State Sen. John P. Sabatina, Jr. (D-Northeast) dropped the “elect” after his title when he was sworn into the 5th Dist. Senate Seat Tuesday in a ceremony on the floor of the Pennsylvania Senate.
Sabatina was elected to lead the 5th Senatorial Dist. in a May 19 special election.
“It’s been an honor to represent the residents of the 174th House Dist. for the past decade,” Sabatina said. “I am looking forward to fighting for the working families in Northeast Philly for many years to come. There are many challenging issues facing the good people of Northeast Philadelphia and throughout Pennsylvania. I will do my best to voice their concerns.”
Sabatina will follow his predecessor, Mike Stack, who is now serving as Pennsylvania’s Lieutenant Governor. Lt. Gov. Stack was elected as the running mate to Gov. Tom Wolf last November. The 5th Dist. has been vacant since Stack resigned his seat following his inauguration.
A caucus of committee people in the district meets to elect, by majority vote, a party nominee in a special election which could be held anytime in the summer months or in November.
Since the General Assembly will be in recess after the budget is resolved, odds are this special election, with two or more vacant seats, will be resolved in the general election Nov. 3.
The 174th Legislative Dist. includes portions of the 56th, 57th, 58th, and 66th Wards, with the largest number of divisions belonging to 57th Ward Leader Pat Parkinson. The 56th, led by John Sabatina, Sr., follows with two fewer divisions. The 58th, led by Lt. Gov. Mike Stack, and the 66th, by Shawn Dillon, could, if united, swing a contest if one would occur between Parkinson and Sabatina, Sr. That is not likely at this reading.
The voters of the 174th are lucky to have a strong cast of contenders, each of whom understands the responsibility of that important legislative seat. These include labor leader Gary Masino; Councilman Ed Neilson, who had held that seat before moving on to City Council; Shawn Dillon; and Congressman Bob Brady’s aide Kyle Wherrity.
The strong relationship between Shawn Dillon and Pat Parkinson makes it likely the two will combine to form the majority of committee people voting and it is reported they are leaning to Kyle Wherrity.
Kyle Patrick Wherrity is considered by Brady to be “dedicated, smart, and a hard worker.” That seems to be the consensus of the ward leaders in the area he serves for Brady.
We’ll be bringing you updates on the other vacant seats shortly.
Jim Kenney, the son of a Philadelphia firefighter and favored to be next Mayor of the city, swore in the newly elected officers of IAFF Local 22 at its Union Hall, earlier this week.
They are Andy Thomas, president; Eddie Marks, 1st VP; Mike Bresnan, 2nd VP; Jack Eltman, recording secretary; Dan Oakes, treasurer; Tom Kane, chairman of trustees; Jerry Kots, trustee; Ray Vozzelli, trustee; Walter Faber, sergeant at arms; and Chuck McQuilkin, sergeant at arms.
Kenney, whose father was a captain in the Fire Dept. told an enthusiastic throng of firefighters he regards them as family. He drew a standing ovation when he vowed, “There are some things that were done to you in the last four, five, six years that I’m going to undo as soon as I get in.”
For the larger public, though, Democratic mayoral candidate Jim Kenney’s message still includes “If we win” … a sign Kenney still doesn’t believe the magnitude of the victory by which he won and the honeymoon he is enjoying with the media.
Now he’s asking you, the voters and vote-getters, “What matters most to you? What’s your big idea for Philadelphia?
“I love this city and I know you do too. So if you have an idea that will help us lift every neighborhood, big or small, please send it along!
“I promise you, I’m listening. Tomorrow, we’re going to start to share some of the best ideas, so please send your idea in now!”
Allentown Mayor Ed Pawlowski has made it known he’s in the Democratic primary next year to challenge US Sen. Pat Toomey (R-Pa.). He raised $600,000 so far this quarter while former Congressman Joe Sestak, who has long been in this race, raised $312,000 for his efforts during that time period. Sestak has not released any claims for 2nd-quarter income; a campaign spokesman stated, however, by the end of the 1st quarter the Admiral had raised a total of $2.5 million.
Toomey continues to look good in polls. As the Senate considers the national defense authorization bill, Toomey has amendments to strengthen Pennsylvania’s National Guard and Reserve units and assist their members.
The Senator is offering four amendments directly related to the National Guard and Reserves.
“As a member of the bipartisan Senate National Guard and Reserve Caucus, I am a strong supporter of the Reserve components of our armed forces,” said Toomey. “We are in a time of great national security and fiscal challenges which is why a strong Reserve and National Guard are so important. I believe my amendments will strengthen our state’s units as they provide a combat-proven, cost-effective force that can rapidly and effectively augment our armed forces abroad as well as respond to disasters at home.”
When Councilman David Oh placed first in the Republican primary by a significant margin, outpacing the other candidates with 18.03% of the votes, elephants got the message. They need to value his popularity as the top Republican vote-getter. Finishing first put him at the top of the GOP slate, followed by incumbent Denny O’Brien. Terry Tracy came in third. Dan Tinney and Al Taubenberger make up the slate of five.
What is interesting is O’Brien’s strong base of support which showed up especially in his 66th Ward home turf. He was a maybe without that ward’s turnout. Since Democrats have a chance to jump party lines and pick an interesting Republican or two for City Council at Large in the general election, he may need to take a tip or two in campaigning from Councilman Oh.
A task force put together by Latino members of the Democratic State Committee members has finally debuted a Latino caucus after eight months of communicating with each other across the state.
They were recognized at the State Democratic meeting last weekend in Allentown. A unanimous vote was cast for David Rodriguez, chair; Isaac Torres-Figueroa, Vice Chair; Humberto Perez, secretary; and April Riddick, treasurer.
“The Green Party of Philadelphia recognizes that around 30% of the members of the Democratic and Republican Parties have now chosen two candidates for Mayor,” said GPOP Chair Glenn Davis following the Green’s Membership Meeting at Dream House Asian Bistro in Roxborough.
“The charge of an excellent Mayor would be to make Philadelphia free from hunger and homelessness,” said Bernadette Cronin-Geller, a Green Party member from Roxborough. “There are 400,000 of our neighbors living in poverty in Philadelphia. That means three out of ten adults and four out of ten children are below the poverty line. The Green Party says that this must change.”
It’s obvious State Sen. Vincent Hughes (D-W. Phila.) has the talent of being a good radio personality as he kept telephone callers engaged in a live Telephone Town Hall Meeting this past Tuesday evening.
The main topic was a tax on natural-gas drilling in the Marcellus Shale to fund education, as well as any other topics that participants are interested in discussing. From the results and feedback, we expect more of these.
Just don’t forget our readers, Senator, if you want to widen your audience. They like to know what is happening with you other than having to go to a phone to communicate.