Pennsylvania Sixth Congressional District Republican candidate Guy Ciarrocchi spoke with The Pennsylvania Daily Star and explained why he is running against incumbent Democrat Chrissy Houlahan (D-PA-06) even though the board of directors of his previous employer, the Chester County Chamber, endorsed her for re-election in 2020.
Ciarrocchi served as Chester County Chamber CEO from January 2014 until September 18, 2021. In that role, he ran the day-to-day operations but did not have a vote in the endorsement process.
Ciarrocchi explained to The Daily Star what the Chester County Chamber does, why it endorsed the Democrat incumbent in 2020, and why he is running against her today.
“Our chamber by design, when it was created in 1991, was created to be a public policy organization,” he said. “We have community events, civic events, and business card exchanges.”
“Think of it as – you get the pizza parlor owner, the printer, the accountant, and the lawyer – they all get to meet each other so the printer can do the printing business,” he said. “The pizza parlor can feed everybody. The accountant can do everybody’s books and the lawyer can be everybody’s lawyer.”
“So we facilitate those relationships,” he added.
“Above and beyond that, we’ve always been a policy organization. We try to promote changes in the tax law or regulations that we think will help all businesses grow,” the PA-6 candidate continued. “So as a result, we meet with a lot of elected officials all of the time. Also, our chamber from time to time – our board of directors will endorse candidates and recommend them to the voters.”
Turning to the 2020 Houlahan endorsement by his former employer’s board, Ciarrocchi said, “We did have our meetings with Houlahan regarding the pandemic. Trying to keep things as normal as possible, members of my board interviewed candidates and then our government affairs counsel makes a recommendation to our board to endorse.”
“In 2020 our board endorsed a slate of candidates, Republicans and Democrats, one of which was Congresswoman Houlahan. I’m not a voting member of that board. I was the CEO,” he added. “They endorsed a mixture of Republicans and Democrats. It is not a Republican organization, it is a business organization, although about 90 percent of people they typically endorse are Republicans.”
Ciarrocchi explained why, in his view, the board endorsed the Democrat in 2020.
“They did endorse her, and members of the board can speak for themselves, but I think there was a sense that she was an incumbent who was trying to be helpful during the pandemic and in July of 2020, month four of the pandemic, they felt as though they wanted to extend the hand of friendship to her to try to develop the working relationship to get us through the pandemic and to the other side,” he said.
Chambers of commerce frequently endorse the incumbents in situations where they are trying to work with that person.
The candidate additionally detailed why he thinks Houlahan is not the representative the 6th district needs. His main problem is that she is a rubber-stamp for the Biden agenda.
“There are empty storefronts. There are problems with crime in our region, problems with our kids, and she voted 100 percent of the time for everything that has brought us to where we are,” he said. “Her record on requests from the Biden administration is 100 percent. There hasn’t been one moment of independence, independent leadership, or one moment of speaking out.”
“The things they voted for have been an abject disaster. Gas has more than doubled. Inflation is growing. Its costing the average family $5,300 more this year just to buy the things they bought last year,” he continued. “Our kids were locked out of school. Crime is on the rise.”
“She voted for every single one of those things,” Ciarrocchi concluded.
Ciarrocchi is a lifelong Republican. His tenure of service to the GOP includes roles as Pennslyvania College Republican Chairman, national co-chairman, Pennsylvania YR chair, alternate delegate to the 1988 RNC convention, and executive board member of the Chester County and Pennsylvania GOP.
He was also one of the first Pennsylvania chamber presidents during COVID to speak out against mandates and excessive lockdowns on businesses and students and a leading public voice for the #VoteYes campaign, speaking out against the abuse of gubernatorial powers. According to his website, the campaign resulted in limiting the scope of the Pennsylvania governor’s emergency powers.
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Aaron Gulbransen is a reporter at The Pennsylvania Daily Star and The Star News Network. Email tips to [email protected]. Follow Aaron on GETTR, Twitter, and Parler.
Photo “Guy Ciarrocchi” by Guy Ciarrocchi.