BY JOE SHAHEELI/ Gubernatorial candidate Tom Wolf made his first serious inroad into this townâ€™s Democratic machineryÂ last Friday night, picking up the endorsement of 7th Ward Leader State Rep. Angel Cruz (D-Kensington).
Itâ€™s a big one for Wolf and can be considered a coup for a couple of reasons.
Cruzâ€™ influence spreads out past his 180th Legislative Dist. into other wards and legislative and senatorial districts, wherever blocs of Latino voters are registered.
His endorsement of Wolf comes at a time when a turnout of Latino voters is expected to set a record high since their wards and legislative and senatorial districts are almost all involved in leadership struggles. Itâ€™s also pulling from the expected turnout Allyson Schwartz hopes to get from the city as the endorsed candidate of the Democratic Party.
Cruzâ€™ base of support has enabled him to survive a series of primaries, with each victory adding to that base.
He introduced Wolf to a packed house at Isla Verde at American & Lehigh, adding he would be part of â€œAngel Cruzâ€™ A team, made up of senatorial candidate Tim Savage and Tom Wolf for Governor.â€ He also introduced other legislative candidates â€” without endorsements â€” since they were all his â€œfriends.â€
Present at the event, and assuring Cruz he had Savageâ€™s back financially, was Ward Leader and union official John J. Dougherty, Jr.
Over the past half century, tradition has crept in, making changes with election boards that most of us have thought were baked into law. One of these has been the role of the Judge of Elections.
The Judge had the last word as to what was protocol or not in the election district or division on election day. The Judge was also the only one allowed to go into the election booth with a voter who was requesting assistance.
But we learned this past week, as have several judges of election who have checked in with this paper, judges make up one of three categories forbidden by law to assist voters inside the booth.
Those judges of elections who came to us for clarification were confused after learning from Commissionersâ€™ classes now being held they were not to assist voters.
Tradition is no longer the rule. Here is the official word: Judges of Elections cannot go into the booth with a voter. Neither can their employer or their union representatives. But other members of the board or a relative can step in and assist the voter.
Jared Solomon, candidate for the 202nd House Dist., understands jobs equal votes. Governor Tom Corbett is basing his reelection campaign on that platform and is glorying in the fact unemployment in Pennsylvania is at an all-time low since his inauguration in 2011.
So Solomon announced last week he has secured an agreement to relocate Environmental Construction Services, Inc., into Lower Northeast Philadelphia, bringing with it over 30 jobs.
Environmental Construction Services is a unionized mechanical and sheet-metal contracting firm specializing in energy-efficiency. Michael Brown, ECSâ€™s president, confirmed he made the move when presented the opportunity by Solomon.
A graduate of Swarthmore College and Villanova Law School, Solomon is an attorney experienced in education law, securities and antitrust, election reform and human rights.
Not content with the Democratic caucusâ€˜ endosement in his run to replace retiring Mike McGeehan in the 173rd House Dist., Mike Driscoll is taking a page from McGeehanâ€™s notebook.
He has campaign aide Terrence Devlin reaching out for volunteers from among the many friends developed by Driscoll over the years.
Devlin says, â€œMike has done so much, for so many. Now is our opportunity to do something for Mike. We are asking volunteers to contribute to spending a max of two hours to help us with light-duty items necessary for a successful campaign.â€œ
Devlinâ€™s number is (215) 817-1670 or e-mail TOD318@gmail.com.
Donâ€™t count State Sen. Daylin Leach out as a serious candidate for Congress in Pennsylvaniaâ€™s 13th Congressional Dist. His first-quarter fundraising of $335,399 pushed his campaign past the $1-million-raised mark.
â€œDaylin is exceptionally proud of the grassroots contributors who put their faith in our campaign,â€ said Aren Platt, Leachâ€™s campaign manager. â€œSince we started running for Congress a little more than a year ago, we’ve received contributions from 4,793 individual donors from all 50 states.â€ Additionally, this past quarter, our average contribution was less than $105.â€
Also lighting Leachâ€™s fire are huge endorsements from the Pennsylvania State Education Association and the National Education Association. The 13th Dist. is rich with teachers, who tend to be supervoters.
Michael Youngblood, who continually surfaces up front or behind the scenes in city and state campaigns, is making a serious run at the leadership of the 32nd ward held by Gary Williams.
Itâ€™s not that he has anything against Gary. â€œBut,â€ he says, â€œit is time for me to get involved within the party structure.â€
Youngblood was a member of Tom Knoxâ€™s former campaign for Mayor.
Ken Krawchuk, the Libertarian candidate for Pennsylvania Governor, wished his fellow Pennsylvania taxpayers a â€œHappier Tax Day!â€ Tuesday. But Krawchuk added, â€œThe only way to ensure that happens is to vote for a Libertarian Governor this year.â€
He explained over the course of the last fifty years â€“ two entire generations! â€“ the cost of government has been growing at more than three times the rate of inflation. â€œIt doesnâ€™t matter if thereâ€™s a Democrat or Republican in office,â€ he said.
He noted in 1964, the average Pennsylvania taxpayer paid only $100 in taxes. Today, that number is over $2,300 and growing. Had taxes tracked with inflation, the average tax would have been below $700. But instead, the government is taking an extra $1,600 from each Pennsylvanian.
â€œWhen Iâ€™m Governor, that trend will end,â€Â he vowed.