Amanda Waldman is fed up with partisan talking points.
She hates hearing that people like her, a single mother who lives in rural Lycoming County, could do better if they just worked a little harder.
“I’m so sick and tired of people telling me what it is like to live my life, telling me where my failures are or telling me why I’m not more successful,” she said. “I’ve worked multiple jobs since I was in high school just so I could buy my own clothes, to pay for the gas in my car, to put myself through college. I’ve worked my butt off my whole life.”
And Waldman said it’s not just herself she’s thinking about when she hears those criticisms. She thinks about her hardworking neighbors, friends and family members who are constantly told they need to do more in order to get ahead.
“We’ve earned everything that we have,” she said. “And to have someone tell us that we are not working hard enough or that they know better than us what policies are going to help our communities is just wrong. Many of these lawmakers in Washington are wealthy and have no idea what it’s really like to be a regular working person.”
That’s why Waldman launched a campaign to represent the 9th Congressional District, which includes parts or all of 12 counties stretching from northern Berks County to the New York state line. She is running unopposed for the Democratic nomination in the May 17 primary and will face Republican incumbent Dan Meuser in the general election.
Waldman, who works as a financial representative for a Medicare provider in Pennsylvania, said she wants to be a voice for those who have had to make a choice between putting food on the table and paying the electric bill.
“It doesn’t matter if you’re a Democrat or a Republican when you have to make this choice,” she said.
Waldman said she believes lawmakers forget about this fact when they get to Washington. She thinks many of them are more concerned about staying in the good graces of party leadership rather than supporting policies that can help their constituents back home.
The final party-line vote count on the American Rescue Plan is proof of that, she said.
“To have GOP representatives who are supposed to be backing the best interests of all constituents in their districts to just vote the party line for the sake of being able to say they always vote with Republicans was unacceptable,” she said. “And Democrats do the same thing.”
Waldman promised she would do things differently. She said that if a proposal would benefit her constituents, she would lend her support to the effort. And if a proposal would fail to meet that standard, she would clearly explain her opposition.
As for the issues she would champion if elected, Waldman said there are a handful that are close to her heart. Those priorities include providing small farms with the ability to compete in the global market, advocating for affordable child care for working families, supporting affordable pathways to higher education and vocational programs, lowering prescription drug prices and increasing equitable access to health care.
U.S. representatives serve a two-year term and receive an annual salary of $174,000.
Meet the candidate
Candidate: Amanda Waldman, 46, Lycoming County.
Position sought: U.S. representative for the 9th District, which stretches from Lebanon County and Berks County north to the New York state line. It includes Berks, Lebanon, Schuylkill, Carbon, Northumberland, Montour, Columbia, Luzerne, Lycoming, Sullivan, Wyoming, Susquehanna and Bradford counties.
Current salary for position: $174,000.
Background: Waldman is a financial representative for a Medicare provider in Pennsylvania. She also is a board member for Roads to Freedom Center for Independent Living, an AmeriCorps alumnus and a community volunteer. She holds an English degree from Bloomsburg University.
Source: Berkshire mont