Mike Doyle, a longtime Plum Borough councilman and a vice president of Excalibur Insurance Management Services, is the Republican nominee to represent Pennsylvania’s 12th congressional district.
The new 12th District shares much of the same territory as the former 18th District that was represented by another Mike Doyle, a Democrat who served that district for 27 years and who will retire at the end of this term. District 12 is comprised of the city of Pittsburgh, as well as some eastern and southern suburbs, including parts of Westmoreland County.
Doyle was eager to speak with the Chronicle and to share his views on what he considers to be the most pressing issues facing America.
This interview was edited for length and clarity. It was conducted via Zoom on Oct. 26.
Tell me why you are running for Congress to represent District 12.
Well, when I saw the lines dropped by the Supreme Court back earlier this year, my phone started ringing, and they’re like, you should consider running. And my initial knee-jerk reaction was to laugh, and say no, that’s just not possible. But then I looked at the district and saw that it was winnable for a Republican, and I looked at the other side, and I saw that the person who was most likely going to win — who did end up winning — is very extreme left politically. She’s a self-avowed socialist. And I just said to myself, there’s just no way that I can sit back and let that type of extremist represent this district. And I decided to throw my hat in the ring.
So why are you the right person?
Well, because I’ve been involved in Allegheny County politics for almost 25 years. I’m an elected councilman in Plum Borough for 17 years. I’ve been president there for 13 and very proud of my record there. I have the history and a reputation of being able to reach across the aisle and get things done. I don’t knee-jerk react. I’m very pragmatic that way. I will literally sit and listen to both sides of the story with the goal to find compromise and move forward for the betterment of my borough. And that’s what I’ve done for the last 17 years. We need more of that in Washington.
I still do business on a handshake, and I ask people to call me out if I don’t keep my word. I’ve been in business with the same company for 32 years. So I bring a business acumen to the table, too.
If you’re elected, what are the three biggest issues that you would want to address as a congressman?
No. 1, clearly, is getting the out-of-control spending under control. Inflation is killing this country. It’s strangling everybody — gas and groceries. The No. 1 thing that I think that would curtail all that — I’m going to be known as the energy congressman. We need to get our Keystone Pipeline back on line. We need to get our hands off the necks of the energy producers, the oil and gas people. We have underneath our feet right here in western Pennsylvania enough natural gas to help make this country energy independent. And we need to harness that. And by the way, the last time I checked, we’re right now going to the Chinas of the world, the Saudi Arabias of the world, the Argentinas of the world for our energy. Last time I looked, there’s no EPA over there. We have the cleanest energy ever produced in the world right here in this country. And right now, this administration is not letting us harness it.
The second thing is we must get our border under control. Recently, I heard a person say — and I wish I could give them credit, I don’t remember who said it — “I support tall fences and wide gates.” Come to this country. We want you here, but you have to follow our laws and do it legally. My wife is an immigrant herself, and she said that the immigration laws — it takes 10 years sometimes. Well, then let’s look at those laws about coming in; maybe we can shorten that time up. I’m all for listening to that. Right now, Pennsylvania is No. 3 in the country in fentanyl deaths. The term “border state” is not existing anymore. We’re a border state. And if we don’t get the border under control, we’re not a country. So, like I said, I’m for immigration, just do it legally.
The third issue obviously is crime. My opponent is for — in her own words, you can see the videos — defunding the police. She’s a prison abolitionist, and no cash bail. Look at all the shootings that are going on in our city right now. Every day you turn on the news, and there’s another shooting. Well, if it was left up to Summer Lee, those people would be all walking on the streets the very next day, if not the same day. I just don’t understand. I would love to hear the reasoning why that is a good idea. We’re going to lose control of our streets. People won’t be safe in their own neighborhoods.
What would you do to crack down on crime?
Fund the police. I have a great police department here in Plum, and we make sure that they are equipped with the best and most up-to-date equipment. They need to be funded. They need to be supported. They need their ranks increased. And the bottom line is they need to be thanked for what they do.
Are you talking about some sort of federal funding for local police?
Absolutely. There’s enough money out there to pay for all these little pet projects that all these congressmen and senators have. How about we start putting the money toward our police and law enforcement and first responders?
Your opponent has made an issue out of your name, saying that you’re capitalizing on your name hoping that people will confuse you with the Democratic Mike Doyle. What is your response to that?
Well, people are having a lot of fun with the name, that’s for sure. She’s a little worried about the name. Listen, I didn’t get in this race to dupe anybody. Like I said before, I’ve been involved in Allegheny County politics for about 25 years, an elected official myself for 17 years. I can’t help that my name is Mike Doyle. She’s talking about my name because she doesn’t want to talk about the issues. Recently, we were both on Jon Delano [KDKA]. He interviewed us both. He asked Summer Lee straight up, “Are you going to join the Squad should you win this election?” She didn’t answer the question because she knows that her views and the Squad’s views are too radical. They don’t mesh with the people in this district.
Would you support a federal ban on abortion similar to the one that Lindsey Graham has introduced?
No. I would not. I am pro-life, but I support the exceptions: rape, incest and health of the mother, life of the mother.
What if any types of gun control legislation would you support?
Well, I honestly haven’t read every gun law that’s on the books right now. But I will tell you this: I gotta believe that if they’re all enforced, I think there’s enough gun laws on the books to take care of these problems. Obviously, there’s other things that need to be done. I’m a firm believer that the guns don’t kill people; people kill people. I honestly believe that, at the heart of the problem, the root of the problem is mental health. And we need to put some money behind that, too, and help these people.
Tomorrow marks four years since the massacre at the Tree of Life building. I’m sure you’re aware that antisemitism is rising all over the country. What if anything should Congress do to curb the rise of antisemitism?
Listen, this is a both-party issue, and I will fight Democrats and Republicans if they make antisemitic comments. Obviously, there’s no place in civilized society, let alone our government, for antisemitic comments. I support the Jewish community. I will be at the ceremony [commemorating the shooting at the Tree of Life building] tomorrow. That was just a tragic, tragic day. The person that committed those crimes at the Tree of Life obviously was not a well individual. I don’t have the answer right now, how we can do that, but we need to sit down to have these discussions and figure out ways to so this doesn’t happen again.
So you’re saying that you would condemn antisemitic actions and comments coming from both the left and the right?
Do you want to weigh in on Doug Mastriano’s recent association, and then disassociation, with Gab?
I’d rather just talk about my race. Sen. Mastriano, I’ve never met the man. You know, he’s running his race, and I’ll run mine.
Let’s talk a little bit about Israel. Do you support unconditional U.S. aid to Israel for defense?
They’re a democracy, and they’re our biggest ally in that region. And they are the linchpin to democracy in that region. We’re shoulder-to-shoulder with Israel as far as I’m concerned.
Should the U.S. be doing more to work out the conflicts between the Palestinians and the Israelis?
Yes, I believe anything the U.S. can do to help in that region, they should be doing. Israel’s interests are American interests.
Do you have a position on the Iran nuclear deal?
I think that Iran getting nuclear weapons is a disaster. And we should do everything we can — sanctions, whatever we have to do — to strangle that. That would be detrimental to the region, and the world for that matter.
So would re-entering the Iran nuclear deal help curb nuclear weapon development in Iran, or should we not reenter the deal?
I’m not that well versed on it, quite frankly. I do know that Iran getting nukes is a terrible thing. So anything that we can do to with other allies in the region to squash that sanction-wise, we should be doing.
Anything else you want to tell our Jewish community before the election?
Well, I’m looking forward to seeing everyone tomorrow. I look forward to standing and praying with you, in memory of the people that died in that terrible act. And once I get elected to this position, I would love to partner with the Jewish community. You will have a friend in me and I look forward to learning the issues and working with you side-by-side. PJC
Toby Tabachnick can be reached at email@example.com.