Brendan Boyle (D) and David Torres (R) are running for the United States House of Representatives in Pennsylvania’s 2nd Congressional District, which falls east of Broad Street and north of Race Street. Both candidates ran uncontested in their primaries this year and are up for the general election on Nov. 3.
Both candidates believe in raising the minimum wage to $15 an hour, but Boyle supports the Green New Deal and Medicare for All, while Torres does not. Torres supports Donald Trump, while Boyle endorsed Joe Biden.
Boyle grew up in Philadelphia and has served the city in public office since 2009, starting as the state representative from Pennsylvania’s 170th district encompassing parts of Philadelphia and Montgomery County, according to Boyle’s website.
Co-founder of the Blue Collar Caucus, which attempts to empower the middle class, Boyle wants to reconnect the Democratic Party with working-class people by “addressing wage stagnation, job insecurity, trade, offshoring and reduced career opportunities for those in the manufacturing and building trades,” according to his campaign website.
Boyle released a statement in July condemning Republican Congress members for their inaction during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“I am outraged at their refusal to put politics aside and help the American people in a time of great need,” Boyle said, in the press release.
The U.S. House of Representatives passed a $2.2 trillion COVID-19 stimulus package on Oct. 1, which would provide another round of $1,200 stimulus checks to most Americans, CNBC reported.
Boyle co-sponsored the Medicare for All Act, which would entitle every American to health care coverage, and the Green New Deal, which would invest in combating climate change, in 2019, according to the legislation.
Boyle voted to raise the federal minimum wage in 2019 to $15 an hour by 2024, according to the Keystone Research Center.
Boyle co-sponsored the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act of 2020, which includes restricting the amount of military equipment given to local police forces and limiting the application of qualified immunity, according to the bill.
He also co-sponsored the Debt-Free College Act of 2019, which would grant quicker financial aid eligibility for students convicted of drug offenses.
Boyle, who endorsed Democratic Presidential Nominee Biden, recently spoke at the Democratic National Convention in support of the former vice president.
Boyle’s office did not respond to multiple requests for comment.
Torres moved to Philadelphia at age 12 and lives in Fairhill.
He’s experienced the effects of a long reign of politicians who do not prioritize the needs of Philadelphians, he said.
His only political experience is serving as the Republican Party’s ward leader for Philadelphia’s 19th Ward, which is north of Main Campus, he wrote in an email to The Temple News.
Torres feels Congressman Boyle left Philadelphia behind and isn’t addressing increasing homelessness in the city and the opioid crisis, to which Torres lost his son, he said.
“I decided, you know what, let me get up and raise my voice because this is getting to be a joke,” he said. “You have politicians who stay in Congress for 10, 15, 20 years . . . telling you what’s wrong, but behind your back, they’re selling you out.”
Torres supports the reopening of schools and businesses and another round of stimulus checks during the COVID-19 pandemic so Americans can recover from job losses incurred since March, he said.
He supports a $15 minimum wage, rent control and increased funding for clinics and hospitals, he said.
Torres believes fracking is good for Pennsylvania, and, while he thinks the U.S. should work to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, he opposes the Green New Deal.
“We have become energy independent for the first time in a long time, and there’s a lot of jobs involved in this,” he said. “I understand the greenhouse effect, but, before we know it, fracking is going to be stopped. And then they’re going to be telling us we can’t raise cows.”
Torres supports the police and does not think the government should reallocate a portion of funding away from police forces back into communities, as the Black Lives Matter movement calls for.
He supports extending health services for those who are uninsured or underinsured. However, Torres does not support Medicare for All, he wrote in an email to The Temple News.
Torres supports Trump in the November election, citing economic growth during the president’s first term, and he believes Trump “isn’t a politician; he’s a businessman.”