Democratic State Committee Roundup
Lancaster — Add another name to the list. Lebanon County Commissioner Jo Ellen Litz told central Pa. committee members that she intends to run for Governor.
She cited her experience as an ten time elected official and President of the Swatara Watershed Association.
Litz ran for state Senate in 2010, but lost to Mike Folmer by a near 3-1 margin.
PA State Education Association President Mike Crossley declared his intent to run for Lt. Governor Friday. He stumped in front of the Allegheny County committee saying, “Tom Corbett is the worse Governor PA has ever had.”
But aside those updates, statewide primary contests saw little action Saturday.
Treasurer Rob McCord was out meeting attendee’s and stumping in regional caucuses.
And Progressive Caucus Chair Bruce Slater gave some input on Congresswoman Allyson Schwartz’s effort.
“I’m not certain Allyson Schwartz has what it takes to win a statewide race, not like these guys who already hold statewide office. I am interested in hearing more of what Tom Wolf has to say.”
Most of the candidates left after the round of receptions Friday night.
Candidates for other offices made the rounds, too. Josh Young is a Caln Township Commissioner. He’s planning a run for state Rep. in HD-74, the newly formed Democratic district in Chester County.
Morning caucuses covered womens issues, labor, and seniors among others.
In the Labor Caucus, AFL-CIO President Rick Bloomingdale lambasted union opponents in the state House and Senate.
“We need to make life miserable for Daryl Metcalfe, we need to make life miserable for Mike Turzai, even if we do not win we need to make life miserable for them.”
The labor caucus meeting became contentious though when Monroe County Committee member Sue Lyons began to stump for her resolution. She wanted a moratorium on the practice of hydraulic fracturing to retrieve natural gas.
Bloomingdale was quick to remind the caucus of the union jobs within the natural gas industry.
“The Labor Caucus has no official position on fracking other than it supports the jobs of those who work within the industry,” he said.
After much debate in regional caucuses the body of meeting arrived at the issue of committee member Lyons’s resolution proposing moratorium on hydraulic fracturing.
Vice Chairwoman Penny Gerber rose in opposition to the proposal.
“This bill as it currently stands says it is a moratorium on hydraulic fracturing, but it specifies that the moratorium will last until the practice can be done safely. Because no set period of time is provided it truly is a ban on fracking, and this is a thriving industry. It is for that reason I cannot support this bill,” she said.
Nonetheless the resolution passed by a standing vote of 115 in favor to 81 opposed.
The victory was to the delight of many members of the state committee and a small group of protesters who had camped out, outside the Penn Square Marriott and Convention Center. They disagreed with the views of the labor caucus leader Bloomingdale.
“There are jobs being developed, but not nearly as many as were promised to us,” said Karen Feridun founder of Berks County Gas Truth, also an attendee at the state committee meeting.
Progressive Caucus Chair Slater was hard at work whipping votes for his state party bylaws amendment. He wanted to unify the party’s rules on the ability to remove county committee members from their position.
According to Slater this move was spurred by a Philadelphia committeewoman who was removed from her elected office by other committee members because, he said, she did not receive the blessing of the county chairperson.
“This is cronyism, she was denied a local or state hearing,” said Slater.
In the full state committee meeting the motion was defeated by a voice vote, and Party Chairman Jim Burn denied a follow up with a vote count.