal miner and another as a union steelworker to her father being the first in his family to graduate from college and later becoming an attorney.

Tarasi said in her release that she took night classes at Duquesne while working a day job.

On her Facebook page ("Tarasi for Congress PA 12th Congressional District"), Tarasi says she is running "because the middle class are getting the short end of (the) stick from the politicians in Washington."

Tarasi says in her Facebook post that fellow Sewickley resident Rothfus is "out of touch with the people of western Pennsylvania" and ignoring the "lack of good paying jobs," as well as rising costs for health care and college tuition.

"Time and time again," Tarasi says, "Rothfus has sided with the wealthy special interests in Washington over the people he is supposed to represent."

The 12th Congressional District includes Beaver County, southern Lawrence County, Allegheny County's North Hills and portions of Westmoreland, Cambria and Somerset counties.

Challengers to Rothfus

By Ryan Deto@RyanDeto - City Paper - Pittsburgh Pa. - May 17, 2017

Congressman Keith Rothfus could be in danger as three Democratic challengers step up

"The Left is so angry that I even have 3 liberal opponents who have announced their campaigns to defeat me."

On May 1 1, U.S. Congressman Keith Rothfus (R-Sewickley) sent out an email to his supporters asking for assistance and campaign donations. He seemed nervous.

"Last week I voted to repeal and replace Obamacare — fulfilling a promise I made to you." wrote Rothfus from his campaign email address. "But now liberals and the media are attacking me! The Left is so angry that I even have 3 liberal opponents who have announced their campaigns to defeat me."

It's hard to assess exactly how under-attack Rothfus is; the nonpartisan Cook Political Report still grades his district as safely Republican. But his email is right about one thing: a new energy has emerged among liberals in Pennsylvania's

U.S. House 1 2th District, leading three of them to start campaigns. Democrats Aaron Anthony, of Shaler; Tom Prigg, of McCandless; and Beth Tarasi, of Sewickley, have announced candidacies to challenge Rothfus in the 2018 midterm elections.

So far, they've all pledged to back many Democratic platforms, like LGBT- and immigrant-rights, environmentalism, pay equity and support for labor unions. But each offers unique viewpoints and campaign strategies that could turn the 12th District blue.

Anthony, a 34—year—old former school—teacher and current Ph.D. student in educational studies, understands flipping the 12th District isn't going to be easy. Rothfus won last year by 23 percentage points, but Anthony believes the race "is part of the bigger movement to flip [U.S.] Congress" to Democratic control. Thus, Anthony wants to create a message that resonates nationally, and doing that requires a lot of cash.

"Our goal is to raise $75,000 in the second quarter of 2017," says Anthony. "It's going to take at least $2.5 million to be competitive in this race."

According to campaign-finance reports, Rothfus raised $223,000 in the first quarter of 2017, and currently has $766,000 cash on hand. Anthony has already assembled a team of friends and supporters from across the country to raise campaign funds, and has held events in Philadelphia and Chicago.

While he has lived and worked in Shaler most of his life, Anthony says fundraising must come from inside and outside the district to compete with Rothfus. (In the first quarter of 2017, about half of Rothfus' donations came from outside the 12th District, according to campaign-finance reports.)

Anthony says he was naive in thinking President Donald Trump would lose the 2016 election, but that result motivated him to run. "We are old enough to stop waiting for the older generation to fix it," says Anthony. He says his campaign will focus on increasing funding for education, poverty programs and drug treatment to combat the opioid epidemic.

Another challenger, Tom Prigg, believes he can relate to the rural parts of the 12th District. Originally from a rural part of Washington County, Prigg says his grandparents worked in the steel mills, and he grew up baling hay. Prigg thinks his working-class upbringing, along with his four years in the U.S. Army as a sniper, provides contrast to Rothfus' background as a corporate lawyer. He's confident he can win the 12th District's substantial veteran vote (census figures show 1 0 percent of the voting-age population are veterans).

Prigg, a neuroscientist at Carnegie Mellon University, plans to focus his campaign on areas in economic decline; he says grants can be given to small businesses to keep them open. "We already give enough tax breaks to corporations, we should be giving those to the communities," says Prigg.

Prigg says he was first politically inspired by the Occupy Wall Street movement and has thought about running for office since. Prigg says he would try to get subsidized trade schools to move into rural regions, ones that "target future jobs" and teach students how to code. Prigg has already started a blog on Daily KOS, a liberal political website, and his seven-member campaign team will focus on a wide-ranging media campaign.

Prigg says he wants to garner the votes of 12th District independents who normally vote Republican, and not just run an anti-Rothfus campaign. "That is like hitting on a girl in a bar by saying, 'l am the only one talking to you,"' says Prigg. "It doesn't work."

The third challenger, Beth Tarasi, is a lawyer from Sewickley who has lived in the 12th District her entire life. She too felt she "had to run" after the election of Trump. She says the district isn't being properly represented by Rothfus.

"He's not bringing in anything," says Tarasi. "Allegheny County is attracting new businesses, but we need to see that spread all over the district. We need to take advantage of our natural resources."

Rothfus recently announced Corsa Coal, in Somerset County, was adding 70 jobs, but Tarasi points out the company is simply replacing some lost jobs, as Corsa cut 130 jobs in 2015.

Tarasi would like to see more investments like the Shell cracker plant in Beaver County, as well as green energy like wind farms. "As a lawyer, this is what I do," says Tarasi. "I bring in resources in to solve problems."

She serves as a Democratic ward chair in Sewickley and says she can succeed with help from Western Pennsylvania's Democratic Party institutions.

If elected, Tarasi would want to be placed on the transportation committee because she believes the 12th District needs infrastructure improvements to move forward.

She adds that she wants to serve constituents as if they were her legal clients. "Rothfus says he is the employee of constituents," says Tarasi. "l think they are more like clients, and I want to keep the clients happy.