“I trace my involvement in politics back to the second grade when I joined my student council,” said Troiano during a sit-down interview on Friday. A political first-timer, Troiano has been driving around the Pennsylvania 10th District in a DeLorean, gathering signatures to make a third-party run for Congress.
“The reason we chose “Back to the Future” [for the name of the campaign] is because I believe we need to get back to a politics that serves the people in order to save the future of our country,” said Troiano.
Troiano said Friday that he has more than the required 3,600 signatures necessary to get his name on the November ballot, and that he plans on making his official announcement about the number of signatures he has gathered Wednesday in Harrisburg.
Troiano, who has a Master’s Degree from Georgetown University, isn’t taking money from special interest groups, and is fundraising entirely through individual donations. “So that way, I’m not beholden to the campaign contributors and can be responsive to the constituents,” said Troiano.
He has captured national attention for his age, his policy stances, and his views on why he left the Republican Party. “I believe in many conservative values, of limited government, and personal responsibility, and free markets,” said Troiano. “But I think the Republican Party is no longer representing the people. They've been captured by an extreme element, I think, and are more interested in positioning themselves for the next election rather than working with the other folks across the aisle to solve problems and get things done."
Troiano has been profiled in the Washington Post, and on FOX News. He says he believes the political landscape is right for him to win. “Dissatisfaction with Congress is as high as it ever been,” said Troiano. “Desire for a third option is the highest it's ever been. So I think of this as the year that we can really see a candidate like me succeed at the polls."
18 News asked Troiano about a number of issues important to voters in the Northern Tier. His responses are below.
On the national debt: Troiano says the country is on an unsustainable road. He wants to reform the tax code to make it more competitive and raise more revenue, reform major entitlement programs so they are sustainably solvent for the next generation, and keep investing to help grow our economy in education, infrastructure, and research.
On hydraulic fracturing: Troiano says he supports developing natural resources including natural gas in a safe and sustainable way. He said he thinks the natural gas industry has done good things for Pennsylvania’s economy, and good for the country as well in terms of energy independence. Troiano says he things the industry needs regulations to protect drinking water and clean air.
On Obamacare: Troiano called the Affordable Care Act a “flawed piece of legislation that has been incompetently implemented.” He says that it does some good, such as extending health insurance to those who didn’t have it, and made some good reforms to the insurance industry, but that it clearly spends too much and doesn’t about the choice and competition in the marketplace that people want to see. Troiano says the focus now needs to be on repairing the law to contain costs, to increase choice, and to reduce the role of the federal government in healthcare decisions.
18 News reached out to both of Troiano’s opponents, Republican Congressman Tom Marino and Democrat Scott Brion, for comment on this story. We did not receive a statement from either of them by press time.