Concerns in Erie Over Cantor Loss - WICU12 HD WSEE Erie, PA News, Sports, Weather and Events

Concerns in Erie Over Cantor Loss

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Republican representative Eric Cantor announced Wednesday afternoon that he will step down as House Majority Leader July 1.  Political watchers and those interested in immigration reform are still trying to process how Dave Brat, a little known tea party challenger, with little money, defeated Cantor by 10 percentage points.

Was he unpopular and out of touch with voters in Virginia's 7th congressional district?  Or was Cantor's support of some elements of immigration reform used to defeat him?  We got reaction in Erie today from key democrats, republicans and those lobbying for immigration reform. Those hoping for immigration policy changes are worried that Cantor's defeat means defeat for reforms.

Sister Mary Claire, Social Justice Coordinator for the Sisters of Saint Joseph of NWPA said, "It sure was a surprise, from all angles and I hope it doesn't mean the death nell for immigration reform."

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce and in turn the Regional Chamber and Growth Partnership has taken a strong position in favor of reforms, and the expansion of H-1B Visas that would keep more highly trained skilled workers working in the U.S. tech sector after earning advanced degrees in the U.S.  Chamber Executive Director, Barbara Chaffee said, "We're more concerned that congress will not go forward now with immigration reform that they'll be skittish and not do the job that they're elected to do, and that is move things forward and make the country stronger."

Democratic party activist Phil Friedman said, "Oh I think there's enormous implications, because I think now immigration is dead, even the conservative republicans are now scared to death of being right-winged in the primary by these tea party people."

Brad Moore, Director of Congressman Mike Kelly's Erie office said, "It was certainly a surprise to everyone in Washington and a firm reminder that voters in your district have the final say."  While Moore said it's rarely one issue alone that does a candidate in, clearly a perception about immigration amnesty was a factor.  "The general public feels they don't trust the federal government...we see an influx of illegal immigrants coming across the border whether good intentions or not and so anything that hints at amnesty is a non-starter," said Moore.
   republicans are now concerned about keeping that seat...and about the election for a new majority leader.##
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