The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

September 23, 2012

House rivals to square off

Dave Sutor

— Voters will get their first chance to hear the candidates in Pennsylvania’s 12th district U.S. House of Representatives general election race discuss issues in a head-to-head format on Thursday.

Rep. Mark Critz, D-Johnstown, and Republican Keith Rothfus will face each

other during a political forum, sponsored by the Westmoreland Chamber of Commerce and other organizations, at the Ramada Hotel and Conference Center in Greensburg, beginning at 8:15 a.m.

Advance registration is required to attend.

“We think it is important for our members to get a firsthand look at the candidates,” said WCC President Chad Amond.

Business subjects will likely be the primary focus.

“Mark is looking forward to talking about his record of fighting to create jobs for western Pennsylvania by strengthening small businesses and opposing unfair trade deals that hurt businesses here and kill jobs,” said Mike Mikus, Critz’s campaign manager.

Pennsylvania Chamber of Business and Industry President and CEO Gene Barr will moderate a 45-minute discussion between Rothfus, Critz and two candidates from the 18th district, Republican incumbent Tim Murphy and Democrat Larry Maggi. The four office-seekers will then answer questions from the audience for a half-hour.

“I'm looking forward to a good debate, a good exchange on the issues,” said Rothfus.

Critz has served the 12th since 2010, when he won a special election to fill the seat left open by the death of Rep. John Murtha, D-Johnstown, the longest-serving congressman in Pennsylvania history.

Rothfus is seeking a spot in the House for the second time. In 2010, he lost to Rep. Jason Altmire, D-McCandless, in what was then the state’s 4th district.

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