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November 2006

Special Dossier: Decision 5767
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Pennsylvania's 8th Congressional District.
Special Dossier: Decision 5767

Voters Guide: Pennsylvania's 8th Congressional District
Mike Fitzpatrick vs. Pat Murphy.

-- Jeff Hauser

The PA-08 congressional race features freshman Republican incumbent Mike Fitzpatrick running against attorney and Iraq War Veteran Patrick Murphy.

The race should prove to be extremely close in this politically moderate, suburban district. While both candidates are strong supporters of Israel, they take conflicting stances on abortion, stem cell research, and the first amendment guarantee of the separation of church and state. In addition, Murphy's record as a veteran of the War in Iraq is thrusting both the war and Bush foreign policy to the forefront on this election.

Here's some more information on how the candidates stand on issues of importance to the Jewish community:

  Patrick Murphy (D. Challenger) Mike Fitzpatrick (R. Incumbent)Mike Fitzpatrick
  • Issue statement: "Patrick Murphy served his country in the Middle East and understands the importance of America's special relationship with Israel. Our commitment must be steadfast and unwavering."
  • More: "As America's only true ally in the region, we must strengthen this bond as we search for solutions together."
  • Please see full policy statement at the bottom of the page.
  • Murphy's "Plan for Iraq:" bring home Reservists and National Guard immediately; bring home "another 50,000 troops home by the end of 2006."
  • Pres. Bush's policy-making in Iraq: "I believe it's time for someone who has seen combat in Iraq to demand honesty, to demand the truth and demand a clear exit strategy to end the bloodshed. We are not getting that from this President right now."
  • Rep. Fitzpatrick has broken ranks with many Republicans through his criticism of the War in Iraq, but he opposes Murphy and his redeployment plan.
  • Also, Rep. Fitzpatrick supported Bush and the War earlier in his first term, and seems to have flip-flopped recently in preparation for the upcoming election.


Reproductive Freedom
  • From his website: "Patrick is Pro-Choice. As a former professor of Constitutional Law, he understands that the right to privacy is guaranteed by the United States Constitution, and that Roe vs. Wade has been settled law for 30 years."
  • More: ?He believes we should also work to make abortion safe, legal and rare by promoting comprehensive sex education and encouraging alternatives such as adoption."
  • Throughout his career in Congress, Rep. Fitzpatrick has consistently supported legislation seeking to limit the reproductive freedom of American women.
  • In fact, he has voted with the right-wing National Right to Life Committee 100% of the time on key abortion legislation since his election to congress.
Stem Cell Research
  • Issue statement: "Patrick supports full federal funding of stem cell research."
  • Murphy also believes that "By failing to fully fund further research of this scientific breakthrough, we run the risk of falling behind other nations in the race to cure life threatening illnesses."
  • Rep. Fitzpatrick stands with President Bush in opposition to stem cell research.
  • Rep. Fitzpatrick voted against H.R. 810 (bill vetoed by Bush), which sought to repeal restrictions on federal funding for stem-cell research.


Separation of Church and State
  • Issue statement: "Patrick Murphy fully supports the first amendment guarantee of the separation of church and state."
  • "As such, Patrick Murphy opposes the teaching of creationism or ?intelligent design? in public schools, prayer in public schools, and the display of religious artifacts in public places like courthouses and government buildings."
  • "In Congress, Patrick Murphy would oppose any legislation granting federal funds to religious or faith-based groups that discriminated in their hiring practices on the basis of race, religion, or sexual orientation."
  • Rep. Fitzpatrick voted against NJDC recommendations on every major piece of legislation dealing with issues of separation of church and state during his 1st term.
  • Rep. Fitzpatrick twice (H.R. 27 amdt. 14 and H.R. 2123 amdt. 574) voted against bills seeking to prevent federally-funded religious groups from practicing discrimination in their hiring practices.
  • He also voted against H.R.2863 amdt. 328, which condemned reports of proselytizing and religious discrimination coming from the U.S. Air Force Academy.
Additional Links

Patrick Murphy: A Proud Supporter of Israel

The United States? support for Israel is a highly political issue, but should never be a partisan one. Members of both political parties must work together to ensure the long term success of the State of Israel. Patrick Murphy served his country in the Middle East and understands the importance of America's special relationship with Israel. Our commitment must be steadfast and unwavering.
Israel is an important strategic partner and a strong democracy in an unstable region of the world. But our relationship is more than political. The connection that many Americans feel with Israel is based on our shared commitment to freedom, our shared history of welcoming the persecuted, and our shared values as well.

Israel is a strong partner in the fight against terrorism and a bastion of stability in the Middle East. Because of the strength of our relationship, we will see peace, prosperity and stability in this region. America's support for Israel must be unequivocal and nonpartisan.

As America's only true ally in the region, we must strengthen this bond as we search for solutions together.


Our special relationship with Israel --- the closest friend and ally that we have in the Middle East --- is essential to the eradication of global terrorism. Israel's history of dealing with terrorist threats and actions makes it an invaluable resource as we face our own threats from Islamic extremists.

Our nations must continue to work closely together to gather and share information about terrorist organizations --- their activities, their tactics, and the best ways to safeguard both nations from attacks.

In Congress, Patrick Murphy will be a strong advocate to maintain our relationship with Israel. He will back legislation to fund joint terrorism efforts and strengthen Israel's military capabilities. By doing so, we will reduce the threat of global terrorism and increase the peace and stability of the region.


As concern about the threat from Iran continues to grow in the U.S., we must never forget that Iran poses the single greatest threat to Israel's existence and is therefore the single most destabilizing factor in the Middle East. Iran has long been a state sponsor of terrorism and a haven for radical Islamic groups. The ascendancy of President Ahmadinejad has only heightened those concerns. It is unacceptable for any world leader to advocate the destruction of Israel. We must use every resource available to stop this growing threat to world security. The United Nations Security Council should immediately take decisive action in condemning any movement towards an Iranian nuclear program, including economic and political sanctions.

With the current state of affairs in Iraq, we must remain even more vigilant against the threat posed by Iran, and we must be prepared to take action to defend the State of Israel and other nations in the region. While every diplomatic avenue must be pursued and exhausted, and while nobody wants to see an expansion of U.S. Military operations in the Middle East, we must also be prepared to act militarily if need be.

Patrick Murphy will support the Iran Freedom Support Act and all efforts to hold the Iranian government responsible for its actions and to encourage a democratic government in Iran. He will support similar policies towards other rogue nations such as Syria, North Korea, and any other nation that provides a safe harbor for terrorists and other threats to world security.


No nation should be forced to negotiate with terrorists, and any sense of peace or security that would come as an outcome of those negotiations would be tenuous at best.
Israel has, throughout its existence, shown a willingness to negotiate in good faith with other responsible governments in an effort to bring a lasting peace to the Middle East. However, Hamas and the Palestinian Authority have not always shown that same good faith.

The recent Palestinian elections dealt a serious blow to our efforts to create a lasting peace between Israel and the Palestinians. Hamas is a terrorist organization whose primary objective is the destruction of the Jewish people and the Jewish State, and the U.S. should not bestow the mantel of credibility or the benefits of financial aid upon Hamas until they renounce terrorism, not in the hope that they will renounce it later. To trust that Hamas will ?do the right thing? or somehow change their ways is nave. And with other nations already softening their approach towards Hamas, America has a duty to be especially strong and united in our own approach.

Patrick Murphy will not support any aid to the Palestinian Authority until Hamas has renounced terrorism, recognized Israel?s absolute right to exist, and agreed to honor all previously existing treaties and agreements.


Beyond it being the right thing to do to help our neighbors in need, it is in our best interests to promote peaceful and stable living conditions around the world. In this ever-shrinking world, we do not have the luxury of ignoring problems because they're not in our own backyards. Conflicts are no longer isolated by national borders or political boundaries, and we must increase and sustain our nation's commitment to foreign aid.

Aid to Israel is a critical component and a cost-effective means of promoting a U.S. foreign policy that continues to stabilize the region by ensuring that Israel maintains a qualitative military advantage. Israel's strength serves as a deterrent to those groups and nations who would otherwise launch constant attacks against Israel. Finally, this aid further cements the unbreakable bond between the United States and Israel.

Patrick Murphy believes that our dependence on Mideastern sources of oil weakens our national security. We send $25 billion every year to unstable and sometimes unfriendly countries, just to cover our addiction to foreign oil. In order to spur innovation, we should offer incentives to industries that invest in alternative energy so that products like hybrid vehicles are more readily available to American consumers. Patrick believes that by increasing the affordability and availability of alternative fuel sources we will be able to wean ourselves off of fossil fuels and reduce our reliance on foreign oil. Shared projects to explore alternative energy sources, such as the recent United States-Israel Energy Cooperation Act approved by the House of Representatives, are on the cutting edge of the new frontier of the US-Israel relationship.


The United States should recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. Patrick Murphy will support legislation and action which moves the United States embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.


Spreading freedom and democracy isn't just a foreign policy objective; it is our moral obligation. Israel and the United State have demonstrated for decades their mutual commitment not only to each other, but to the greater principles of freedom, peace, and democracy.