POLS ON THE STREET: Surprise! Old Voters Vote for Health

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DEMOCRATS’ hopes are high on mobilizing young voters in this election cycle, as Gov. Tom Wolf made evident at Democratic City Committee’s pre-election soirée at Sheet Metal Workers’ Hall in South Philadelphia. Posing with the governor were, L-R, Kyle McIntyre, Tajnia Hussain, Quinn Litzinger, Jamie Razler and Kayleigh McFarland. Photo by Wendell Douglas

BY JOE SHAHEELI
Pennsylvania voters are some of the oldest voters in the United States.

Old voters are preoccupied by social security and health-care bills. But when they are not in their doctors’ waiting rooms, old voters have lots of free time to vote, which they do in large numbers.
Welcome to the Pennsylvania electorate, which, 12 days from now, will cast votes for a governor and U.S. senator.

JONATHAN “JR” Rowan, Democratic leader of Ward 39A, held a ward meeting featuring congressional candidate Mary Gay Scanlon, L, and legislative candidate Elizabeth Fiedler. A full room of committee persons heard the candidates discuss national and state issues. Rowan is part of a new generation of energetic ward leaders. He has long experience in constituent service on the staff of State Sen. Larry Farnese. Photo by Joe Russo

The latest Politico-AARP poll reports that Pennsylvania voters age 50 and older say health-care and personal-finance issues will be top of mind this election season. The poll found health care (97%), Social Security (96%) and Medicare (95%) will be critical in determining how they vote in elections this fall and a strong majority want elected officials to act to lower health-care (92%) and prescription-drug costs (91%).

“If candidates want to win on Election Day, they must pay attention to the voices of the nation’s most powerful voting group: voters age 50 and up,” said Nancy LeaMond, AARP’s executive VP and chief advocacy & engagement officer. “History shows older voters are a deciding factor in midterm elections and they have a lot on their minds this year. Candidates would be wise to listen to them.”

Despite a temporary boost in concern when the Affordable Care Act was introduced – older voters tend to be leery of change – that cohort now seems to be swinging decisively toward preserving Obamacare (getting rid of it would mean another change, after all). And conservative Republicans’ constant vows to balance the budget by slashing social spending is not what senior voters have in mind – at least when it comes to spending on themselves.

GATHERED at the Enterprise Center in Walnut Hill were the joint forces of the 46th & 24th Wards. L-R were, rear, voter activist Omar Sabir and Ward Leader Greg Spearman; front, City Commission Chairwoman Lisa Deeley, host Ward Leaders Councilwoman Jannie Blackwell and Bernadette Wyche, Ward Leader Pete Wilson and voter activist Dennis Lee. Photo by Wendell Douglas

So this is not a good year for Pennsylvania Republicans to peddling cuts social spending. While this has been part of their brand for decades, to little ill effect, it may be putting them at a disadvantage in 2018 as the world’s most out-of-control health-care system rages on.

Pa. GOP Voters Turn out Early

Countering reports that Republicans are lagging in enthusiasm nationwide, the state GOP toots a hopeful note on absentee ballots.

PAGOP Chair Val DiGiorgio, a South Philly native, announced on Oct. 19 his party had “surpassed the Democrats in the number of absentee ballots returned. We have made an incredible push over the last weeks, and look to continue over the last week to increase our margins. Compared to this point in 2014, the Republican Party of Pennsylvania has doubled absentee returns.”

W. OAK LANE Senior Center hosted a workshop on resources for “Middle Neighborhood” homeowners to finance repairs. L-R were center Director Cathy Brown, State Sen. Art Haywood, Congressman Dwight Evans and State Rep. Isabella Fitzgerald, along with legal experts Dawn Williams, Anthony Marquese and Cindy Daley. Photo by Wendell Douglas

Absentee ballots are an area in which Republicans have traditionally led. If they had fallen behind in this cycle, that would have been a dark sign for them. But they were ahead by a nose as the fall campaign moved into its final two weeks.

Ireland, Vera Head City Workforce Team

Philadelphia Works, the City’s workforce-development board, has announced the appointment of two accomplished local professionals to its Board of Directors.

Sheila Ireland, the current director of the Mayor’s Office of Workforce Development, will be accepting one of the appointments. The second will go to labor expert and business manager of the Laborers’ International Union of North America Local Union 57, Estebán Vera. They will serve three-year terms.

The Board of Philadelphia Works consists of a mandated mix of leaders from the business, nonprofit, labor and government sectors, and is in place to make the strategic and financial decisions to provide extensive job training and networking resources in Philadelphia.
H. Patrick Clancy, president and CEO of Philadelphia Works, said of these appointees, “Their extensive backgrounds in skills training and workforce development will give us an advantage in our continued mission to improve this city’s professional talent pool, and to connect that pool to local employers.”

Wagner Takes To the Airwaves

REPUBLICAN gubernatorial candidate Scott Wagner has shown a propensity for hands-on campaigning in West Philadelphia. He showed up at Southwest District Services’ Candidates Night at Kingsessing Rec Center, flanked by congressional candidate Bryan Leib and Pastor Darien L. Thomas of Abundant Harvest.

The Wagner for Governor campaign has just launched a statewide television ad blitz that will continue until election day. The first three spots of the new ad campaign contrast Scott Wagner’s commitment to lowering taxes and health-care costs with Tom Wolf’s record of proposed tax increases and skyrocketing premiums and deductibles.

“Outspending us 7-1 has done little for Tom Wolf, given that more than 50% of Pennsylvanians still won’t vote to give him a second term,” said Campaign Manager Jason High.

In the week of Oct. 22-28, Wagner for Governor will spend over $750,000 on TV. Short on cash, Wagner held off on TV spending until the last three weeks of the campaign. Wolf, meanwhile, lavishly funded, has been saturating the airwaves for months with gentle promos stressing, by and large, his good-heartedness.

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