Portraits of Pennsylvania 1st Congressional District Democratic candidate Christina Finello (left) and Republican US Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick (right). (Photos courtesy of the candidates' campaigns.) Christina Finello and Brian Fitzpatrick
Portraits of Pennsylvania 1st Congressional District Democratic candidate Christina Finello (left) and Republican US Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick (right). (Photos courtesy of the candidates' campaigns.)

Christina Finello said President Donald Trump is trying to take away health care “in the middle of the worst health care crisis in a century… He’s able to do that because of a law my opponent supported.”

Christina Finello is proud of her deep Pennsylvania roots, which stretch back five generations. Born in Bristol, raised in Warminster and now living in Ivyland, the attorney, who also holds a PhD in clinical psychology from Villanova, is running for Congress.

Finello, 44, a Democrat, hopes to unseat US Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick, a Republican who has represented the state’s newly drawn 1st Congressional District since 2017.

“I’ve learned that I have a knack for fixing what’s broken. I’m running for Congress because Washington is broken, and we can’t change our policies until we change the people we send there,” Finello said. “I’m determined to go to Washington to find real solutions for our problems and to fight for our district’s families every day.”

She has worked with the Philadelphia Veterans Court, connecting the region’s veterans with high-quality services, she said. Additionally, Finello took an extended internship at a federal correctional facility in Missouri, interviewing and performing psychological evaluations on some of the facility’s most hardened and violent prisoners.

“Instead of pursuing a career at a big corporate law firm or health care company after graduate school, I returned home to Pennsylvania because I wanted to help the community I loved,” said Finello, who serves as the sole Democrat on the Ivyland Borough Council.

Fitzpatrick, 46, is also a Bucks County native. He grew up in Levittown, and attended Penn State University and Dickinson Law School. He is an attorney and certified public accountant.

Fitzpatrick served in the FBI as a supervisory special agent. While with the FBI, Fitzpatrick served in Operation Iraqi Freedom, and was the national director for the agency’s Campaign Finance and Election Crimes Enforcement Program and national supervisor for its political corruption unit.

Fitzpatrick lived in California for several years before  returning to Pennsylvania to run for the seat his brother, Mike Fitzpatrick, previously held.

The congressman and the GOP have leaned heavily on Fitzpatrick’s background in campaign ads, and attacked Finello on points of law and policy.

RELATED: Finello Goes After Fitzpatrick’s Healthcare Record in Debate

“We must both protect citizens’ constitutional and civil rights, and preserve the noble profession of law enforcement, the profession that I have dedicated the majority of my adult life to,” Fitzpatrick said, adding that he believes steps must be taken to “ensure that state and local governments do not legitimize or bow to the will of the dangerously misguided ‘Defund the Police’ movement.”

Finello said she believes that, as someone who has worked in mental health and held de-escalation training, she brings a “unique perspective” to policing reform.

“I oppose defunding the police and I know we need additional resources for officer training and community-based policing,” Finello said. “I stand with the Black Lives Matter movement and I am committed to confronting issues of racial justice head-on to develop constructive solutions for a more equitable America.”

Finello also said she thinks Congress needs to strengthen the Affordable Care Act.

“I support expanding the ACA to include a public health option, in order to bring down the costs for everyone, while still allowing those who like their health care to keep it if they choose,” she said.

Finello, who serves as Deputy Director of the Bucks County Division of Housing and Human Services, said she will protect the ACA “from Republicans who are intent on gutting protections for people with pre-existing conditions, my daughter, and 300,000 others in our district.”

She criticized President Donald Trump, saying he’s attempting to take away health care “in the middle of the worst health care crisis in a century… He’s able to do that because of a law my opponent supported.”

Fitzpatrick said he sees the ACA as a failure.

“The Affordable Care Act has failed to live up to its promises and too many are left with skyrocketing premiums, limited access to their doctors and insurers pulling out of the system entirely,” he said.

Fitzpatrick stressed the need to fix the nation’s healthcare system “in a responsible, deliberate manner… keep what works and come together to fix what is broken.”

The high cost of prescription drugs also concerns Finello, who said officials need to implement policies to bring prices down.

“We need to change the law to allow Medicare to negotiate for lower prescription drug prices, while also allowing the safe re-importation of prescription drugs from Canada,” she said.

When it comes to the COVID-19 pandemic that has killed more than 200,000 Americans in a matter of months and sickened Trump, Finello said, the virus “has ravaged our communities.”

Trump’s administration has “mishandled the pandemic and failed to contain the virus,” Finello said. She supports extending relief for families and small businesses, including continuing unemployment benefits and providing food and housing assistance for those in need. Support to help local and state governments is also appropriate, she added.

Fitzpatrick said the novel coronavirus pandemic “has shown us that we must do more, as a government and with private industry to prepare for the next national emergency.”

He has sponsored a bi-partisan plan in response to pandemic, he said. The three-part plan focuses on “making sure we are never dependent on another foreign nation for our national readiness, and holding China accountable for their actions and all economic losses suffered by Americans.”