Tom Houghton, a former state representative and township supervisor from London Grove Township, officially announced that he is seeking to represent the 16th Congressional District in the U.S. House of Representatives.  Houghton made the announcement in front of a crowd of supporters at a small farm outside of Columbia in western Lancaster County on Monday.  He was joined by his wife, Danelle, and their two children, Ben, 10, and Marley, 14.

If Houghton wins the Democratic nomination in the Primary Election in May, he will challenge nine-term Republican incumbent Joseph Pitts in the November election.

Houghton began his remarks by explaining why it was important to him that he announce his candidacy in an agricultural setting.

“We are here because family farms are emblematic of the economic heritage, and the economic future of the 16th Congressional District.  Farmers lead the way not just on producing high-quality, nutritious local foods, but also on conservation, green energy production and the growth and job creation that comes with these important innovations. Farming also highlights the ways that government can work with businesses to be a partner in creating greater opportunities for American families. Agriculture is the number one industry in the Commonwealth,” said Houghton.

He went on to highlight his own record on agricultural issues.

“In 2001, I  ran for township supervisor in London Grove Township to save London Grove’s agricultural zone from over-development and sprawl.  It wasn’t easy, but after several years of hard work, I am proud to say that we were successful in saving our agricultural zone.”

After winning re-election for a second term as a supervisor, most of that time spent as the chairman of the board, Houghton went on to run for State Representative. He was elected to the Pennsylvania State House in 2008.

“As a State Representative, I proudly served on the House Agricultural & Rural Affairs Committee, where I was a champion for the Pennsylvania Farm Bureau and its legislative priorities. I was the prime sponsor of the bill that eventually made the “Pennsylvania Preferred” program permanent.  This program gives Pennsylvania farmers a marketing edge and creates greater opportunities for them to connect to wholesalers, retailers and consumers. I also sponsored a bill that kept property taxes on farmers low, while allowing them to increase their bottom line.  The bill preserved the ability of PA farmers to realize lower property taxes under the “Clean and Green” program, while contracting to use portions of their land for the production of clean, renewable energy like wind and solar.  This was a win for farmers, taxpayers, the economy and the environment. I was proud to get this bill signed into law.”

Houghton pledged to continue to work in a bi-partisan way to represent the needs of his constituents and dismissed legislating on the basis of ideology.

“It is possible to get things done as a legislator,” he said. “I know, because I’ve done it.  It’s sad that this Congress has been labeled the 'Do nothing Congress.'  We elect members of Congress to work for us, and we have a right to expect results.”

After highlighting his record on agricultural issues, Houghton went on to talk about his own background, and his reasons for returning to politics.  

“I am running for Congress because I want to fight for all of our families. I want to go to bed every night knowing that I did all I could to make your lives better, knowing that I created more opportunities for the people of the 16th District. Partisan bickering and extremism won't get that done, especially when they lead to gridlock, shutdown and the threat of economic collapse. Those are not the results you want, and that is not the representation you deserve.”