They Started in Erie
By Ginny Tonkin GoErie.com staff blogger
They Started in Erie celebrates those successful stars who've lived and started out in our big, little town.   Read more about this blog.
 Phone: 814-870-1915
Posted: September 8th, 2010
Candidate looks to take lead of 3rd District

Butler, PA is not Erie, Pennsylvania, that’s a fact. But this congressional candidate says the issues facing northwestern Pennsylvanians are not zip code specific.

Taking a place in his father’s business the day after his college graduation, this Pennsylvania businessman believes putting good business sense first will help stabilize our nation’s spending problems.

Congressional candidate Mike Kelly

Congressional candidate Mike Kelly

Who’s who: Mike Kelly

Why care: This newcomer to the political process faces one term incumbent Democrat Kathy Dahlkemper, a race tagged as one of the state’s top midterm elections to watch by national observers.

Erie link: This automotive dealer was born and raised in western PA, although Kelly’s parents relocated to raise the family in Butler after his birth in Pittsburgh. A congressional candidate for the state’s third district, Kelly has been actively campaigning in Erie and around the region to gather support.

He and his wife, Victoria, have four children, George, Brendan, Charlotte, and Colin. He is the proud grandfather of four, three girls and a boy.

Previous experience: An active member of the Butler community, Kelly has served on the board of the Butler Area School District and currently serves as Councilman for Butler City Council.

Defensive tackle turned businessman: After a football injury put his dreams of playing pro to rest as a college freshman at the University of Norte Dame, Kelly found new motivation in his studies. “A maturing point” for Kelly, this injury turned him from “a boy with a dream to a man who realized there was a lot more to life.”

All in the family: Kelly started working for his father’s dealership at 14, and helped to build the current building, including digging trenches for the concrete. In 1967, he started as a Service Advisor, moving on to excel in sales the next year. He purchased the dealership from his father in the mid-90s.

Congressional motivation: “I couldn’t stomach that this would be the first time in America’s history that our children and grandchildren would be less well off than we were.”

Kelly’s plan: “Taxes, fines, and fees,” are three things that Kelly feels holds businesses—and the economy—back. Kelly looks to cut spending to end the deficit and help businesses succeed. He also looks to reduce corporate and wage taxes. He feels a simplified tax code would also curtail the government’s “ability to overreach.”

Side projects: Kelly serves as Secretary and Treasurer of Hyundai’s “Hope on Wheels,” a group that has raised $14 million to combat pediatric cancer.

Success: “…is a moving target,” said Kelly, who says it depends on his daily objectives.

Get educated: Learn more about Mike Kelly on his campaign website. Find out more about his Democratic competitor, Kathy Dahlkemper, on her site. Track campaign coverage on GoErie’s Campaign 10 blog. Find unbiased information on America’s elected officials at Project Vote Smart.

Who do you want to see? Let me know who you want to see next in They Started in Erie at gtonkin@goerie.com.

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