As Republicans ready for the pop political venue known as the Republican National Convention, Joe Rooney readied himself for a pop political venue known as the 13th Congressional District.
He said he's ready to for hard work. Like roll-up-your-sleeves hard work. Like tender-knuckles-from-all-the-door-knocking hard work.
"I'm not a kamikaze," Rooney said. "I'm in this race because Allyson Schwartz is beatable."
Current 13th Congressional District Democrat lawmaker Allyson Schwartz just isn't there, Rooney said.
"I'm a firm believer in hard work. I believe hard work pays off," Rooney said. "I will work harder and smarter and it will pay off in the end."
Rooney, GOP candidate for the 13th District, was welcomed Monday night by Wayne Sharp and , for a meet-and-greet with constituents and potential fellow lawmakers Sen. Bob Mensch and Rep. Robert Godshall.
Godshall was unable to make the event. Mensch showed up to support Rooney, even if it was his 67th birthday.
About 55 people packed the dining area and counter of West Main Diner. A couple of them were familiar faces from around town: Mayor Andy Szekely, Councilman Dan Dunigan, Lansdale Republican Club Treasurer Robert Iannozzi, and Lansdale Republican Club Secretary Jean Fritz.
Rooney explained why he threw his hat into the ring – and what needs to be done to win the 13th District from the "beatable" Schwartz.
"Why am I running? I'm scared to death of $15 trillion worth of debt," Rooney, a Navy vet and Delta Airlines pilot.
Rooney asked the audience to think how long one million seconds is – 12 days. He then asked how long ago one billion seconds was – 30 years ago.
"In 1982, in November, I just got my wings," Rooney said. "My career has spanned the last 30 years. Reagan was president and my kid was born. Thirty years ago is a long time."
He then asked about one trillion seconds aka 30,000 years.
"This idea of 12 days, 30 years, 30,000 years - it's on a large scale of millions, billions and trillions," he said. "We have $15 trillion worth of debt and it is expected to go to $16 trillion next month. My kids have to pay that back."
Rooney said he "can't explain why the country would borrow $10 billion" and now has to tell his son "don't worry."
Rooney then went for Schwartz and her alleged foibles against the 13th District.
"Allyson Schwartz borrows 40 cent out of every dollar, Rooney said.
"Allyson Schwartz voted for a budget where every dollar was paid.
"Twenty cents is what we will borrow from the red Chinese," Rooney said. "I don't think any public official should borrow any money for salaries."
Rooney said the situation is so bad that if these red Chinese take over Taiwan, the U.S. would borrow money from the Chinese to fight them, he said.
Government, he said, should be run on a "momonomics" level. Moms, he said, know how to run a house and its budget on a simplistic, necessary level.
"Should we be spending more money than we have? That's not the rule," Rooney said.
The U.S. needs to grow its economy, he said.
"Why make it much more harder for the employer class, and make it much easier on the employee class?"
Rooney said the answer lies in a simple and flat tax. He said the U.S. has the highest corporate tax rate in the world, which is "bad for business."
"People want to come to America and people want American goods," he said. "If make them competitive, people will buy them."
Economic change lies in prosperity, he said. The more prosperous a nation or Commonwealth, the greater ability to protect more.
Pennsylvania, he said, claims a county with 2 million acres of protected land.
"We can do that because we are a prosperous state and we can afford it," Rooney said. "If we grow the economy, people will start living greener and better."
Rooney touched upon the Marcellus Shale debate, stating it can be drilled safely and smartly.
Then came a discussion on Medicare and Obamacare.
"I ask people: How many think the Social Security system will be there for their grandson or granddaughter?" Rooney asked. [No hands were raised].
"Then you all agree, we have a problem," Rooney said. "If you have a problem, you have to figure out what to do to address it. A solution isn't no ideas."
Rooney said he was recently knocking on doors along West Montgomery Avenue in North Wales Borough. To the Schwartz supporters, he asked them to tell him three things that they either agreed or disagreed with on Schwartz's platform.
"I never get an answer," Rooney said. "Then I ask, when was the last time she knocked on your door?"
"I tell them: If you haven't had it so far (from Schwartz), you're not getting anything else out of her," Rooney said. "I'm here to tell you I'm accessible. My approach is to go out and meet as many people as I can."
One attendee asked Rooney how he woul address the young vote. He said his campaign has identified 25,000 households that have made a difference in previous elections, irrespective of age.
"We identified groups and identified, geographically, households, and we will reach out to them," Rooney said.
Another attendee asked about the truth behind the military vote being restricted, and about the role of absentee ballots.
"In Ohio, they want to give (Armed Forces soldiers) three action days to get the absentee ballot into a local voting office. It's being challenged by the Democrats," Rooney said. "But it doesn't apply to Pennsylvania."
A third attendee asked about a balanced budget amendment. Rooney said the amendment is waiting to be voted on.
Obamacare was the final point at the meet-and-greet session.
"I cannot win by trying to beat Barack Obama," said Rooney. "I have my hands full trying to beat Allyson Schwartz."
Rooney named four things that were bad with Obamacare.
First, Schwartz claimed to be a major impetus for Obamacare, Rooney said.
"I say she didn't read it and just voted," Rooney said.
Obamacare, he said, has a cost estimate of $2 billion.
A second issue: waivers were given to labor unions and the like.
"Why start a bill and then issue waivers?" Rooney asked.
The third issue deals with the Independent Payment Advisory Board aka "The Death Panel."
"They would like to take $700 billion out of Medicare, and pay less in the future," Rooney said. "That money has to come from the hospital or adoctor's back pocket. They accept the loss of care or do not accept the system."
The IPAB, he said, has 15 appointed people that sit on a board, and their jobs at the end of the day are to either choose rationing or price control.
The fourth issue is the CLASS act, Rooney said.
"Cost containment under Health and Human Services is important to keep under control," Rooney said.
On the flipside, Rooney said Obamacare should allow citizens to buy insurance across state lines.
Small businesses should also be allowed to get together to buy policies and get discounts, he said. Rooney said a cost structure needs to be brought back into it.
"The IPAB is charged with finding ways to keep costs down in Medicare/Obamacare," Rooney said.
On the issue of the Second Amendment, Rooney called himself a "defendor."
"If you use guns in a crime, you should get hammered," Rooney said.
Mensch added that, per sentencing guidelines, a criminal can get up to five years maximum and a minimum of one-year. It's all up to the judge's discretion, Mensch said.
One woman was upset at the roadblocks faced in obtainn a Voter ID card for an elderly citizen.
"Voter ID is a very good idea, but it's not easy for the disabled to go in to get them," said the woman. "Make it easier."
Mensch said the use of an absentee ballot - which asks for name, address and the last four of the Social Security number - is a "discrete identifier."
"It provides the security we need," Mensch said.
Rooney said that between now and November 6, he will make sure the right information is provided at the right time with the right paperwork.
At the end of the meet-and-greet, Szekely said it was a great turnout of Republicans.
"I'm new at this myself. I support Joe Rooney for Congress," he said. "There are issues that need to be talked about, like the $16 trillion. My kids have to pay for that."
Szekely said enough is enough.
"The states have to have a balanced budget. Why not the federal government?" he said.
Republican Rose Angelillis, of Lansdale, said Rooney said everything she needed to her.
"I can't wait to get more involved to vote for him," she said.
Rooney said he wants peoplet vote for him and not vote against him.
Schwartz, he said, has $2.6 million in the bank.
"I guarantee to work hard for you," he said. "I can't win without Republican, Democrats and Indepedent votes. Allyson Schwartz couldn't care less about Republican and Independent votes."
"I'm a great believer in luck," Rooney said. "Thomas Jefferson said, 'I find the harder I work, the more luck I have.' I'll make my own luck."