5/31 Ups & Downs
You can always count on lawmakers to keep things interesting. See who made this week’s Ups & Downs in addition to Jess White.
Jesse White. This was surreal. After an expose by KDKA, the Washington County Democrat admitted this week that he repeatedly and anonymously engaged online with supporters of shale gas drilling, including some foul language directed at constituents. Here’s a shorter version of his lame apology: Dear earnest constituent/grandmother, I don’t regret anonymous online smear tactics and attacks, but I’m sorry I mistook you for someone who is disingenuous. White has a tough 2014 cycle to look forward to. In the mean time, he can expect his colleagues to give him about as much credence as the give Tarah Toohil on drug issues.
Pat Toomey. If you haven’t been watching local news in southeast Pa. this week, you might have missed a full court press by the Senator to save Sarah. The 10-year old Delaware County girl is in dire need of a lung transplant, but is unlikely to get one under a federal rule that says only patients 12 and up can receive organs from adult donors. Her doctors say Sarah could survive with an adult’s lung, and Toomey is on a high-profile media push to pressure HHS Sec. Sebelius into making an exception. It’s far from his wonky wheelhouse, but human interest concerns count in politics – as Toomey learned in 2004.
Dan Miller. Congratulations, the Harrisburg City Controller won the mayoral nomination! The down side? He won the GOP write-in vote. If he decides to run he’ll face Eric Papenfuse, who defeated Miller and Mayor Linda Thompson last week in the Democratic primary, and Nevin Mindlin, an independent perennial candidate. He faces a tough choice, but his indecision since he won the write in 7 days ago is unflattering.
Scranton GOP. Speaking of indecisive Republican mayoral candidates, the Electric City may be down to a default coronation of Democrat Bill Courtright. Financial consultant Gary Lewis, the GOP nominee, is openly equivocating about whether he’ll bother to run.
Pension reform. If you were holding your breath for pension reform by the June 30 budget deadline, you might want to exhale slowly. It’s not happening. Liquor and transportation? Maybe. But pensions, no way. This week the House GOP released their version of the budget, which notably omitted plans for pensions (and liquor), saying they wanted to build projections on current law. Luckily, experts agree that can-kicking is the politically safest approach to Pa.’s pension problems.
Tweet of the week: Randy LoBasso. Warning: the Philadelphia Weekly scribe’s tweet is rated PG-13.