LEWISTOWN - Republican Tom Smith's campaign for the U.S. Senate brought him to Lewistown on Monday as part of his daily visits to towns and cities throughout the commonwealth.
Smith lives in Armstrong County, north of Pittsburgh, where he still farms the same land he grew up on.
"I'm not a politician; I'm a citizen candidate running for office," Smith said.
As a young man, Smith worked in the coal mines, before eventually starting his own mining business which employed more than 100 people and produced around 100,000 tons of coal a month.
Smith supports the coal industry, natural gas industry and alternative sources of energy, as long as the private sector leads the way in developing those alternative sources such as wind and solar power.
Smith said energy sources can be a driving force for the economy and consumers deserve to have the "lowest reasonable price for energy."
The GOP candidate said his opponent, Democratic incumbent Bob Casey, is part of a group of politicians who have declared "war on coal," which is to the detriment of the economy.
Smith said the economy is the number one issue for him and he feels Casey and President Barack Obama have a poor track record in job creation.
Furthermore, Smith contends the stimulus, Troubled Asset Relief Program and "Cash for Clunkers" didn't energize the economy.
Smith said Congress needs to produce a budget, something that has not happened in three years. The size of government should be reduced and the national debt needs to be wrangled in, the GOP challenger said.
"We are kicking the can down the road," Smith said of the continually rising debt.
In addition, repealing the Affordable Care Act, commonly called "Obamacare," would also be a high priority for Smith.
Smith suggests making small adjustments for health care and opening up the market in an effort to drive down the cost through free market competition.
Smith also said he favors taking a hard look at IRS tax structure, especially closing corporate tax loopholes.
"I am discouraged and concerned where the country is going and we need to have some adult discussions," Smith said.