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Boyle and Fleck Named Legislators to Watch

Boyle FleckState Reps. Brendan Boyle (D-Phila.) and Mike Fleck (R-Huntingdon) are set to have a happy new year, at least according to Governing Magazine. The periodical dedicated to state and local governments named both men to their list of 12 state legislators to watch out for in 2014.

“This list in particular includes legislators who have shown a keen ability to strike alliances across party lines, or who have racked up significant accomplishments during their time in office so far,” Louis Jacobson, the author of the list explained. “Each of these lawmakers has a compelling personal story that informs the way he or she governs.”

The two State Reps. are opposites in many ways. Boyle represents a part of Philadelphia, is a big backer of labor unions and earned a master’s degree from Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government. Fleck, meanwhile, represents a rural district outside of Harrisburg, is a strong defender of agricultural interests and graduated from Liberty University.

Both men, however, have made names for themselves outside of their district. Boyle is running for Congress in the 13th District while Fleck received notoriety when he came out as gay last year. Pennsylvania was the only state to receive more than one entry on the list.

Here is what Governing wrote about Boyle:

Boyle, elected to the House in 2008, grew up in a Philadelphia row house as the son of a crossing guard and a maintenance custodian who emigrated from Ireland at 19. Boyle, the first in his family to attend college, earned an undergraduate degree from the University of Notre Dame, where he also worked as a sportscaster. He later earned a master’s degree from Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government and worked as a management consultant for the Naval Sea Systems Command and the Military Sealift Command. In the state House, Boyle has styled himself a champion of labor unions. Last August, he gained attention for a bill that would give free tuition at state universities in exchange for a share of future earnings. Boyle has served as chairman of the House Democratic Campaign Committee and recently threw his hat into the ring for a competitive 2014 primary for the U.S. House seat being vacated by gubernatorial candidate Allyson Schwartz. Boyle’s brother, Kevin, also serves in the state House from a neighboring district.

And here is what the magazine wrote about Fleck:

Fleck was first elected to the state House in 2006 from a rural, conservative district west of Harrisburg. An Eagle Scout and later a Boy Scouts official, Fleck earned a bachelor’s degree from Liberty University. His family has farmed and hunted in the district for generations. He’s focused on agriculture and tourism, and has secured bipartisan support for efforts to prohibit privatizing health services at state correctional facilities (his district includes two of them). He has also been very active in seeking to increase oversight of publicly funded charter schools. In 2012, he made headlines when he announced he was gay. After being easily re-elected multiple times, Fleck is now facing primary opposition. “Coming out is hard enough, but doing it in the public eye is definitely something I never anticipated,” he told the Huntingdon Daily News.

This is the second list of state legislators to watch that the magazine has written so far. The 2012 list correctly predicted that Texas State Rep. Wendy Davis, who became famous for her filibuster of an abortion bill this year, was a future political star in the making.

7 Responses

  1. “Save Our Schools” – what bad charter schools are you referring to? NE Philly has according to Philadelphia Magazine the best charter school in the region along with several other excellent ones. The reality of the matter is that NE Philly families line up to get their sons and daughters in charters and out of the hideous schools.

  2. Explain to me what Boyle (or his brother) have done or plan to do to close down the failing charters in and around his district and hold themselves accountable to children rather than donors, and then maybe we’re starting to have a conversation about someone who isn’t a complete hack.

    Until then, he’s a hack.

  3. Guys like Sean Kitchen never allows the facts to get in the way of their arguments. Labeling either of the Boyles as machine hacks is utterly ignorant of recent political history in Philly. It is near universally known in political circles that the Boyles took on the machine leaders like John Sabatina and won.

  4. Steve from Philly-
    I don’t believe that Sean Kitchen is a pseudonym as you (hypocritically) claim.

    There are 3 registered voters in PA with that name. Each in a different county around Philly.

    I post under my name. And Robert posted under his name.

    So, the only anonymous hack here is YOU.

    I’ve met Brendan. He seems like a nice guy. He seems to be doing well in the race (though I haven’t seen any recent polls). He’s got the backing of “the machine”.

    I hope that if he is elected, he disappoints them by being his own man instead of producing whatever kickbacks “the machine” expects from their candidate.

    I’m no fan of Johnny Doc and his style. I’m more of a grassroots guy, than a political strongman guy.

  5. @Sean Kitchen

    Whatever he is or will be, I’m sure there’s some measure of comfort in being more than a few rungs above the anonymous hack who lobs crap from the cheap seats on websites from behind the safety of a pseudonym and keyboard. But then again I’m sure that you’d be willing to talk that way if Doc and Boyle were standing in front of you, right?

  6. Boyle [and his staff-man, Nick] helped efforts to pass a mandatory Holocaust Education Bill; it is anticipated that it will ping-pong back to the House after the Senate version [now c/w BB’s Amendment, which had failed 99-99] is adopted [as amended by the Appropriations Committee].

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