POLS ON THE STREET: 2 Italian Stallions In 1st Senatorial Dist.

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They are both lawyers, with basically the same platforms, education, safety, and crime awareness. But what makes them interestingly competitive is the fact both are of Italian extraction and vying for a district where Italian American voters still bear some clout.

ALFONSO GAMBONE ... education is key.

Incumbent State Sen. Larry Farnese (D-S. Phila.) is the favorite based on his two terms in office, his strong constituency service, and the Democrat-dominated registration in his 1st Dist. Alfonso Gambone, also a South Philadelphia-bred attorney, has been laying the groundwork for a Republican challenge to Farnese which hasn’t been seen for a generation.

The 34-year-old challenger already has all the pieces of a professional campaign in place – staff, volunteer recruitment, fundraisers, social media, bumper stickers, the works. Not a week goes by that Gambone isn’t active. “By November, people will know my name,” Gambone says confidently. But will they push his button? is the big question.

A marketing major at Villanova, Gambone has worked as a marketing analyst and has brought a marketer’s methodical approach to politics. He has an equally analytical eye for public issues and brings passion to policy-making. “We have to look at Pennsylvania’s educational system in a different way,” urges Gambone. “Education and the economy are linked. As a criminal defense attorney and former prosecutor, I saw the link between education and crime. If we provide the opportunities, that’ll reduce the crime. Most anti-crime legislation is reactive; I want to be proactive, by pushing high-school graduation and job training for offenders and for dropouts at greatest risk.”

Gambone is a proponent of Earned Income Tax Credits to support low-cost independent schooling, but not for a blanket school-voucher program. “We do need to invest in public education,” he insists, “but when a school is failing a child, we need to provide that child with options.”

With roots deep in city schools – his father taught history and economics at Hallahan for 40 years – Gambone went from St. Monica’s School to St. Joseph’s Prep.

Incumbent and challenger differ on many subjects. Gambone is an ardent advocate of Marcellus Shale gas development, which he says will boost Philadelphia’s economy. He would press for a legal environment that would foster entrepreneurs. He likes Gov. Tom Corbett’s plan to privatize the Liquor Control Board; auctioning off its outlets could net up to $1.4 billion, which Gambone says can rebuild infrastructure and restore programs cut in the state budget.

As a Democrat in the Senate, odds are you will find Farnese on the other side from Gambone on most causes.

After graduating from Temple Law School, the young attorney served in JAG 2004-2007. He was stationed with the 10th Mountain Division in upstate New York as operational law advisor for 5,000 soldiers, spending a year in Baghdad. The candidate is calling for mandatory set-asides for veterans’ small businesses. He also proposes tuition at state universities for any vet at the in-state rate, regardless of their current state of residence. “These are talented people I want to draw to Pennsylvania,” says Gambone enthusiastically.

His wife Dr. Rita Carabello is an Einstein family physician in Mayfair. He has a six-month-old son, Alfonso Antonino. Can Gambone catch up with incumbent Farnese? The challenger says diligent outreach can do it.

ANNUAL Pinochle Tournament Champions Curtis King and Purnell Ham receive trophies from State Rep. Ronald Waters at Waters' Senior Health Fair & Luncheon at Kipp School on Baltimore Avenue in Cobbs Creek.. Photo by Martin Regusters, Leaping Lion Photography

NATIONAL YOUNG DEMS TO CONVENE HERE

Philadelphia will host the Summer National Meeting of the Young Democrats of America here Jun. 29-Jul. 1. It’s part of the push to keep the Commonwealth in the Obama column, since Philly voter turnout is key.

The program will include a number of guest speakers, political trainings, business meetings and a special new-member orientation. The Radisson Plaza-Warwick Hotel Philadelphia at 220 S. 17th Street is the host venue. YDA has secured a group rate of $137/night plus tax. To reserve a room, please contact the hotel directly at (215) 735-6000 and mention you are with Young Democrats of America to ensure you are given the proper group rate.

DUNBAR FEELS UP TO TAYLOR CHALLENGE

William Dunbar launched his general election campaign for State Representative in the 177th Dist. at a press conference this week, attended by State Sen. Mike Stack (D-Northeast) and Pastor Kevin Johnson at a small business in the heart of the district.

“The people of this district, along with all Philadelphians, have suffered two years of being ignored and persecuted by Republicans in Harrisburg,” Dunbar said. “We have suffered attacks on schools, attacks on reproductive rights, even attacks on our right to vote. These are issues where there is a clear difference between what is right and wrong, and it is unconscionable that any Representative from Philadelphia would vote for what is so blatantly wrong.”

Stack called Dunbar “a tireless worker with a record of devoting himself to his community.” Dunbar is among the candidates spawned by Congressman Chaka Fattah, for whom he worked as a special assistant. While working with the  Congressman, he took a leadership role in the COREPhilly Scholarship Program, which helped over 14,500 high-school students to go to college. Dunbar left to expand his commitment to education as the director of children and youth programs at United Communities Southeastern Philadelphia, providing adequate after-school programming and care throughout the city of Philadelphia.

The District, which includes Port Richmond, Bridesburg and Fishtown, and parts of Juniata and Wissinoming, has a heavy Democrat registration which does not seem to pose a problem for long-time incumbent State Rep. John Taylor (R-Kensington).

PAT MURPHY ENDORSES KATHLEEN KANE

Iraq War veteran and former prosecutor Patrick Murphy this week endorsed his Democratic primary opponent, Kathleen Kane, for Pennsylvania Attorney General.

“Primaries are never easy. But it’s important to remember that this was a family fight. Now that it’s over, we must come together and rally behind our nominee. That’s why I am endorsing Kathleen Kane for Attorney General. Because in the end, Kathleen is Pennsylvania’s best choice for Attorney General,” Murphy said.

“Kathleen is a fierce competitor. But she also has a vision for this office. We agree consumer protection must be the cornerstone of this office and that we must do more to protect children from sexual abuse. So now, we Democrats must come together, beat David Freed, and deny Gov. Corbett the Attorney General he hand-picked to protect his radical agenda,” Murphy added.

MOST-PROMINENT graduate of University of Penna.’s Fels Institute of Government, Congressman Chaka Fattah, returned to speak at its commencement ceremony on Sunday. Fels alumni receive Master’s of Government Administration.

BOYLES HOST WILLIAMS FOR HOLOCAUST EVENT

Last week State Rep. Brendan Boyle (D-Northeast) held a news conference on the Holocaust Museum at Klein JCC, located at 10100 Jamison Avenue. In addition to his brother, what interested us most was seeing State Sen. Anthony Williams (D-W. Phila.) in the same picture with representatives from the Holocaust Awareness Museum and Education Center.

That follows his appearance earlier at a victory party staged for three State Rep candidates State Sen. Shirley Kitchen had supported. Williams’ supporters have indicated their loss would not have lost him any sleep. Is it the call to become Mayor that has him mending fences?

JUDGE DELAYS ORIE’S SENTENCING

An  Allegheny Co. judge has delayed the sentencing date for State Sen. Jane Orie (R-Allegheny) for two weeks to give both sides additional time to prepare to address a motion by the prosecution for her to repay nearly $1.3 million that was paid by the Senate for her defense.

Judge Jeffrey A. Manning issued the decision after previously denying a request by Orie’s attorney asking for a postponement from the original May 21 date to better prepare for the senator’s sentencing hearing.

LOCAL REPUBLICAN WOMEN GATHER

Lt. Gov. Jim Cawley, these days more popular than the Governor, will address the City’s Republican Women’s Club Luncheon tomorrow at noon at the Vesper Club. Ticket price for the lunch is $32 and can be reserved by calling Karen Brown (267) 246-6347 or karenbrownmayor@yahoo.com. Checks are to be made payable to “Friends United For Change”.

TEA PARTY UNITES BEHIND SMITH

Tom Smith won a heavily contested Republican primary by seizing the Tea Party vote. How “Tea Party” is Tom Smith?

Prior to entering the Senate race, he founded his own very large Tea Party that covers two counties and consists of nearly 600 Tea Partiers. During the race he proudly called himself a “Tea Party guy.” His first stop after the primary was a Tea Party rally. And on the campaign trail he has already espoused just about every Tea Party idea there is. Tom Smith is one of Pennsylvania’s leading Tea Partiers.

He is only the sixth Senate candidate in the country to receive the endorsement of the Tea Party Express – a major national Tea Party group.

 

DeWEESE ORDERED TO STATE PRISON

Dauphin Co. Judge Todd Hoover on Friday denied DeWeese’s request to delay the start of his 2 1/2-to-five-year prison term until Hoover decides if he can remain free on bail while appealing his conviction.

Hoover ordered the 62-year-old former Greene County lawmaker to surrender to the State Dept. of Corrections this past Monday as scheduled. DeWeese served in the House for 35 years, including a two years as speaker. He was unopposed for the Democratic nomination in his district and remains on the Nov. 6 general-election ballot. A jury convicted him of conspiracy, conflict of interest and three counts of theft for using public resources for political purposes.

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