Democratic candidate Ron DiNicola officially kicked off his run for Congress, opening his campaign headquarters in downtown Erie. A crowd of about 100 supporters turned out to support him.  The headquarters is at 1301 State Street.  It is the same space used by Joe Schember in his successful bid for Erie Mayor last fall.

DiNicola is running in the democratic primary to represent the new 16th Congressional District, created after the Pennsylvania Supreme Court ruled the old district boundary lines as unconstitutional, and gerrymandered.

The attorney and former Marine has been active in civic life and an advocate for working people, and for education--spearheading the study that made the case for developing a community college in Erie County. He led the campaign to expand Pre-K educational opportunities for three and four-year-olds and a bipartisan coalition focusing on workforce empowerment. Recently, he led the effort to re-launch the Erie Police Athletic League that partners police officers and sheriff deputies in activities with inner-city kids to build bonds of trust.

In private practice as an attorney, DiNicola represented more than 1,000 laid-off GE workers in successfully reversing a ruling by the U.S. Department of Labor that had denied Trade Adjustment Assistance benefits.  The decision made millions of dollars available for local families.

The candidate told those gathered he understands they are tired of a "do-nothing Congress" and said he is calling for change, with a goal of winning the primary and taking on incumbent republican Congressman Mike Kelly.  

DiNicola told supporters, that Kelly is stuck in an ideological ditch, and doesn't understand the problems of the district. "He's not the person who understands what we need to do with our economy, how we need to provide a living wage, how we have to protect the rights of women in the workplace, how to maintain and protect medicare, medicaid, and social security, how to build an education system that is going to benefit our kids, he just doesn't understand it and he doesn't know where the fight is," DiNicola said.

DiNicola said his priorities are protecting medicare, medicaid and social security, making health care more affordable, lowering prescription drug prices, creating good-paying jobs, and improving educational affordability and access. 

Robert Multari, a physician from Farrell, Pennsylvania, and Chris Reiger an attorney from Butler County are also running on the democratic ballot.

DiNicola lives in Erie with his wife, Monica, and their three daughters.