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.”

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