BY JOE SHAHEELI/ State Reps. Brian Sims (D-S. Phila.), Bryan Cutler (R-Lancaster) and Pamela DeLissio (D-Northwest) are hell-bent on denying voters their right to vote for judges in the Commonwealth. They want to establish a merit-based system for naming statewide judges.
They did so with great fanfare Tuesday joined, of course, by Lynn Marks, executive director of Pennsylvanians for Modern Courts, and Susan Carty, president of the League of Women Voters.
Once again itâ€™s an effort to replace the election of judges by voters with selection by a handful of privileged committees. Such efforts have failed in the past with Pennsylvania continuing to be one of six states where voters still have a right to vote on whom they would like to see as their judges.
It is obvious a Selection Committee, appointed by whomever, would obviously be one tainted with influence, no matter what the â€œgood-governmentâ€ types preach. Looking good on the surface, selection efforts are truly a way to undermine input from voters, which is the right influence and choice.
State Sen. Daylin Leachâ€™s (D-Montgomery) campaign sent out a news release indicating Sam Malone, business manager of Iron Workers Local 405, had endorsed the Senator in his race for the 13th Congressional Dist. seat. So did State Rep. Brendan Boyle (D-Northeast).
But the difference was Brendanâ€™s had a fax of a letterhead from Local 405 and a direct quote from Sam Malone to the effect, â€œBrendan is the clear choice for us. His passion for fighting for working families in this troubling economic time makes him the best candidate. We put our full support and backing behind Brendan.â€
Local 405 is one of over 20 unions endorsing Boyle in his effort to win the 13th Dist. seat.
A call by us to Local 405 indicated Malone was committed to Brendan Boyle. So whoever was doing Leachâ€™s public relations was doing him a disservice.
Boyle has released a biographical web video. The two-minute ad emphasizes his Philadelphia roots, beginning at a SEPTA station where his father continues to work as a janitor. The State Rep describes his early life as a classic tale of a son of an immigrant who hopes to improve his hometown community.
He also mentions he has been endorsed by over 20 local labor unions, likely due to help from Congressman Bob Brady (D-Phila.), Â and notable ally of labor. Additionally, his campaign premiered an .
In other news from the â€œFighting 13thâ€, Valerie Arkooshâ€™s campaign for the Democratic nomination announced its hiring of Bryan Lesswing as her communications director. Bryan has been working in progressive politics for the last several years.
The last fundraising quarter was strong for Arkoosh; she brought in $228k this quarter and leads the field with $588k on hand â€“ more than $210k more than her nearest competitor. Arkoosh is a physician and health-care reform activist
Democratic gubernatorial hopefuls Rob McCord and Tom Wolf each picked up the backing of a labor union this past week. McCordâ€™s campaign announced both the national and statewide chapter of the Utility Workers Union of America will back him in the Democratic primary.
â€œUtility Workers in Pennsylvania have never faced a more challenging time,â€ said Robert T. Wahlen, president of System Local 102 of the UWUA. The Pennsylvania chapter includes approximately 5,000 active and retired members.
It is McCordâ€™s eighth union endorsement of the campaign.
The International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 229 announced its endorsement of Tom Wolf. Despite IBEW Local 229â€™s proximity to Wolfâ€™s company, there is no previous affiliation between the two groups.
The Pittsburgh chapter of the IBEW is backing Rob McCord.
Congressman and Party Chairman Bob Brady was invited to meet with the Northeast Ward Leaders by Northeast Chairman Mike McAleer.
On the agenda, unbeknownst to Brady, was a motion by McAleer to endorse Congressman Brady to his reelection for another four year term as Party Chair. The vote was a unanimous 19-0 for Brady to keep the chairmanship.
That surprised Brady but he accepted, giving all an indication he would seek and accept the party chairmanship for another four years.
In turn, Brady told each ward leader he would support their own leadership campaigns since they too would be campaigning for reelection.
Also on the agenda was announcement the Northeast Ward Leaders would be holding a Christmas gala at the FOP Hall on Dec. 19 from 7 to 9 p.m. Tickets are $30 and each ward leader was handed an envelope full of tickets to sell by McAleer.
State Sen. Anthony Hardy Williams (D-W. Phila.) hasnâ€™t announced his kickoff for his campaign to win the Democratic nomination for Mayor, but last night had all the appearances of such an effort as Williams hosted an After Work Reception at the Radisson Warwickâ€™s Grand Ballroom.
Attendees listened as Williams gave them an update on his activities throughout the city.
To his advantage, he can announce anytime without having to resign his Senate seat.