Candidate Profile from Congressional QuarterlyPat Toomey (R) of Allentown
Drawing heavily on his experience as a restaurateur, as well as a career in international investment banking, Toomey has positioned himself as a Republican with a familiar smaller government, pro-business point of view.
An owner of two restaurants in the Allentown area, Toomey says he knows firsthand how government agencies, including the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, can pose a "real headache" for small-business owners.
He decided to try his hand at politics after the 1994 elections, which he said presented an "opportunity to change the direction of government" and make it more responsive to citizens.
Excepting a summer internship in the office of Sen. John H. Chafee, R-R.I., Toomey's only political experience was a two-year stint on the Allentown Government Study Commission ÷ a panel charged with rewriting the city's charter. There he was able to push through a plan requiring a supermajority vote of the city council to raise taxes, despite the fact that the commission was dominated by Democrats.
This anti-tax sentiment is evident throughout his platform, which includes plans to abolish the IRS and simplify the tax code. "It should not be impossible for me to do my own taxes," he said.
The 15th District's aging population is also a concern for Toomey, who says protecting Social Security should be at the top of the Washington agenda. Not surprisingly, his solution involves reducing Washington's role in the program and allowing workers to invest a portion of their payroll taxes in private retirement accounts.