There are currently 76 veterans serving in Congress, and one more hopes to join their ranks. Angry at the system and the politicians in Washington, Ashley Ehasz has decided to run against incumbent Brian Fitzpatrick (R-Bucks/Montgomery) for the First Congressional District of Pennsylvania.
Growing up wasn’t easy for Ehasz and her family. Ehasz told Delaware Valley Journal she moved around a lot, and that instability drove her to join the military.
“Until I was about six, my mom and I lived in New Jersey, at times living in government housing,” Ehasz said. “Afterwards, we began moving around a lot in southeastern Pennsylvania, ultimately settling in Pen Argyl, where I graduated from Pen Argyl High School. Growing up with just my mom, without much stability, the best option I felt I had was to join the Army. I entered West Point in the summer of 2006 at the age of 17, after my parents signed an age waiver.”
While the instability of her childhood pushed Ehasz to first serve her country, it was the events of the protest at the U.S. Capitol on January 6 that launched Ehasz into the race against Fitzpatrick.
“As a veteran, I was deeply disturbed by the events of January 6,” Ehasz said, “and it’s from the inaction of politicians in Washington who allowed this divisiveness to fester when they should have been looking to solve problems.”
Fitzpatrick beat Democrat Christina Finello at 56.6 percent in the 2020 election. A former FBI agent, Fitzpatrick has been a member of Congress since 2016 when he replaced his brother, who was also a Republican.
Although Ehasz is running as a Democrat, her concerns aren’t limited to one political party. Her priority is to help the people of Bucks and Montgomery Counties and the rest of the United States.
“I’m not interested in partisan politics,” Ehasz said. “I am running to represent people’s priorities here in Bucks and Montgomery counties. People want their representative to come up with real solutions to how they can afford their rent, pay off their student loans, and what the plan is to build economic resilience from the threat of climate change.”
When asked for her opinions on Fitzpatrick’s policies, Ehasz said she was frustrated with how slow progress is moving toward legislation on abortion rights.
“It’s outrageous to me, and to so many of the people I talk to every day, that in 2021 we are facing an existential threat to reproductive healthcare and the right to choose, and it’s politicians in Washington like Brian Fitzpatrick fanning the flames of anti-choice rhetoric,” she said.
In addition to her pro-choice position, Ehasz wants to bring relief to the people struggling in Bucks and Montgomery Counties.
“Whether you are a young professional just starting out, or an older adult looking towards retirement, you feel the strain on your wallet because politicians in Washington accomplish nothing,” Ehasz said. “For the first time in decades, students, workers, families, and retirees are worse off than the generation before us, unable to make a down payment, find work that offers a livable wage, or afford prescription drug prices.”
As a commissioned officer, Ehasz says she learned valuable leadership lessons which would translate into how she tackled issues in Congress.
“I graduated from West Point in 2010 and went on to complete flight school, where I learned to fly the AH-64D Apache Longbow helicopter,” she said. “My first duty station was Fort Bliss, Texas, where I served as a platoon leader. From there I deployed to Kuwait and then Camp Taji, Iraq, under Operation Inherent Resolve. In 2016, after further leadership training, I was granted the greatest privilege of my career: Becoming a company commander. I assumed command of an aviation maintenance troop at Fort Riley, Kansas, and later was deployed to South Korea where I eventually took command of another troop in our unit. In 2018, after nearly nine years as a commissioned officer, I used the G.I. Bill to further my education, earning my master’s degree from the University of Oxford.”
Ehasz states in her campaign launch video she’s angry at a system that’s keeping families in Bucks and Montgomery Counties unable to reach higher goals for themselves.
“It’s time to send a representative to Washington who isn’t afraid to tackle the tough issues, who won’t shrink away from the anger Americans are feeling.”
Change is what Ehasz says she is fighting for, and she wants to make changes within Congress.
“I’m not a politician,” Ehasz states on her website. “I’m not going to Washington to cozy up to lobbyists — I am going to roll up my sleeves and solve problems. When it comes to affording things like a mortgage, health care, and student loans, I have skin in the game.”