Campaign Letter

Why I'm running for Congress

I am privileged and humbled to be the Republican candidate for Congress in the special election that will take place in Pennsylvania's 18th District on March 13.

I am not a career politician and I have no interest in climbing political ladders. I am running for Congress because I believe that I have something unique to offer to the 18th District and to our country in these crucial times. I am not one to sit back and just hope that someone else will fix the problem.

During my 30 years of service in the military, government, business, diplomacy and academia, I focused on intelligence, security, and international affairs. I have traveled to and worked in 75 countries. From South Korea to Iraq, being an American garnered respect and appreciation, because people recognize the United States as the protector of freedom.

Today, that role as guardian of freedom is at risk, from without and from within. We know the risks posed by rogue regimes like North Korea, Iran, and ISIS. With my knowledge of international affairs and my firsthand experience working in North Korea, I will be able to add valuable contributions in Congress to how our nation addresses these threats.

But our way of life is also threatened from within—by a bloated national debt, an increasingly intrusive federal government, and a Congress that is widely seen as dysfunctional, too often lacking integrity and transparency.

I first ran for office in 2010. I had nothing to gain from entering politics, as I had a stable university teaching job at the time. But I felt that our state government was not serving its bosses—Pennsylvania's taxpayers—as it should. And my own district was represented by a 26-year incumbent who had consistently supported higher taxes and more government intrusion into our lives.

Even though many others had tried to unseat the incumbent and failed, I decided to try. I didn't have an excess of personal funds to finance the campaign, but I had a work ethic honed through two decades of military service. My wife, Yong, and I knocked on over 18,000 doors in the district.

We won that election. And in 2012, when the former incumbent tried to win his seat back, we beat him again.

I am now in my fourth term in the State House. We've had a number of significant successes, although I've also come to appreciate that “draining the swamp” doesn't come easily, in Harrisburg or in Washington.

With the 2016 election, I realized that America was entering a new phase on the world stage, with new threats, new allies, and new critics. I also saw an opportunity for the federal government to move beyond gridlock and effect meaningful changes that would strengthen our economy, protect our borders, and improve our quality of life.

When the 18th District seat was unexpectedly vacated, I felt duty-bound to respond to this immediate void by the overwhelming encouragement of the citizens around the district. Having already represented Allegheny and Washington Counties and having worked for many years in Westmoreland County, I knew the Congressional district very well. This opportunity was ideally suited to allow me to apply my unique skillset to the issues our national government legislates.

On November 11, 2017, I had the honor of being selected as the Republican nominee in the 18th District. I believe that my broad knowledge of international affairs and intelligence issues will not only make me an immediately effective member of Congress, but will also benefit the 18th District. That's because a congressman can advocate for his district's concerns much more effectually when his ideas and assistance are valued by fellow members. When I speak, whether it's on North Korea or the economic needs of Greene, Washington, Westmoreland or Allegheny County, it will come from real life experiences and knowledge, and that matters.

My firm, unshakable commitment is to serving and improving the lives of my neighbors, and to making our government serve our people again, the way it was designed. That's why I started down this path and why I decided to pursue this new opportunity. I hope to see you on the campaign trail and I ask for your support. If you have questions about my campaign that this website doesn't answer, please e-mail me at

God bless America!

Rick Saccone

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