PA-Gov Roundup: Philly Dems Back Schwartz & More
There have been a number of significant developments in the race for Governor that made breaking news, or flew under the radar this week.
Philly Dems for Schwartz
The Congresswoman received an important if not exactly surprising endorsement today, as a committee member confirms that the Philadelphia Democratic City Committee will back her candidacy. This development, while a victory for the Schwartz campaign, shouldn’t come as a shock as the chairman of the committee, fellow Representative Bob Brady, endorsed Schwartz’s campaign last month. The committee will also be backing State Sen. Mike Stack, another Brady ally, for Lt. Governor.
Update: “We made this unprecedented early endorsement of Allyson Schwartz for Governor because the stakes of this election are too high to sit on the sidelines,” said Committee Chairman Bob Brady.
“We know that, as Governor, Allyson will bring the same commitment to finding solutions for Pennsylvania’s families that she has as a state senator and United States Congresswoman. We are proud to endorse her candidacy.”
“I am honored by this endorsement and have been proud that they have stood with me on behalf of our city’s residents during my time representing voters in both Northeast and Northwest Philadelphia,” Schwartz said. “I am thrilled to have their support and am eager to work with them to defeat Tom Corbett and help elect Democratic leaders in offices at all levels of government.”
PAGOP Dings Schwartz Over ACA Website
For a moment this week it looked as if the Pa. Republican Party had caught Schwartz’s official office in the act. The PAGOP slammed Schwartz at 9am on Tuesday for a line on her website promoting the Affordable Care Act. “If you already have health coverage you like, you can keep it,” Schwartz’s site claimed.
It was revealed this week that that is not exactly true. Millions of Americans are being made to abandon their individual plans in favor of plans that meet ACA standards, some of them are more expensive.
At 2:30pm Tuesday, the page in question was gone from Schwartz’s website, and the PAGOP pounced. “It’s clear Allyson Schwartz knows she broke her promise, and is now frantically working to hide her record from Pennsylvania families she supposedly served,” wrote spokeswoman Valerie Caras.
Schwartz’s official spokesman Greg Vadala said the page was simply updated to include a link to recent Schwartz testimony. The page – including the offending line – is back up.
The PAGOP fired again.
“We actually had more respect for Rep. Schwartz when she took down her entire page because we caught her in a lie. But she is now doubling-down on the same false advertising to blatantly mislead Pennsylvanians and cover-up her staunch support of a disastrous law that will be a political liability for her,” Caras said.
Schwartz to Philly Schools: Sell your artwork
Rep. Schwartz also took the opportunity this week to criticize the state’s School Reform Commission and suggested that they sell school artwork to help reduce the shortfall in the Philadelphia schools’ budget.
“Philadelphia’s students, families and teachers deserve every available dollar to be put toward classroom learning,” Congresswoman Schwartz stated in a campaign press release. “It is unreasonable for the district to hold on to artwork that could be worth millions while schools don’t have nurses, students lack books, and teachers face layoffs.”
“Selling the district’s vast collection of artwork is only one step toward solving the budget crisis facing Philadelphia public schools, but it is an action that should be taken immediately in light of the serious fiscal issues,” she continued. “Right now, the district doesn’t even know how much this art is worth and where it is all stored. This lack of oversight and accountability is unacceptable. It is time to do the right thing for Philadelphia’s students. Students must come first.”
Labor Leader for Katie McGinty
Katie McGinty’s campaign received an endorsement this week from long-time United Steelworkers leader and former congressional candidate Ed O’Brien.
“A lot of candidates talk about creating jobs, but Katie McGinty has done it — which is why I am supporting her for Governor,” O’Brien said. “Katie has a record of turning environmental challenges into opportunities to create jobs. She understands that we need to bring manufacturing back if we are going to grow our economy and create jobs that allow workers to do more than just get by.”
O’Brien was President of USW Local 2598 from 1977 to 1985 and Assistant Director of USW District 10 from 1994 to 2003. He also ran against then Congressman Pat Toomey in 2000 and 2002.
“I am grateful for the support of an outspoken advocate for workers like Ed O’Brien,” McGinty said. “Ed and I share the same view that we need to create more good-paying jobs for Pennsylvanians and that we can protect the environment at the same time.”
Hanger to Philly Schools: Rehire Laid-Off Teachers
John Hanger meanwhile is calling on the Philadelphia City Council to use the $45 million just released by Governor Corbett to go to rehiring teachers and support staff in order to prevent incidents like the recent death of a student from an asthma attack.
“After a student died from an asthma attack during school when there was no school nurse available to administer first aid, it should be crystal clear to everyone what the priority for spending this money should be,” said Hanger. “It is critical to the safety and the quality of education in Philadelphia public schools to get teachers and support staff back at work at neighborhood public schools.”
The candidate also stated his belief that none of these funds should be used for charter schools.
“None of this funding should be siphoned off to support the charter schools, whose budgets were not affected by the Philadelphia school funding crisis,” Hanger said. “The cyber charters, none of which get passing grades in the new state report card, already waste $60 million of the Philadelphia school budget. They should not get another cent.”
A video of Hanger’s statement can be viewed here.