Eugene DePasquale has dedicated his public service to tirelessly fighting for working people, our senior citizens, and our most vulnerable.
Eugene grew-up in a typical working-class family. When he wasn’t in school, Eugene waited tables or washed dishes at the family’s neighborhood restaurant. What little time was left he spent on the courts and fields playing basketball, football and baseball.
At home, Eugene was the oldest of three siblings. His dad, a Vietnam veteran, was shot during the war and at times struggled with addiction to pain killers prescribed by the VA hospital to help cope with his injuries. Mom worked at the restaurant to provide for the family and Eugene pitched-in at home to help his brothers.
Things grew more challenging in high school for Eugene and his family. His youngest brother, Anthony, was diagnosed with Muscular Dystrophy, an affliction that slowly eats away muscle strength. Health insurance companies declared it a pre-existing condition and denied coverage. Medical bills piled-up. Anthony grew weaker and was forced into a wheelchair. More care was required and a van with a wheelchair lift needed to be purchased. Eugene’s family was struggling.
Even Eugene’s college years were punctured by challenges. His father made the poor choice to illegally sell drugs and was sent to prison. Things couldn’t get much darker for his family when complications from Muscular Dystrophy caused Eugene’s brother to collapse while attending a college basketball game. Paramedics at the game valiantly tried to save him but Anthony passed away several hours later at the hospital.
Eugene’s father attended Anthony’s funeral in hand-cuffs and shackles. The family faced more medical bills and funeral costs, totaling tens of thousands of dollars.
“We had to take out loans to pay for the medical bills, at least some of them. People donated money to us and our extended family chipped-in. It took many, many years for our family to pay off those loans.”
Despite the adversity, Eugene worked his way through and excelled in college, graduating with a Bachelor of Arts from College of Wooster, a Masters of Public Administration from the University of Pittsburgh, and a Juris Doctorate from Widener School of Law.
After nearly nine years, Eugene’s father was released from prison early, clean and sober, and works today fixing-up homes and reselling them.
“Prison likely saved my father’s life because he entered a drug treatment program while he was in. The over-prescription of pain killer drugs has created a national health emergency. I have seen the crisis first-hand before it became a crisis. I understand how this epidemic is devastating families and how urgently we need more treatment programs.”
Eugene’s upbringing and the people he grew-up around, in school, and at the family’s neighborhood restaurant shaped his life and provided him direction after college and law school. He worked at a non-profit that helped young people with mental and physical disabilities and then embarked on a public service career.
“I think a lot about the waiters, janitors, seniors on fixed incomes, the garbage collectors, carpenters, teachers, college students, and our most vulnerable, who have too often been victims because the scales are tilted against them. They have families like mine. They have struggles like we did. They deserve a level-playing field.”
“I ran for public office because I could see they weren’t being treated fairly. Rich people, political insiders and huge corporations were getting handouts and favors behind closed doors while honest people were getting screwed. The system needed to be reformed and government needed to be more accountable and transparent. I wanted to do my part.”
Eugene immediately challenged Harrisburg’s status quo and set an example as a reformer. He demanded more government accountability and transparency – and became Pennsylvania’s first public official to publicly post all of his expenses on-line. He returned unused office expenses to taxpayers and called on Harrisburg leaders to do the same.
He earned the trust of people he represented because he didn’t let them down and proved he could be counted on to help them – and they re-elected him by wide margins.
As Auditor General, Eugene has taken on entrenched bureaucrats, special interests, and fraudsters.
He helped protect children from abuse, demanded thousands of untested rape kits be processed, exposed abuse in nursing homes, and saved Pennsylvania taxpayers millions by shining a light on government waste, fraud and abuse. Arguably, Eugene has proven to be Pennsylvania’s hardest-working and most effective auditor general.
“The political insiders and special interests fought me every day. It never bothered me for a minute. I have always had the support and encouragement of the people who matter most, the folks living on a fixed-income, pushing a mop, or getting their kids off to school each day.”
Now Eugene wants to take the fight to Congress. He’s dedicated to reforming Washington and focusing on the issues that are most important to people in Pennsylvania’s 10th Congressional District.