The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

October 3, 2012

Berlin man launches write-in campaign in 9th

Randy Griffith
rgriffith@tribdem.com

— Paul Ritchey, 75, decided to run for Congress because Rep. Bill Shuster, R-Hollidaysburg, was not doing enough to reduce spending and fight the “real enemy,” which he says are “all Muslims.”

The Berlin man has launched a write-in campaign for the 9th Congressional District seat now held by Shuster. He faces Shuster and former write-in candidate Karen Ramsburg, who won the Democratic primary with 1,581 votes.

A native of Portage, Ritchey grew up in Berlin, graduating from Berlin Brothersvalley High School in 1954. He worked for Verizon for 30 years, including more than 10 years working on the Pentagon’s communications system.

That’s where he said he learned about the Muslim threat, talking to “high-level officers at their lunchtime.”

“It’s not a religion, it’s a way of life,” Ritchey said.

“Nobody wants to speak up and say that’s the problem. I know I am putting my head right out there in the noose, but I don’t care.”

Ritchey, who is not affiliated with a political party, says politicians are what is wrong with Washington. They have redefined Congress from its original design, he said.

“They were supposed to be citizen legislators, going there to do a job and then going back home and get another job,” Ritchey said.

Ritchey and his wife, Catherine, have three daughters and a son.

He said he is known through the area as Mr. National Anthem, singing at various events around Somerset County.

“I sing all three verses,” he said. “The verses tell the story.”

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