It’s congressional musical chairs — Jason Altmire was defeated by Mark Critz who was defeated by Keith Rothfus — who is just hours away from becoming the region’s newest congressman.
“A little nervous,” Rothfus, an Edgeworth Republican, admitted to KDKA Political Editor Jon Delano.
The Congressman-Elect knows it’s a tough time in Washington.
“I’m very excited to go down there, and looking at a lot of the challenges we have ahead of us,” he said.
His nameplate is already on his office door in Washington. The 50-year-old lawyer joins 70 new members of the House.
Rothfus says his first focus is constituent service.
“We’re going to be having an office in the North Hills, we’ll be having an office in Beaver County and we’ll be having an office out in Johnstown,” Rothfus added.
The Republican says he wants to serve local residents as his Democratic predecessors Altmire and Critz did.
“They worked hard for their constituents, and I look forward to continuing the service of those constituents,” he said. ” That’s a big part of this job — constituent service. It’s the major part of the job.”
Identified with the Conservative Tea Party wing of his party, Rothfus was non-committal on the bi-partisan Fiscal Cliff package that passed the Senate.
“We have a huge spending problem, and that’s where we will have a continuing battle over the coming months,” he said.
And he says Washington is over-regulating with “more than a hundred thousand new bureaucrats who are going to micromanage healthcare, micromanage financial services, micromanage energy. This is not the way to grow the economy.”
Appointed to the House Judiciary and Homeland Security Committees, Rothfus will be in the middle of border security and immigration reform — but he repeats his first priority is local constituents.
“If they have an issue with how the federal government is interacting with them, we’ll need to hear about it,” he said.