As someone who defines himself as a bipartisan, work-across-the-aisle independent thinker, Brian Fitzpatrick’s December vote against the impeachment of Donald Trump was a disappointment. However, Fitzpatrick’s vote must be weighed against his performance in other areas over the past two fraught and divisive years. On those points, the picture has many more dimensions. He is a rare Republican, for example, who easily talks about increasing access to voting, the threat of climate change, the need for gun control, fixing the problems in law enforcement to focus on more community policing, and the tone and demeanor in Washington.

Fitzpatrick is a member of the Problem Solvers Caucus, a bloc of House representatives drawn equally from both parties to find common ground. Georgetown University’s Lugar Center Bipartisanship Index ranks him No. 1 among House members. The conservative Heritage Foundation gives Fitzpatrick low marks for voting to enhance patient protection and affordable care, establish price controls for prescription drugs, supporting the Dream Act, and voting against banning transgender people from the military. We give him high marks for that record and endorse another term for Fitzpatrick.

» READ MORE: The case for Fitzpatrick's second term

His Democratic opponent in Pennsylvania’s 1st Congressional District, Christine Finello, has a background in housing and human services that would bring an important dimension to Congress. But she has focused her campaign solely on accusing Fitzpatrick of alignment with Trump rather than on arguing why she would be an effective representative.

Fitzpatrick earns our endorsement because he seems genuinely interested in maintaining a separation from more rabid party-line Republicans, and appears driven by his principles first, not party. Two years ago, when we endorsed Brian Fitzpatrick, this board said, “We don’t agree with him on everything, but his brand of politics should be rewarded.” That still holds.

About Inquirer Endorsements
Prior to each election, the Inquirer’s Editorial Board, which operates independently from the newsroom, identifies the races where an endorsement can help readers understand where candidates stand on issues and why we think voters should support (or not support) a particular candidate.
We think all elections are important and try to cover as many as we can. We research the candidates' backgrounds through the work of our newsroom colleagues, as well as through our own reporting. The Board also hosts meetings with candidates running in contended races, where we ask them about their stance on the issues we think are most important to their constituents. This year, we held virtual meetings with them on Zoom. The meetings are on the record.
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