PENNA. SOCIETY SHOWS HOW COLLEGIALITY WORKS

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BY BONNIE SQUIRES

The US Congress should take note of the Pennsylvania Society activities each year. As we approach the fiscal cliff, it is really urgent that all sides agree to compromise. They would see that Democrats and Republicans, competing law firms, various colleges and universities fighting for the same piece of the pie – can put all their differences aside for a weekend and just agree to get along, socialize, discuss serious issues but also have a great time.

You will see several other college presidents showing up at the Penn Club breakfast each year, and the same is true for the Temple Breakfast the next day. Mayors and Senators and Congress members and state officials by the score are present at every turn.

To show that some lessons have been learned from the recent presidential election, Gov. Tom Corbett made it a point to show up early Saturday morning to do a live radio interview with the Spanish-Language station, WHAT-AM, which had set up in the Waldorf Astoria lobby. Corbett also was one of the speakers at the Forum for a Better Pennsylvania, a gathering of heavy-duty African American professionals.

After Corbett, four major Democratic officials, including State Sens. Vincent Hughes, Jay Costa, Anthony Hardy Williams, and Democratic Leader of the House Frank Dermody, spoke, answered questions, and corrected some of Gov. Corbett’s statements about the budget process.

The Genevieve Society, which promotes women candidates, also attracts a number of men to their reception each year who are elected officials or candidates. Attorney General-Elect Kathleen Kane and Congresswoman Allyson Schwartz spent time networking there. A stop at this reception is mandatory for anyone considering a run for higher office, like Governor.

It was very interesting to hear from former Gov. Dick Thornburgh and former Gov. Tom Ridge, independent of each other, how angry they are with US Sen. Pat Toomey for his vote against the UN Treaty on Disability Rights. But maybe Ridge and Thornburgh are Republicans of a glorious past, a Republican party which barely exists any more.

But the Republicans held as many fundraising receptions as the Democrats did, so maybe change is in the wind. And the Pennsylvania Society dinner with its Gold Medal award-winner is always the highlight of the weekend.

 

BONNIE SQUIRES is a regular contributor to the Philadelphia Public Record. She can reached at: (610) 649 0998

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