Fitzpatrick challenger to criticize role in shutdown

By Chris Palmer / Inquirer Staff Writer

Rep. Mike Fitzpatrick (R, Bucks) became one of several area representatives this week to break with Republican House leadership and call on the House to pass a “clean” funding bill that would end a government shutdown. 

But a potential Democratic challenger for Fitzpatrick’s seat says that’s not enough. 

Kevin Strouse, who is set to run for a Democratic nomination to challenge Fitzpatrick in 2014, will hold a press conference Thursday afternoon in Bristol urging Fitzpatrick to "take meaningful action - end the shutdown." 

In a media advisory announcing the event, Strouse said Fitzpatrick “caves to the Tea Party” and has voted “repeatedly” to shut down the government. 

Fitzpatrick did originally vote for a resolution that would fund the government only if the Affordable Care Act - “Obamacare” - was defunded, a tactic that was widely expected to force a shutdown.

But later in the week - after the shutdown began - he became a Republican defector to that strategy, which didn't please a Bucks-based Tea Party leader.

Fitzpatrick “needs to fulfill his promises," said Anastasia Przybylski, cofounder of the Doylestown-based Kitchen Table Patriots, in an interview with The Inquirer yesterday. "He needs to stick with the Republicans that are showing leadership." 

At Strouse’s press conference, according to his advisory, he will likely highlight effects of the government shutdown on area residents, including potential delays in Veterans Affairs benefits and Medicare and Medicaid disbursements.

Strouse is an Army veteran who served in Iraq and Afghanistan. He subsequently worked at the Central Intelligence Agency and currently works with Teach2Serve, an organization that works to "educate and inspire high school students who want to change the world," according to its website.