A Saucon Valley business owner who employs about 75 people at two local restaurants officially kicked off his campaign for state representative Wednesday at one of the eateries: Taps Tavern in Lower Saucon Township.
Andy Lee, who also owns Braveheart Highland Pub in Hellertown, spoke to a crowd of well over 100 supporters from behind the bar at Taps. In the crowd were other Democratic candidates for office in 2018, including 15th District U.S. Congressional candidates Susan Wild and John Morganelli.
Lee, who lives in Coopersburg, made clear why he is running to represent the 131st legislative district in the state House of Representatives.
“We’re on the wrong track,” he said. “I’m going to vote for what the constituents ask for.”
Lee emphasized his support for small business as a pillar of his campaign platform.
He also said he will work to help fix a “broken” public school system, promote educating people to work in the trades and support public safety officials so they have the resources to do their jobs effectively.
“I am not afraid to fight anybody, any place, at any time,” Lee said.
He also promised that his constituents will “always get an honest reponse.”
Lee called the current state representative, Justin Simmons (R), of Upper Saucon Township, someone who “is not doing his job.”
Nevertheless, he said Simmons–as four-term incumbent in a heavily Republican district–will be a formidable opponent should the two ultimately face each other in the general election in November.
Simmons–who bowed out of a Congressional race late in November–recently revealed in a video post on his public Facebook page that he has battled obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), a type of mental disorder.
“As your representative, I’ve missed 28 days in seven years,” he said, addressing past criticism of his absenteeism in Harrisburg. “In fact, I have a 92 percent attendance record.”
Simmons said a third of his absences were because of his wedding and the birth of his daughter, while another third of the days he missed were due to illness.
“In early 2016 I suffered a significant flareup of my OCD,” which led him to seek intensive treatment that caused him to miss eight days of work, he said.
“It’s an anxiety issue,” he said of OCD. “It sometimes causes me to withdraw from family and friends.”
“My OCD isn’t something that stops me,” he added. “It isn’t something that stops me from working hard for you and leading a full life with my family and friends.”
Note: Saucon Source LLC has managed several social media platforms for Braveheart Highland Pub and Taps Tavern since November 2016 as part of its work with other local small businesses.