I heard a strong rumor Tuesday that former Pennsylvania Farm Bureau leader Keith Eckel plans to run for Congress.
So I called him up.
It doesn’t sound like he plans to run.
Eckel, a Republican who lives in Newton Twp., would run against U.S. Rep. Matt Cartwright, the Moosic Democrat who represents the 8th Congressional District.
“There’s always rumors, Borys,” Eckel said. “Have I had people talk to me about it? Yes. Quite candidly, the key thing for me is can I make a difference if I were elected. Quite honestly, I like Matt as a person. I think what is going on in Washington is we’re not talking with each other, we’re talking at each other. My life has been spent basically getting people to work together to remedy problems. I’d have to be convinced that I could make a difference.”
People urging him to run “causes me to think, but I don’t know if I would even say I’m weighing it.
“I do believe everybody deserves more out of Washington.”
Eckel, 72, pointed to President Donald Trump’s re-negotiated NAFTA. A supporter of the original NAFTA and member of an agricultural advisory board to presidents Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush, Eckel said the original NAFTA didn’t make trade perfectly fair and free, but it made trade freer and fairer.
As Republicans and Democrats continue to war in Washington, the new NAFTA sits without even congressional debate about its merits, he said.
“Could I make a difference in Washington? I don’t know,” Eckel said.
He would join a Republican field that includes Luzerne County Councilman Harry Haas and former security company owner Teddy Daniels, who, I think, lives in West Wyoming.