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August 6th Ups and Downs

The labor movement loses an influential leader, the Pennsylvania Lottery “hits the jackpot,” plus a new beer is released that pays homage to a memorable moment of the 2020 presidential election cycle. All of that and more are in this week’s Ups and Downs.

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Richard Trumka’s Legacy. The labor movement lost a titan this week. AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka, a southwest PA native, died on Thursday after a heart attack. He was 72 years old. Leaders from the commonwealth and beyond lauded Trumka’s impact on the labor community after word of his death was confirmed.  

PA Lottery. A new record high. PennLive reports that the Pennsylvania Lottery “hit the jackpot” with record profits of $1.3 billion in the 2020-21 fiscal year to “benefit programs that help senior citizens.”

Kevin Boyle. A jab from one Philly Democrat to another. Billy Penn reports that state Rep. Kevin Boyle sent out a tweet on late Sunday night criticizing a police reform bill that was introduced by Philadelphia City Councilman Isaiah Thomas. In the quickly deleted tweet, Boyle accused Thomas of playing the race card, being a “total fraud,” and being “probably the worst member of Philadelphia City Council.” Billy Penn reports that Thomas responded by calling the tweet “disappointing” but said it was not the first time that the two have “disagreed in over a decade of friendship and support.”

Jonathan Lovitz. An endorsement followed by controversy. Philly Clout reports that Lovitz, a prominent advocate for LGBTQ rights, was endorsed by the Washington Blade, which describes itself as “America’s LGBTQ news source,” for his bid for the state House’s 182nd District. Lovitz can chalk up the endorsement as a win, but his response to it has garnered pushback. Lovitz wrote in an email to supporters touting the endorsement and writing that it is “focusing on my proven experience, not just my identities,” while underlining the word “identities” even though the Blade did not do that. Some took that response as an unwarranted jab at Deja Alvarez, a trans latina and an LGBTQ Public Health Advocate who is also seeking the Democratic Party nomination for the seat.

PA State University Enrollment. Another year, another drop in enrollment. PennLive reports that “the leader of Pennsylvania’s state university system anticipates systemwide student enrollment will once again show a decline in the coming academic year.” This will be the 11th consecutive year of enrollment decline for state universities. 

Bryan Cutler. The Speaker’s motion was “largely denied,” in a lawsuit. LNP | LancasterOnline reports that “a Commonwealth Court judge this week largely denied a motion from Pennsylvania House Speaker Bryan Cutler to bar evidence of racial discrimination in the landmark school funding case involving the School District of Lancaster.”

Four Seasons Total Landscaping. Let’s have a toast to the 2020 election. The Philadelphia Inquirer reports that Four Seasons Total Landscaping, a Northeast Philly business that hosted “one of the most preposterous political press conferences in modern history” has teamed up with Funk Brewing and Philly Drinkers to release a beer called “Lawn Jawn.” The Inquirer notes that it is “believed to be the first craft beer created to commemorate a press conference at a landscaping business.”


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