November 03, 2020
On the eve of the election, Congressman Mike Doyle joins IPS for a virtual event
By Bill Brink
Mike Doyle is busy these days. On Monday night, the Democratic Congressman who represents Pennsylvania’s 18th district was scheduled to attend a drive-in rally at Heinz Field with Joe Biden and Lady Gaga. Today, he faces re-election. But Monday afternoon, he held a virtual election town hall with Carnegie Mellon University students, an Institute for Politics and Strategy event.
Doyle discussed his work with autism research, healthcare, climate change, and on the House Energy and Commerce Committee. But he also touched on today’s election, Pennsylvania’s role in it, and the effort to ensure all votes are counted.
“That [Biden is] ending his campaign here in Pennsylvania speaks to how important Pennsylvania is going to be in deciding who the next president is,” Doyle said.
Doyle is in his thirteenth term in Congress, representing the city of Pittsburgh and Allegheny County. The talk spanned his political career, from his time as a borough councilman in Swissvale, connecting with the constituents over road improvements and local police, to his efforts to ensure that the COVID-19 relief package covers those with Autism Spectrum Disorder and other developmental disabilities.
While serving as chief of staff to a state senator, a man who had an autistic son came into his office, and Doyle began to understand the lack of resources for affected families. In 2001, Doyle co-founded the Coalition for Autism Research and Education, a Congressional Membership Organization known as the Autism Caucus. The caucus initially tried to increase the funding allocated to autism research after finding that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the National Institutes of Health spent little on the issue, but soon realized it went beyond those with autism.
“What we started to understand is, it was fine to do the research, and we continue to support the research into what causes autism and look for breakthroughs,” Doyle said. “But we also discovered there were hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of families that were living this … and that they needed services. They needed help.”
Doyle also described his advocacy for net neutrality, his work on the Affordable Care Act, and the effort to create clean energy storage systems on the way to reaching net-zero carbon emissions by 2050. Before taking questions, Doyle ended his remarks by discussing his votes in favor of coronavirus relief bills and the push for a national testing and contact-tracing plan.
“Until we control the virus, we will never be able to sustainably reopen our economy,” he said. “We have to do more to help families and businesses get through this, and when we do get our economy back on track, we need to ensure it works for everyone.”
In response to a question about ensuring that every vote is counted, Doyle described the Pennsylvania Supreme Court’s ruling about ballot processing and the segregation of ballots postmarked after a certain date.
“We have attorneys too, and we have the law on our side,” he said. “I feel fairly confident that the courts are going to make a proper ruling on this.”