WAYNE COUNTY, PA — Teddy Daniels knows how to create a stir on social media. On May 8, he posted a video of himself firing a couple of shots from a semi-automatic rifle before turning to the …
WAYNE COUNTY, PA — Teddy Daniels knows how to create a stir on social media. On May 8, he posted a video of himself firing a couple of shots from a semi-automatic rifle before turning to the camera and introducing himself as a candidate for Congress. The video was retweeted more than 6,000 times. More recently, Daniels posted a picture of himself eating at Backroads Café and Dairy Bar, a restaurant in Newfoundland, PA that reopened for dine-in services, ignoring mandated closure from Gov. Tom Wolf. Daniels wrote that he’d like to see “more patriots opening up.”
Daniels, a former police officer and a veteran of the War in Afghanistan, is running against five other Republican candidates for a chance to challenge Rep. Matt Cartwright’s seat in the U.S. House of Representatives. He says that he chose to run because he doesn’t feel that Congress looks out for the interests of working-class citizens. He’s also running because of “the way the Democrat[ic] Party has shifted so far left.”
“The Democratic Party used to be the party of the working man,” he said. “It’s changed drastically to where they care more about illegal aliens and blocking the president’s agenda every chance that they can.”
After a career in law enforcement, Daniels served in the U.S. Army Infantry and was wounded in Afghanistan in 2012. Life as a wounded combat veteran has shaped some of his policy positions, especially on healthcare. Daniels wants to “remove those state lines” that affect what kind of insurance coverage somebody has in Pennsylvania compared to what they would have in Ohio, and replace it with free-market competition.
“Competition is great; it’s especially great for the consumer,” he said. “Competition brings lower prices and increased services.”
Daniels said he’s opposed to “Medicare for all” and “socialized healthcare” plans. Looking at his own bad experiences being treated in Veteran’s Association (VA) hospitals, Daniels tells people to take a look at VA facilities before they consider a government-run healthcare system. Under a socialized system, Daniels said the government gets to choose “who lives and who dies.”
Daniels recovered from his injuries in Fort Carson, Colorado. While laid up in the hospital, he saw stories on the news “every night” about legal marijuana dispensaries and cultivation facilities getting robbed. This gave him the idea to found a security, transportation and consulting firm which catered specifically to the legal cannabis industry.
Daniels said that his opponents have tried to label him as “the pot guy.” He rejects the distinction, saying that he does not use the drug himself. However, with a “foot in the libertarian lane,” Daniels said he wouldn’t stand in the way of legalization, but that he’s not pushing for it either.
His hands-off approach applies to his perspective on rural broadband. The lack of high-speed internet is consistently mentioned by the county’s commissioners, local economic developers and Rep. Cartwright as one of the county’s greatest drawbacks. Daniels admitted that he hadn’t heard of the issue before getting asked about it during an interview with River Reporter. However, he said that it isn’t the government’s responsibility to provide it.
“If you want the best internet in the world, live in an urban area,” he said. “I wish I could say that the government could provide everything for you; but they can’t, and quite honestly it’s not their responsibility to.”
Daniels does think that the government can help bring work to the area, however. As a congressman, he would push to bring tech jobs to Wayne County, saying he’d like to see a company like Amazon open a warehouse or headquarters locally. He supports fracking “especially in Wayne County” for the same reasons.
“Imagine what that would do for the local economy, for the small business owners that would support that operation,” he said. “Your real estate prices would go up... and I think it would bring a lot of improvements to the area.”
With his libertarian leanings, it’s no surprise that Daniels has been quite critical of Gov. Tom Wolf’s response to COVID-19—which has forced many businesses to close down.
Daniels said that Wolf “doesn’t have a right to even dictate what companies stay open and what companies don’t.” He said that the government should instead “leave it up to the people.”
“Those who want to live in fear, let them do that, that’s their right,” Daniels said.
“I don’t need the government to protect me and my family, that’s my job.”
Throughout the campaign, Daniels has made a concerted effort to separate himself from the other five candidates as the true “political outsider.” In a recent debate, when asked whether he would support the chosen Republican candidate if he lost the nomination, he said that it would depend on who had won. He calls himself a “fighter” rather than a politician and said that he plans to go to Washington and fight “swamp” politicians on both the Republican and Democrat parties.
“I think people need a different flavor, I think they’ve been failed by career politicians.”