Clopper takes on Shuster for Congress

PAT FRIDGEN
CHAD CLOPPER

A Greencastle-Antrim High School graduate is running for Congress in the Ninth District. Chad Clopper, 25, Class of 2003, is the minimum age allowed by law to run for the House of Representatives. His opponent is none other than incumbent Bill Shuster, Republican from Hollidaysburg serving his fifth term.

Clopper, living in Waynesboro, hopes voters will become aware that he is a write-in candidate.

"People deserve a choice," he said.

Running as an independent, he not only wants residents to have a choice, but to be able to elect someone who is not a Republican or Democrat.

"I'm not a fan of the two-party system," he continued. "It has to start somewhere. (A third candidate) gets people thinking. It can provide another layer of accountability for the two parties."

He has a website, clopperforcongress.com, set up by his mother, Cathy Bard of McConnellsburg. He has a Facebook page and just made a video for YouTube. He has four friends who support his goal and will help him put signs up at as many polling places as possible for election day, Nov. 2. He doubts he can get to all 300, but if his friends get more friends involved, they could stop at at least 100. Anyone interested in joining his team may contact him at 977-0051 or at cdclopper@gmail.com.

It's an uphill battle, Clopper admitted. "I have my work cut out for me. I'm not putting any pressure on myself. I enjoy politics. I'll have fun with it and see what happens from here."

He drew up his platform last November, and started the formal process to become a candidate. Because he filed with the Federal Election Commission, the newspaper USA Today listed him as a candidate in a recent issue. Clopper began the petition requirement, needing 3,500 signatures to get on the ballot, but was waylaid because of personal matters. His wife, Brooke (Miller) Clopper gave birth to their second son, Jude Robert, on May 31. They are also the parents of Bradley Thomas, 3.

Clopper wrestled in high school and graduated from Penn State in 2008 with a degree in Civil Engineering. He is employed at CitiBank.

Intrigued by politics since college days, he set a goal to run for Congress, and is doing it sooner rather than later. He didn't have any arguments targeted for Shuster.

"I don't know what he stands for specifically. He can stand on his own record," Clopper said. "But he supported the Patriot Act and I don't."

One of Clopper's main topics is Social Security, which is in its 75th year. People are living longer and also having fewer children, so the system can't sustain itself, he said. "We pretend there's this fund for each individual, but it's a pool. They should have an opt-out for young people so we don't get in the position older people are in now."

Comparing himself a little bit to Barry Goldwater, who was successful in politics, he said he had the same mindset as far as speaking. "I'm not good at sugarcoating what I say," Clopper commented. "I wear my heart on my sleeve."

And because Congress as a whole has only a 20 percent approval rating, he hopes the public will consider a newcomer to the scene in November.