Our community here in Lancaster has been in grief and mourning since Monday's tragedy, and for that reason I have been reluctant to speak about politics in general, and the Foley scandal in particular.
But yesterday my opponent, Rep. Joseph Pitts, issued a joint statement with Rep. Mike Pence (R-IN) which called Speaker Dennis Hastert "a man of integrity," and said Hastert should not resign.
With that, I must speak out.
My campaign has publicly issued the following statement:
HERR CALLS FOR ACCOUNTABILITY WHILE PITTS DEFENDS HASTERT
Lois Herr, Democratic challenger to Rep. Joseph Pitts (R, PA-16), reacted with shock and dismay to Pitts's statement yesterday defending House Speaker Dennis Hastert.
"Speaker Hastert and the Republican leadership failed to protect the young victims of a predatory colleague, Mark Foley," said Herr. "At best, what is known about Hastert's conduct points to gross negligence. At worst, senior Republicans may have covered up Foley's conduct for partisan political gain."
Pitts and Rep. Mike Pence (R-IN) issued a statement of support for Hastert on Wednesday, calling him "a man of integrity."
However, according to other senior Republicans, including Majority Leader John Boehner (R-OH), Hastert had been aware of Foley's misconduct for months, if not years.
Pitts's statement went on to say that Hastert "should not resign," despite calls from many Republicans and conservative publications calling on Hastert to do so.
Herr said: "There is absolutely no excuse for Rep. Pitts to defend the failure of the House Speaker to take swift and decisive action to protect those young people from the sexually-charged attentions of one of their own. The Republican leadership must be held accountable for their failures, and Rep. Pitts must explain his defense of Hastert to the people of our district."
Rep. Pitts is serving his fifth term in Congress and issued his defense of Speaker Hastert in his role as head of the GOP Values Action Team, which was established in 1998 to advance a "morality-centered legislative agenda."
There's no need for me to go back over the facts of this situation here, as they have been ably diaried. But once again, Joseph Pitts, Mike Pence, Denny Hastert and the Republican party have shown that they not only have no ideas, they no longer have any ideals.
I am eagerly awaiting November 7, and working hard to retire Joe Pitts.
To learn more, visit our website.
Thanks for your attention.