SD-26: National Organization for Women Endorses John Kane

JohnKaneJohn Kane, the Democratic candidate in the 26th Senate District, picked up an endorsement from the Pennsylvania chapter of the National Organization for Women (NOW) today.

“John Kane is exactly the kind of State Senator we need in Harrisburg,” Caryn Hunt, the President of Pennsylvania Now said. “Our current legislature inexplicably fails to make progress — or worse, regresses — on issues like equal pay, women’s health care, and overall gender equity. With John Kane in the State Senate, we will have a true ally and champion for progress in Harrisburg.”

“I’m honored to have the endorsement of Pennsylvania NOW,” responded. “This endorsement is validation of the hard work that we have put into building a broad coalition of support. I look forward to working closely with the leadership, members, and supporters of NOW to win on November 4th, and beyond.”

Located in portions of Chester and Delaware Counties, the 26th State Senate District is a race to watch this November. Current incumbent, Republican Ted Erickson is retiring, leaving the seat wide open for Kane and his GOP opponent, Thomas McGarrigle.

Ken Trujillo to Join Philadelphia Mayoral Race

TrujilloWhile most of our attention has been focused on November, the battle for the Democratic nomination in the Philly mayoral contest next May is starting to heat up.

Ken Trujillo, a Philadelphia lawyer who served as City Solicitor under former Mayor John Street, will hold a press conference Wednesday at 9:30 a.m. in front of the Philadelphia School District building to share his vision for Philadelphia. Chief among his concerns is educational reform for Philadelphia schools.

Trujillo considers his political path to be atypical. Born in Espanola, New Mexico he rose from impoverished beginnings to become the first in his family to attend college. Trujillo is a graduate of Penn Law and has served as an Assistant U.S. Attorney where he was best known for prosecuting various drug rings in North Philadelphia. Trujillo founded his own law firm, Trujillo Rodriguez & Richards, LLC in 1997. An Obama supporter, he worked on the President’s 2008 campaign as well as the transition team after the election.

“I really do think Philadelphia is at an inflection point,” he told the Inquirer earlier this year. “I think my experience prepares me well to offer a compelling vision for our future and lead a serious conversation about our city’s challenges on public schools, job creation, and crime.”

In joining the race, Trujillo has hired noted campaign manager Bill Hyers who ran the mayoral races for New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio and current Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter.

Trujillo has long been politically active, serving on the Pennsylvania Intergovernmental Cooperation Authority (PICA) and the Gaming Board Control Board overseeing the state’s finances. As city solicitor he redesigned gun control legislation for Philadelphia and other cities when he successfully sued top gun manufacturer Smith & Wesson, citing that their product had created a nuisance in Philadelphia. He also played a key role in the development of the Eagle’s Lincoln Financial Field and the Phillies’ Citizens Bank Park.

During this time, Trujillo launched the city’s leading anti-poverty organization, the Congreso de Latinos Unidos Inc. The nationally-recognized organization brings health and social services, comprehensive education and employment to over 14,000 individuals a year.

Trujillo joins Terry Gillen, former top aide to Mayors Michael Nutter and Ed Rendell, as the two candidates to officially declare their candidacy in the Democratic primary. There are still many potential candidates that may jump in the race, though, and no one is considered at the moment to be the favorite.

Reader Poll: What Issue is Most Important to You?

Voting-boothThere are now just less than fifty days left until Election Day.

This leads to the question of what issue will have the biggest impact how you cast your ballot this November.

The conventional wisdom has been that, as in years past, the economy and jobs will be the most important issue to voters.

Yet several polls this year have shown that education matters more to PA voters. Governor Corbett’s re-election campaign believes this to be the case, releasing a new ad last week disputing the notion that he cut education spending.

There was also a lot of speculation that health care reform (aka Obamacare) would be the central issue of the campaign. After the embarrassing website failure, however, the law has proven successful and is now barely commented on.

The last potential hot-button issue is the environment and energy. The Marcellus Shale resources have provoked a spirited debate on fracking and a severance tax and it’s possible this issue could bubble to the surface.

With some many different possibilities we decided to ask you, our readers, what issue matters the most to you?

With the midterms approaching, what issue matters most to you?

View Results

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Reader Poll: Bill Clinton Would Be the Best Campaign Surrogate

Kane-ClintonIn a crowded field, former President Bill Clinton ran away with it, with nearly half of respondents saying he’d be the best campaign surrogate.

The result is a bit surprising as Democrats’ willingness to be seen with the 42nd President has varied over time.

Al Gore didn’t use him in the 2000 presidential election because of the ghost of Lewinsky while John Kerry welcomed him four years later. In 2008, Clinton infamously ran into trouble campaigning for his wife in South Carolina yet four years later gave what many pundits considered to be the best speech of the entire 2012 campaign at the Democratic National Convention.

Altogether, Clinton was voted by 358 readers as the best campaign surrogate.

Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren finished second (110) and New Jersey Governor Chris Christie came in third (87).

Interestingly, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton wound up fourth with 68 votes, not overly impressive for the 2016 front-runner.

2012 GOP nominee Mitt Romney got a small piece of revenge as he received 60 votes compared to the 21 of President Barack Obama. Incumbent’s are usually unpopular during the midterms but reports suggest the Commander-in-Chief may be coming to PA.

Rounding out the group, Jeb Bush got 18 votes while just 8 respondents chose 2008 GOP nominee John McCain.

The full results are included below:

Who would be the best campaign surrogate?

  • Bill Clinton (49%)
  • Elizabeth Warren (15%)
  • Chris Christie (12%)
  • Hillary Clinton (9%)
  • Mitt Romney (8%)
  • Barack Obama (3%)
  • Jeb Bush (2%)
  • John McCain (2%)

Total Voters: 730

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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.

9/16 Morning Buzz

PA-state-flag6Costello releases his first TV ad, Naughton introduces her new PAC and the Auditor General plans to investigate Corbett’s HealthyPA plan. Good morning politicos, here’s the Buzz!

PA-6: Costello Releases First TV Ad (VIDEO): The Republican nominee introduces himself to the voters of the Sixth Congressional District.

SD-6: Tomlinson Touts “Independent Voice” in Debut Ad: The long-time State Senator from PA’s 6th district released his campaigns first ad, rebuffing attacks from Democratic challenger Kimberly Rose.

314 PAC Unveils New Web Ad (VIDEO): Executive Director Shaughnessy Naughton lays out the group’s mission statement in their premiere web video.

PA-10: Nick Troiano Releases First Television Ad (VIDEO): Independent candidate Nick Troiano released his first television ad this week.

PA-Gov: Auditor General to Investigate $48 Million in “Undisclosed Funds” Spent on HealthyPA: The Auditor General will investigate funds connected to the Corbett administration’s HealthyPA plan.

PA Independent: Corbett’s hotel choices a secret, but costs generally kept down
PA Independent: Violent schools? A Philadelphia charter has answers
State Impact PA: Study: residents closer to gas wells report more health issues
State Impact PA: Study finds flawed well casings – not fracking – caused tainted water
State Impact PA: Gas drillers still ignoring law to include women and minorities
State House Sound Bites: A Core problem: blame the name?
State House Sound Bites: State to borrow from treasury to pay bills
PLS Reporter: Likely Senate action on medical marijuana bill shines light on liquor dispute with House
PLS Reporter: Bills aimed at reducing Commonwealth’s capital debt move from committee
PLS Reporter: Corbett’s major priorities still possible following meeting with legislative leadership
Capitolwire: Sens. Mike Stack and Shirley Kitchen: Stack, Kitchen call for scrutiny of HealthyPA spending claim
Capitolwire: Wolf, the vehicle for voters to express dissatisfaction with Corbett

The Inquirer: Efforts to get Harrisburg to pass $2-per-pack cigarette tax for Phila. schools ramped up
The Inquirer: Pa. races’ GOP tilt could be sign for U.S. House
Daily News: Philly’s most crime-ridden district gets 30 new cops
WHYY NewsWorks: New online resource center aims to fill STEM mentorship gap in Philadelphia
WHYY NewsWorks: Another candidate in Philadelphia mayor’s race
WHYY NewsWorks: A GOP House leader now backs medical marijuana in Pa.
WHYY NewsWorks: Strouse campaign responds to report labeling Rep. Fitzpatrick’s seat ‘safe’
KYW Newsradio: Phila. City Council Explores Status of VA Health Care Reforms

Pottstown Mercury: (UPDATED) Police: Rifle used to ambush Pennsylvania troopers
Pottstown Mercury: Maloney, Kessler slated for November rematch for House seat
Bucks County Courier Times: Governor vows capture of trooper’s killer
Bucks County Courier Times: Candidate amends financial report after state asks questions
Delco Daily Times: Commissioners, residents grill economist at hearing on Villanova expansion plans
Bucks Local News: Newtown company awarded $142.9 million contract for Turnpike/I-95 connector project in Bristol Township

Tribune Review: Gunman who shot two troopers used rifle, may have had training, officials say
Tribune Review: Education department attempts to block release of all emails to Tomalis
Tribune Review: Federal appeals court appeals sets rules for public corruption cases
Post-Gazette: Wolf promises increase in school funding in Canonsburg appearance
Post-Gazette: Immigration isn’t gaining any traction in midterm elections
Post-Gazette: State collaborates to integrate students into the workforce
Post-Gazette: Renewing health coverage may not be as easy as the government says
Post-Gazette: Teachers, parents applaud Pittsburgh’s decision to cut back on K-5 student testing

Beaver County Times: Former police chief pleads guilty to theft
Beaver County Times: Will Pittsburgh’s new police chief be able to restore trust in the department?
Observer-Reporter: Leaky walls, not fracking, taint water
Altoona Mirror: Governor vows capture of trooper’s killer
Altoona Mirror: Medical marijuana supporters stage Capitol rally

The Times Leader: State Liquor Control Board returns almost $2.4 million in licensing fees
The Times Leader: Wilkes-Barre Area renews minority hiring efforts
The Times Leader: Vets: Staffing key issue at local VA
The Times Leader: Unplanned shutdown problems at PPL nuclear plant near Berwick resolved, NRC says.
The Times Leader: Luzerne County Council Chairman Rick Morelli compelled to testify in divorce proceeding
Times-Tribune: Judge denies commuter tax hearing delay
Pocono Record: PPL ends its time-of-use electricity rates, will offer new plan
Pocono Record: Corbett tours state police barracks, makes brief statement at church
Pocono Record: State police say press conference to be held this afternoon

South Central
Carlisle Sentinel: Silver Spring Township accepts first parcel of land in land preservation program
The Patriot News:  Gov. Tom Corbett’s administration asks Pennsylvania court to block another Jerry Sandusky-related email request
The Patriot News: 11 applicants met Monday’s deadline to become harrisburg’s next city treasurer
York Daily Record: York neighborhood spruces up without tax dollars
Lancaster Intelligencer/Era: 12 days left in session, and legislators are checking their lists
Lebanon Daily News: Candidate in 104th to hold and and greet

Lehigh Valley
Capitol Ideas: Valley has housing shortage at top, bottom of income scale
Capitol Ideas: Bills letting PA teachers carry guns and NRA sue municipalities await Legislature
Express Times: Sgt. Bill Cahir bridge proposal reaches Pennsylvania lawmakers
WFMZ: Dent takes part in Transatlantic town hall
Morning Call: District to offer teachers a six-year contract

North by Northwest
Erie Times-News: Mr. Smith goes to Allegheny
Centre Daily Times: Bellefonte Borough Council OKs request to demolish former Army Reserve facility
Williamsport Sun Gazette: Legislative Tally

Express Times: LETTER: Roy Cho offers alternative in 5th District congressional race against U.S. Rep. Scott Garrett
Reading Eagle: Editorial: Board didn’t address if school allowed on Penn Square
Delco Daily Times: Editorial: Deceptive ads are no way to judge a candidate
Bucks County Courier Times: Polls paint bleak picture for Corbett
Post-Gazette: Toomey works against voters and hard working families
Post-Gazette: Allegheny County Council has made a “godless” decisions
Post-Gazette: Tax and spend shoe fits democrats
Tribune Review: Drilling laws, your rights
Altoona Mirror: City Council should keep water system
Altoona Mirror: “Kicking the can” giving our city a case of sore feet
Johnstown Tribune-Democrat: Water proposal will help, not hinder, farms
The Times Leader: Sen. John Blake urged to back bill eliminating school property taxes
The Times Leader: President Obama wrongly pins ‘inversion’ problem on CPAs rather than crummy tax code

Commonwealth Foundation: Is This What Democracy Looks Like?

PA-Gov: Auditor General to Investigate $48 Million in “Undisclosed Funds” Spent on HealthyPA

DePasqualeAuditor General, Eugene DePasquale, and his office announced their intent Monday to investigate the appropriation of $48 million spent on undisclosed activities relating to the Corbett Administration’s HealthyPA plan.

DePasquale will ask for copies of all itemized billing statements for all contracts associated with HealthyPA to discover how the Corbett Administration appropriated $48 million in federal and state funds for the HealthyPA roll out.

HealthyPA is Governor Corbett’s option to low-income Pennsylvanians to purchase health insurance from private carriers rather than the state government.

According to the Healthy PA website, Governor Corbett will not accept “Washington’s ‘one size fits all approach’ for the Commonwealth” and thus created HealthyPA as an alternative to the Medicaid expansion introduced under the Affordable Care Act.

Among the opponents of Corbett’s private Medicaid expansion plan are the SEIU.

“We applaud the efforts of Auditor General DePasquale to demand transparency and accountability from the Corbett Administration in its expenditure of taxpayer dollars,” said Neal Bisno, President of SEIU Healthcare Pennsylvania. “Despite facing a $1.5 billion budget shortfall, Governor Corbett doled out $48 million on undisclosed activities related to its Healthy PA program while refusing to simply expand Medicaid for hundreds of thousands of uninsured Pennsylvanians. Imagine what $48 million could have offered this past year for the hundreds of thousands of uninsured Pennsylvanians in the way of doctor visits, medications and life-saving care.”

Citing an article from Forbes, they assert that HealthyPA will cost more and require steep budgets cuts.

Meanwhile, Democratic nominee Tom Wolf has pledged to accept the original Medicaid expansion if elected Governor.

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.

SD-6: Tomlinson Touts “Independent Voice” in Debut Ad

Tommy TomlinsonState Senator Tommy Tomlinson (R-Bucks) released his first campaign commercial this weekend.

The Republican incumbent is seeking to distance himself from unpopular Governor Tom Corbett by declaring he “has always put people over partisan politics.”

The ad further differentiated him from Corbett in terms of policy as well.

“[Tomlinson] supported taxing big oil and gas companies for extracting pennsylvania’s natural gas,” the thirty-second spot states. “Tomlinson’s bill would use that money to help increase education dollars flowing directly into the classroom.”

Entitled People Before Politics, the ad was a response and dismissal of Rose’s first ad, which spoke of a Corbett-Tomlinson partnership.

Tomlinson, 68, has held the seat since 1995. He cruised to re-election by 16 points in 2010 and won by 7 points in the Democratic wave year of 2006.

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.

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