PA-8: Strouse Premieres First TV Ad (VIDEO)

Kevin Strouse is a first-time candidate so he used his first general election TV ad to introduce himself to voters.

“We’re all tired of politics,” Strouse begins. “We just want what’s best for our kids.”

Joined by his wife and two young kids, Strouse describes his background as an Army Ranger with experience serving in Iraq and Afghanistan.

“Congress should do their [job], help small business and improve education,” he states. “If they don’t pass a budget, they shouldn’t get paid.”

“And let’s ban politicians from becoming lobbyists permanently,” Strouse concludes. “So Washington works for us and we can rebuild the middle class.”

Strouse is running against three-term Republican Congressman Mike Fitzpatrick for Pennsylvania’s Eighth Congressional District. The 8th comprises all of Bucks County and parts of upper Montgomery County.

PA-10: Nick Troiano Releases First Television Ad (VIDEO)

Nick Troiano, the twenty-five year old Independent candidate running for the 10th Congressional District, released his first television commercial today.

The ad, titled “Washington’s A Zoo”, is one of the lighter spots that has been released thus far this election season. It features Troiano between a donkey and elephant, and makes the case that he is the candidate of the people, not of the political parties.

Troiano also discusses the bickering between the Democrats and Republicans and how nothing is getting done in Washington.

“All the squabbling, nothing getting done,” Troiano states. “Both sides seem to care more about scoring points for their party than solving problems for the people.”

The main issue Troiano is concerned with in the ad is the ever-increasing national debt and how the future generations will be left cleaning it up.

The commercial ends with Troiano cleaning up after one of the animals, saying, “I’m sick of both parties crap.”

Troiano will face off against Republican incumbent Tom Marino and Democrat Scott Brion. The 10th Congressional District is located in Northeastern Pennsylvania.

314 PAC Unveils New Web Ad (VIDEO)

Scientific professionals feel their voice isn’t being heard in Washington and Shaughnessy Naughton’s new PAC is trying to change that.

314 PAC launched their first web video today, in which Naughton delivers the group’s mission statement.

“Those of us in the science community have been increasingly concerned by political rhetoric that pushes aside research and data in favor of misinformation and outright craziness,” Naughton states.

She goes on to lament the reduction of STEM research that has occurred in Congress.

“If we don’t have scientifically literate people determining policy, we can’t possibly expect to have laws based on reasoned judgement,” she asserts.

Naughton emphasizes that the goals behind creating 314 PAC are to recruit, train and support STEM professionals so that they can become “viable, credible Democratic candidates.”

A chemist and small business owner, Naughton ran in the PA-8 Democratic primary against eventual nominee Kevin Strouse.

PA-6: Costello Releases First TV Ad (VIDEO)

Republican nominee Ryan Costello unleashed his first TV ad of the congressional campaign today.

Costello, a Chester County Commissioner Chair, is running against three-time Democratic nominee Manan Trivedi, a veteran and physician. They’re fighting over the 6th congressional district left vacant by retiring Congressman Jim Gerlach.

“Balanced budgets. Investing in our libraries. Preserving open space,” Costello began. “Bipartisan leadership. That’s my record as an elected official.”

He goes on to assert that he has advised small businesses and created jobs.

“I was born and raised here,” he continued. “I’ve always worked here. I’m raising my family here.”

The commercial also features Costello’s wife, Christine, and their newborn son Ryan Jr.

The comment about Costello “always working here” is a not so subtle jab at his opponent, as his campaign has accused Trivedi of working in Washington, D.C.

“I’m Ryan Costello and I approve this message because I’m running for Congress to make sure our future is brighter for everyone who wants to live in our community,” the candidate concludes.

PA-8: Rothenberg Moves Seat From “Republican Favored” to “Safe” Republican

mike-fitzpatrick2Congressman Mike Fitzpatrick is starting off the weekend with some good news.

The latest update by the Rothenberg Political Report reveals that the political prognosticating group feels the incumbent holds the clear advantage. As a result, they are changing their designation of PA-8 from “Republican Favored” to “Currently Safe”.

“This race just hasn’t materialized for Democrats in this competitive, suburban Philadelphia district,” Rothenberg’s Nathan L. Gonzalez wrote.

“GOP Rep. Mike Fitzpatrick’s standing remains very solid and Democrat Kevin Strouse hasn’t gained any traction. Back in the spring of 2013, Strouse received front page treatment in The Washington Post as one of DCCC Chairman Steve Israel’s ‘problem solvers.’ That appears to have been the pinnacle of Strouse’s campaign. We are moving the race from Republican Favored to Currently Safe for Fitzpatrick.”

“Now Democrats will have to wait until 2016 and hope that Fitzpatrick abides by his plan to serve just four terms,” Gonzalez concluded. “An open seat next cycle would be extremely competitive.”

Rothenberg’s rating for the PA-6 open seat race between Republican nominee Ryan Costello and Democratic nominee Manan Trivedi is still classified as “Leans Republican”.

Roll Call also rates PA-8 as “Safe Republican” while the Cook Political Report believes it is “Likely Republican.”

PA-1: RMC PAC Endorses Rath

Megan-RathRepublican nominee for Pennsylvania’s 1st congressional district Megan Rath won the endorsement of the Republican Majority for Choice today.

The RMC is a national organization dedicated to promoting policies that limit the scope of government in American lives. A pro-choice organization, the RMC works with legislators to further access to reproductive choices, including abstinence education, contraception, motherhood, adoption and safe legal abortions. In the organization’s mission statement it states its goal is to bring Republican candidates to Capitol Hill to vote on “commonsense solutions.”

Rath’s endorsement stems from her platform, which focuses on education, the economy and fixing what the RMC considers to be the “disastrous federal healthcare law.”

“Rath is a true fiscal conservative who understands that the government should pursue commonsense cost-effective policies while protecting the rights of individuals,” said RMC co-chair Susan Bevan. “These beliefs fortify her pro-choice position, believing individuals should enjoy the freedom to make vital family and medical decisions for themselves.  And her emphasis on conservative fiscal policy lends to her appreciation for preventative health services that reduce long-term costs to the government, and more importantly to taxpayers.”

A newcomer to the political scene, Rath is critical of Democratic incumbent Bob Brady’s approach to education, job building and the economy. Rath seeks to provide better funding to schools, lower the unemployment rate, and reduce poverty in her district.

She faces an uphill, however, as PA-1 is rated D+28.

PA-8: Fitzpatrick Introduces Legislation Aimed at Financially Crippling ISIS

Rep. FitzpatrickIn a conference call today with members of the press, Congressman Mike Fitzpatrick (PA-8), announced his upcoming legislation to fight the ISIS (Islamic State in Iraq and Syria) threat. The Isolate ISIS Act will seek to cut off income to the terrorist organization, crippling it where it is most powerful.

“ISIS is unlike other terrorist organizations because it has the means to raise money,” Fitzpatrick said in the conference call. “By attacking their funding we can slow their growth and limit their resources to push back against their twisted world view.”

The Act will impose sanctions on foreign financial institutions that do business with ISIS or individuals operating on their behalf. It will also impose harsh penalties on U.S corporations or individuals that do commerce with ISIS, including black market petroleum sales from ISIS.

“[This bill] is one piece of a larger response to the threats posed directly by ISIS,” Fitzpatrick said. “Our nation needs a plan, a strategy for foreign policy in the 21st century world.”

This legislation was announced just hours before President Obama is scheduled to address the nation on ISIS. The Obama Administration has previously stated that it will continue without Congressional approval on a broader military and political attack on ISIS that hinges on political and military commitments from European allies. Whether he will consult Congress remains to be seen.

“The President does have the ability, and should as Commander in Chief, to lead and to take aggressive actions to protect our national security. He is currently using this authority” Fitzpatrick said. “I, and members throughout Pennsylvania, are waiting to hear the President’s strategy this evening.”

Fitzpatrick believes that the best way to eliminate the threat posed by ISIS is through “diplomatic action of diplomacy and sanctions.” He holds that it is important to work and listen to other nations, but that the U.S. cannot let our friends or enemies dictate our foreign policy.

PA-10: Independent Troiano Announces Campaign Endorsements

nick-troianoThe twenty-five year old candidate for PA’s 10th congressional district is accumulating a list of supporters on the local, state and federal level.

Among those backing Troiano is Phil Scollo, the 2012 Democratic nominee for the set.

“Nick Troiano is on his way to becoming our next U.S. Representative and I am proud to announce my full support and endorsement of his candidacy,” Scollo said. “Nick has the energy, enthusiasm, and ideas to be a truly great representative of our community and is the only viable alternative to Tom Marino, who epitomizes Washington ineptitude and gridlock.”

Scollo was trounced in 2012 by incumbent Rep. Tom Marino who received 168,024 votes (66%) compared to the Democrat’s 87,096 votes (34%). A March JMC Analytics poll that the campaign has touted, however, showed 76% of voters were open to supporting an independent candidate against Marino.

Troiano’s Mayors Council now includes the support of 21 mayors, which includes eight Democrats and thirteen Republicans from 11 different countries in the 10th Congressional District. The council supports the candidate in their communities and advises the Troiano campaign regarding specific local issues.

Thirteen-year Republican Mayor of Montgomery, Andy Onufrak announced his support by issuing a statement of collectiveness, “we might be from different places and different parties, but we all agree that Nick Troiano is a breath of fresh air to our community and is best positioned to represent us in Washington.”

The Independent candidate has already shown an affinity for a fresh direction by completing a fifteen county “back to the future” tour in July.

Naughton Creates PAC Aimed at STEM Professionals

naughtonShaughnessy Naughton feels that the scientific profession is not well represented in Congress and she’s creating a new Political Action Committee to solve that problem.

314 PAC (named after pi) considers engineers and scientists the “backbone of our industrial and technology-based economy,” who will diversify the political perspective and restore collaboration in government.

“I decided to run for Congress after seeing basic scientific research come under attack from big-money special interests,” said Naughton, who will serve as 314 PAC’s Executive Director. “After running for Congress, I know first-hand how difficult it can be for a candidate with a background in science to stay financially competitive in a tight race. 314 PAC will give voters an opportunity to recruit a new generation of people with scientific and technical experience to office.”

The organization’s website asserts that, “Scientific and technological discovery and development are driving forces that push societies and their economies to evolve, to the benefit of their citizens.”

Nevertheless, very few STEM professionals hold public office and their research isn’t included in political decisions. 314 PAC laments this fact as a result of “big-money special interests.” The funds needed for basic scientific research, according to the PAC’s founders, have been diminished in favor of “small government.”

“Conservative elected officials, influenced by unlimited special interest campaign money, oppose expanding our scientific understanding of key issues, including medicine, public health, technology, and—the most pressing concern of our time—climate change,” according to the organization’s mission statement.

To combat this, 314 PAC’s candidates will work to aid science or engineering professionals who are seeking a path to political office. They believe the STEM community’s goals can change the political atmosphere. Working with their recruits, 314 PAC intends to provide the resources needed to create a “new generation” of democratic leaders who can “objectively observe and discern facts from opinions, and to make decisions dispassionately and based on evidence.”

Among the group’s board of advisors are PA-13 candidate Val Arkoosh, well-known climate scientist Michael Mann and Joe Trippi, the chief political consultant behind the 2004 Howard Dean presidential campaign.

PA-8: Strouse Presents Rep. Fitzpatrick with To-Do List

DSC01810PA-8 Democratic nominee Kevin Strouse has created his own checklist for Rep. Mike Fitzpatrick and Congress as they enter their fall session.

The candidate introduced the to-do list in his Bristol office in front of reporters, staffers and supporters this morning.

Strouse four-step agenda to “rebuild the middle class” was as follows: “End subsidies for big oil; Raise the minimum wage; Ban members of Congress from becoming lobbyists; Make college more affordable.”

“These issues enjoy broad bipartisan support,” Strouse said before transitioning to the issues. “More than two-thirds of those on the minimum wage are women. More than 70% of Americans support raising the minimum wage.”

The nominee also spoke out against the influence of money in politics, citing former Majority Leader Eric Cantor’s jump to an investment bank as an example.

“One of the key sources of dysfunction in our government right now, one of the key reasons we’ve had the less effective Congress in memory, in modern history, is because of the revolving door down in Congress,” Strouse asserted. “We need to really address ways to get money out of politics.”

He suggested that public financing of elections would be the most effective way to clean up government and even called for a constitutional amendment to that end.

Strouse finished by hitting Fitzpatrick for his votes for the Ryan budget which would cut Pell Grants.

“Over the long run if we want to make sure we have a thriving middle class in this country it has got to come through educational systems. Part of that is making sure our students have access to college,” he stated. “Without the middle class we will lose the backbone of our country and no longer remain the best country in the world.”

Of course, the Congress is not going to accomplish all this but it’s an example of the Democratic nominee using a time-honored campaign tradition of accusing the Congressional incumbent of getting nothing done.

“The Republican Congress has already indicated it intends to work 12 days, so that’s your tax dollars at work right now,” Strouse commented at the start.

Iraq

Strouse is a veteran of the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq and also worked in the CIA Counter-terrorism center. As a result, I asked him about the recent events in Iraq and Syria concerning ISIS.

“What we’re seeing now is a continuation of the last ten years,” Strouse responded, recalling how he learned about the beheading of Nick Berg in 2004 right after he returned from his deployment.

“The people in ISIS, the hardcore members, they are barbarians. These are not people that we can negotiate with. So there is no reconciling with that group.”

He went on to explain that while he felt the Administration’s decisions to launch airstrikes and push out Nouri al-Maliki as Prime Minister were “the right call”, this was nonetheless more of a political than military problem.

“One of the reasons that ISIS has had the military success its had, is because the nationalist Sunni groups hate the Iraqi government more than they hate ISIS,” Strouse explained. “That’s not a sustainable situation, which is the good news but the Iraqi government needs to start bringing them [the Sunnis] into the fold rather than using their anti-terrorism laws as an excuse to throw them into prison.”

“It’s got to be an Iraqi solution just for starters, and its a political solution and its gonna take time and I’m glad that we’re supporting the Iraqis in some of the things we’re doing but we’re not gonna bomb our way out of this one,” he concluded. “There’s no good option there and we needed the military option to get out of the emergency, but that’s not a long-term solution.”

Update: Fitzpatrick Campaign Coordinator Sam Bolstein provided the following statement to PoliticsPA:

“Whether during his time as a County Commissioner, or through his involvement in the bipartisan group No Labels, Mike Fitzpatrick has always sought to unite people – regardless of political affiliation – around the goals that unite us. That’s the message he carried with him this summer when he again visited more than 100 businesses in 100 days – connecting with the workers, families and small business owners who power our economy. Mike’s Better Jobs, More Opportunity plan lays out a detailed governing vision that shows what lawmakers can do when they’re willing to set politics aside and commit to the objectives that matter: closing the skills gap, investing in infrastructure, lowering the price at the pump and getting our veterans back to work.”

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