Pennsylvania Treasurer Rob McCordâ€™s campaign to win the Democratic nomination for Governor got a rocket boost this past week from the Laborersâ€™ District Council of the Metropolitan Area of Philadelphia & Vicinity and the Laborers International Union of North America.
Hosting the announcement was Laborers District Council Business Mgr. Ryan N. Boyer, who welcomed McCord to LDCâ€™s new headquarters at 665 N. Broad Street.
Boyer introduced Dennis L. Martire, VP and regional manager of Laborers International Union of North America, who announced, â€œWe need a champion like State Treasurer Rob McCord as Governor in Harrisburg. He understands working families and the sacrifices it takes them to make ends meet. Our union will be spending the rest of this year in the trenches working to ensure McCord is elected the next Governor of this great Commonwealth.â€
Joining Martire and Boyer in comments was Tony Seiwell, business manager of the Eastern Pennsylvania Laborersâ€™ District Council.
McCord noted the importance of LIUNAâ€™s endorsement with its 25,000 members in the Commonwealth, saying, â€œThe Laborersâ€™ endorsement is immensely important to me because this union represents so many of the hardworking women and men in Pennsylvania who have been hit the hardest by the Corbett Administration. I look forward to standing with the Laborers and fighting the Koch brothers and Gov. Corbettâ€™s efforts to destroy collective bargaining and undermine the effectiveness of Pennsylvaniaâ€™s unions.â€
This endorsement by LDC gives McCord one of the strongest get-out-the-vote organizations in the Philadelphia area. Its endorsements have been responsible for the successful elections of many office-holders in this city and in the state.
Also on hand to endorse McCord were Sam Staten, Jr., business manager of Local 332; Walt Higgins, business manager of Local 57; James Harper, Jr., business manager of Local 413; and Dan Woodall, business manager of Local 135. On hand at the endorsement were Thomas Borum, business manager of Local 1310; Nick Basa, board member of Local 158; Bob Pesotski, business manager of Local 130; James Hartman, business manager of Local 1174, Joseph Gusler, business manager of Local 1180; and Tony Seiwell, business manager of Eastern Pennsylvania LDC.
McCord has picked up five IBEW Locals to date, as well as UFSCW Local 1776 and AFSCME District 1199C. His latest fundraising efforts ending in December show he has over $6 million from his campaign funding efforts.
He ranks second behind Tom Wolf, who has already spent $1.5 million and still has $12 million in his coffers, and is ahead of Schwartz with $4.6 million unspent in her treasury and Katie McGinty, with just over $2 million. John Hanger, Joe Ellen Litz and Rev. Max Myers are far behind. Of this group, look for Litz and Myers to drop out.
LDC is an affiliate of LIUNA. Its locals have members in Philadelphia, Bucks, Chester Delaware and Montgomery Cos. It is one of the premier unions in the building trades.
State John Sabatina, Jr. (D-Northeast) has announced his campaign team, coupled with union endorsements, and over $200,000 cash on hand, is ready for any type of challenge coming his way from Rep. Ed Neilson (D-Northeast) in his battle to hang on to the 174th Legislative Dist. seat. Both State Representatives found their districts merged into the 174th by redistricting.
Though Neilson will have a heavy commitment in the way of financial and get-out-the-vote manpower from IBEW Local 98, Sabatina reports strong support from the Pennsylvania Conference of Teamsters, the Carpenters Metropolitan Regional Council of Philadelphia & Vicinity, Sheet Metal Workers Local 19, and the National Association of Letter Carriers Branch 157-Keystone.
His campaign team is headed by John J. Mulholland, Jr. He will introduce his campaign team tonight at 7718 Castor Avenue, 2nd floor, at 6 p.m.
The Stateâ€™s Republican Party officially endorsed Gov. Tom Corbett and Lt. Gov. Jim Cawley for reelection in 2014 at their annual meeting. This is the fourth time the Republican Party of Pennsylvania has endorsed Tom Corbett for statewide office, including twice for Attorney General in 2004 and 2008, and the 2010 gubernatorial race.
â€œJim and I are honored to once again have the support of the Republican Party of Pennsylvania as we seek reelection this year,â€ said the Governor.
â€œFor the last three years we have worked to turn Pennsylvania around, cutting wasteful government spending, responsibly balancing our budgets on-time and leading with a â€˜More Jobs, Less Taxesâ€™ agenda thatâ€™s keeping taxes low and putting more Pennsylvanians back to work in the private sector. With the help of a growing energy sector, Pennsylvania is once again open for business and unemployment is at a five year low. Pennsylvaniaâ€™s best days are just ahead, and with four more years, we will be able to ensure that our children and grandchildren have the bright future they deserve.â€
Lt. Gov. Cawley added, â€œThe Republican Party of Pennsylvaniaâ€™s endorsement and the work being done at the grassroots level will be critical not only in the coming weeks during the petition process, but over the next nine months as we continue to get out our message of reform and opportunity to continue making Pennsylvania a better place to live, work and raise our families.â€
Pennsylvaniaâ€™s Republican Congressional Delegation also showed their support for the Corbett-Cawley team at the Republican Party of Pennsylvaniaâ€™s annual Lincoln Day Dinner, when Congressmen G.T. Thompson (R-Centre), Charlie Dent (R-Lehigh) Â and Tom Marino (R-Lycoming) presented Corbett with a football helmet signed by all 13 Republican members.
The most-recent Franklin & Marshall poll shows Corbettâ€™s on target with his state-of-the-state message and his concentration on job creation. Its poll indicates the economy and unemployment are the most-pressing issues facing the state in the minds of voters. Thirty-one percent of those poll said these are the biggest problem, while 19% cited education as the second most-important problem.
Unemployment and economy beat out the other issues by a sizeable margin, with 31% saying those were the biggest problems. The second most-important issue was education, according to 19% of respondents.
Support for privatizing state liquor stores has taken a hit in the last year, falling from 53% support last February to 46% now. A majority, 62%, believe the state stores should stay as they are or be modernized, as opposed to just 33% who believe they should be sold to private companies.
The legalization of medical marijuana fared very well in this poll, with 81% of respondents saying that they would support such a policy.
Tom Wolf may be taking a tip from the advertisement showing Mayor Michael Nutter taking his daughter to school and her comments which actually won the Mayor a come-from-behind primary, resulting in his run of two terms.
Wolfâ€™s first television advertisement features the candidate talking about growing up in Central Pennsylvania. His wife and two daughters jump in to talk about his work in the Peace Corps, going to MIT, building his family business, working as the Stateâ€™s Revenue Secretary and how he refused a state car. It features a scene of Wolf driving down a street, waving in his old Jeep.
The Public Record will be on hand to view the proceedings this weekend in Hershey as State Democrats meet to try and come up with an endorsed gubernatorial and vice gubernatorial slate.
Â Odds of that happening are astronomical, since at least four of those in contention â€“ Rob McCord, Allyson Schwartz, Tom Wolf and Katy McGinty â€“ show no sign of relenting, with each having commitments from segments of the delegates attending.
Mayor Ed Pawlowski of Allentown dropped out of contention, endorsing McCord. Foolish to think they can win without any endorsement or money enough to wage a respectable campaign are Jo Ellen Litz and Max Myers, no matter what position they end up with on the ballot.
We donâ€™t see an endorsement for Governor, though there could be one for Lieutenant Governor with State Sen. Mike Stack (D-Northeast) and former Congressman Mark Critz in contention for that vote. Harrisburg Councilman Brad Koplinski has signed on Gov. Ed Rendellâ€™s Press Secretary Chuck Ardo as his communications director. The other Democrats running for Lieutenant Governor are Brenda Alton and Bradford Co. Commissioner Mark Smith.
One unusual obstacle facing incumbent Republican Gov. Tom Corbettâ€™s quest for reelection is a solid slate of statewide row-office Democrats arrayed against him. Attorney General Kathleen Kane has already hindered some of Corbettâ€™s key policy initiatives, such as privatizing the Lottery, and she holds the sword of a Jerry Sandusky investigation over Corbettâ€™s head in this election year. State Treasurer Rob McCord is actively campaigning to replace him.
Now comes Auditor General Gene DePasquale to savage the Governorâ€™s plan to deal with the pension-funding crisis. In a news conference orchestrated the day before the State of the State address, DePasquale acidly charged the entire pension shortfall could be accounted for by corporate tax subsidies and loopholes.
Using data gathered by Good Jobs First, a national pro-labor lobby, DePasquale charged the Stateâ€™s entire annual pension costs of $1.4 billion could be more than offset by almost $3.9 billion in tax giveaways. Corbett is strongly committed to low business taxes.
Dr. Val Arkoosh may be a first-time candidate in the Democratic primary for the 13th Congressional Dist. with no electoral experience, but she knows you need to raise money for an effective campaign.
The physician-activist has been doing that, raising $203,089 during the fourth fundraising quarter. This was a bit less than the $228K Arkoosh brought in during the previous quarter. Her campaign now has over $643,000 cash on hand.
â€œIâ€™m proud of the momentum weâ€™ve built from the ground up so far and I am motivated to continue running an assertive, grassroots-driven campaign in the next months that connects with each and every voter on the ground,â€ said Dr. Arkoosh.
The campaign raised about $935,000 in all of 2013.
â€œOver the last 25 years serving in Philadelphiaâ€™s hospitals, Iâ€™ve experienced firsthand growing economic hardships in the patients I care for â€“ families thrown into poverty because of an unexpected illness â€“ brought on by a Congress playing politics rather than solving problems,â€ said Dr. Arkoosh. â€œThatâ€™s why I chose to step up for my patients when few in Washington would to get healthcare reform passed, and itâ€™s that track record of getting things done that has people excited about my campaign.â€
Arkooshâ€™s internet ads are appearing daily on the Philadelphia Public Record website, which is now recording an official 50,000-plus hits daily.
The Progressive Change Campaign Committee, a nationwide political action committee that seeks to elect progressive candidates to Congress and push for progressive policies, has endorsed Sen. Daylin Leach.
â€œAlan Grayson and Elizabeth Warren have proven that bold progressives in Congress can change the national conversation. Daylin is one of those game changers,â€ said Adam Green, PCCC co-founder. The PCCC is also launching a fundraising drive for Leach. According to the organization they have almost a million members nationwide, including over 29,000 in Pennsylvania.
Leach has cast a wide net in fundraising, claiming to have donors from 48 states.
Leach and Boyle have been picking up endorsements from Montco officialdom.
State Sen. Christine â€œTinaâ€ Tartaglione (D-Kensington) won the unanimous consent of her Democratic ward caucus for reendorsement to another term to represent the 2nd Dist., reports Ward Leader Bill Dolbow, who chaired the caucus at its meeting in Tonyâ€™s Pizzeria on Frankford Avenue.
She arrived moments before the vote, having driven from Harrisburg to attend the caucus.
Attending the caucus were Ward Leader Dan Savage, who reportedly would challenge Sen. Tartaglione in the primary and did not vote. Also attending was TomÃ¡s SÃ¡nchez, husband of Councilwoman Maria QuiÃ±ones SÃ¡nchez, who announced his intention to challenge the Senator, but was not there to seek their endorsement.
The Senator has the support of a host of labor unions, among them the Teamsters and the FOP. Her strong push for minimum-wage hikes in the Commonwealth has been successful, as has been her crusade for the handicapped.
Whether or not State Rep. J.P. Miranda (D-N. Phila.) weathers the indictment lodged against him by the Philadelphia District Attorneyâ€™s Grand Jury, he will have to survive the challenges now facing him from former State Representative Ben Ramos, who is giving it another try, and Leslie Acosta, who won Democratic endorsement of that districtâ€™s caucus. Ramos has the support ofÂ Ward Leader Dan Savage and former Councilman Angel Ortiz.
Sean Sullivan, Esq., will challenge State Rep. Michael Oâ€™Brien (D-Kensington) in the 175th House Dist. He made that announcement last week. An attorney formerly with the law firm of Curtin & Heefner, he has served on the board of governors of the Philadelphia Bar Association, as vice-president of the Brehon Law Society, and as the board president of a small Philadelphia opera company. He earned his law degree at the University of Pittsburgh.
Sullivan, a very busy attorney, said he stepped down from his law firm â€œbecause I realize taking on an entrenched long-time incumbent requires as 24/7 dedication.â€Â
Sullivan, a resident of Queen Village, believes the districtâ€™s residents â€œdeserve active representation and leadership on a variety of issues including education, public safety, LGBT equality, and jobs.â€
Sullivan has been attorney for almost 18 years. His wife Kaede, a pediatrician, stands with him in his initial foray into public service.
He said, â€œIâ€™m enjoying knocking on doors and speaking to voters. The more I learn, the facts I hear, prove to me the district doesnâ€™t have the representation it should expect.â€
He cites the loss of Old City Civic Association, â€œcaused by the failure to pass anti-SLAPP legislation,â€ which is designed to protect nonprofit groups from frivolous law suits.
He is setting up an office in the district and will announce its opening in mid-February.
Vincent Thompson, long time publicist and a candidate for Democratic committeeman in the 2nd ward, has another career. He is now the voice you hear on radio station WURD, broadcasting over that station City Council sessions. Now 47, Thompson will be following in the footsteps of the late Mary Mason, who reported the Council proceedings for years.
We announced last week the entry into the 194th of Dan Pellicciotti with backing of 21st Ward Leader Lou Agre. Also announcing are Sean Stevens and possibly David Henderson. If they file, weâ€™ll give you a bit more about each when they reach out to us.
CEASEFIREPA BOASTS NEW WEBSITE
Shira Goodman reports the launching of a new CeaseFirePA website, easier to navigate. The director of this nonprofit designed to get guns off the street said, â€œOur new site will serve as a hub for our communication and updates, information about our programs and â€“ most importantly â€“ the most-direct way for you to get involved and take a stand against gun violence. Here you can find out more about the great work we are doing with our â€˜Where Did the Gun Come From?â€™ campaign andÂ our â€˜Courtwatchâ€™ program.â€