Politicians take positions for a lot of reasons, most often because they know it will get them votes at the ballot box. Fred Keller, the Republican Party candidate for the special election for the 12th US Congressional District to be held on May 21st, holds positions that came as a result of his life’s experiences.
For example, Fred Keller believes in supporting small businesses because as soon as he graduated from Shikellamy High School in 1984, he went to work for Conestoga Wood Specialties in Beavertown (Snyder County). This company began twenty years before he joined it out of a garage in East Earl, PA and eventually grew into five plants in three states employing 1200 people. Fred worked hard and eventually became plant operations manager for Conestoga in Beavertown.
Fred Keller believes in supporting families, because almost as soon as he began working, he also married his wife Kay, and 34 years later, they have two adult children, Jamie and Freddie, and two granddaughters. He started a business in 1990 in properties to help earn money for his kids to go to college.
An incident with his son Freddie when he was just a child helped formed Fred’s view of nationalized health coverage. Little Freddie was in the hospital on life support, and Fred and Kay were told that there was a zero chance of recovery. They refused to give up, and over time Freddie fully recovered. Today, 23 years later, Freddie is employed in that very same hospital.
Fred Keller contrasts this to the episode last year in the United Kingdom where the parents of the British toddler, Elfie Evans, were not only told that they had no choice in the decision on taking the child off life support, they were also not permitted to take their child to the Bambino Gesù Hospital in Vatican City which offered to treat him. Like the similar situation of Charlie Gard in 2017 whose parents also tried to take their child out of the country for treatment, it was the government, and not the family, that made the final decision. Keller fears this same thing could happen in the United States if legislation such as Medicare for All is passed as it will amount to government control of healthcare.
If there is one catchphrase that all politicians use, it is that they will work hard for us. In the case of Fred Keller, it happens to be true. Everyone who has known the man for any time at all notes this particular aspect of his character — this guy works really hard!
Like other convictions, Fred Keller’s industry comes from his upbringing. He was born in Page, Arizona, near the Grand Canyon. Though his mother and father were native Pennsylvanians, they had to go where the work was, and that was in Arizona. But times got hard, and eventually, his parents and the four siblings were all living in a bare floor, one-room apartment with no running water or electricity. As a seven-year-old, Fred was collecting aluminum cans for grocery money.
This developed into an unmatched work ethic that has never left him. As a state representative, even as a business and property owner, he has never missed a session day in Harrisburg since his election in 2010. Even on the road in the 15th Congressional District, which covers fifteen counties spread out over northern Pennsylvania, he still makes sure he keeps up on his responsibilities as a state rep with a perfect attendance record.
Fred Keller publicly states that government should be defined by people and not the other way around. These ideas did not come sitting in a political science class in college or grad school, but from the character, work ethic, and commitment to public service that he has displayed his whole life. Tom Marino’s shoes are hard to fill, but they would certainly fit Fred Keller.