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HD-36: Candidates Spar on Transportation Bill


On Sunday night, state Reps. Harry Readshaw (D-Allegheny) and Erin Molchany (D-Allegheny) met at St. Marks Lutheran Church in Brookline, outside of the city of Pittsburgh, to debate issues surrounding HD-36.

Incumbent Readshaw, who is challenged by fellow incumbent Molchany, a first-term Rep. whose district was moved to Lehigh County, retained most of his former voting bloc in the redistricting and came into the debate as the favorite to win the seat for an 11th consecutive time

The debate covered a multitude of subjects, including strengthening public education, building infrastructure, and attracting business to the South Hills area of Pittsburgh — the area that HD-36 encompasses.

But plenty of the conversation surrounded the campaign controversy of Readshaw’s vote against Corbett’s transportation bill and Malchony’s support for the bill.

When asked about possible tax increases, Readshaw stated: “I wasn’t for the last tax increase. That was the second largest tax increase in the Commonwealth’s history,” he said, regarding the transportation bill “gas tax.”

What really broached the issue was the question, “What is one campaign issue that you feel has been misrepresented?” Readshaw was quick to answer.

“That’s rather easy for me: I’ve been accused of being a Republican,” he said.

The crowd responded in laughter at his quick response; many were waiting for the issue to be discussed.

“I have the Allegheny County Democratic endorsement and I have been accused of being a Republican.

“Let’s face facts, folks: I stood up to the Governor. I said, ‘No, you shouldn’t tax people more than they are already being taxed.’ There is another way to solve the problem. We have a golden opportunity with Marcellus Shale. You raise the severance tax and we can cover most of the transportation costs,” he said.

“Ladies and gentleman, look at my voting record. I am not a Republican.” The crowd responded with a roar of applause.

But Molchany was quick to defend her support of the transportation bill.

“I’m starting to wonder if I voted for the same transportation bill that my opponent did. Because I am being misrepresented in that regard,” she said, tying it back to the original question posed.

“When you think about the transportation bill that passed, we actually took away the twelve cent tax that you pay at the pump.We took that tax away and we put it on the oil and gas companies. We uncapped the oil franchise tax.”

Molchany added: “Another thing that has been a misconception is that the revenue garnered from uncapping the oil franchise tax can only pay for roads and bridges and highways. It does not pay for mass transit. By law, it cannot pay for mass transit,” Molchany said, refering to Readshaw’s first televised ad that claimed he “fought Governor Corbett’s massive gas tax that funds Philadelphia’s mass transit.”

Readshaw quickly rebuttled. “My argument is how we pay for [the transportation bill]. There was another means to pay for it.”

Molchany fired back. Citing the Post-Gazette, she said, “What is being described as an alternative tax is not realistic. I, too, believe that it would be great to find additonal revenue streams to apply to fund these things. But it’s not going to work. We have a Governor who refuses to seek out additional revenue sources through Marcellus Shale.

“We are not going to find the revenues that are being described under the current Corbett administration.”

Aside from the salient transportation issue, the two candidates showed their support for legalizing medical marijuana, shrinking the size of the Pennsylvania legislature, and bringing an end to the Highmark and UPMC feud that has plagued the city of Pittsburgh.

4 Responses

  1. Brookline stands very disrespected… “St. Marks Lutheran Church in Brookline, outside of the city of Pittsburgh” ????
    Sorry there Vince, Brookline is IN Pittsburgh.

    There are far more important topics to be discussed. Such as education, Erin boasts about being on the education committee yet she has done NOTHING to better the education system. No bills, no legislation, nothing. Harry submitted a bill for multiple pro-education items, such as neighborhood schools- people love them. The whole charter school debate would have never come about if our public schools were NOT failing our children. Our school children are not allowed to exercise and get no health education. Our school children have no arts, music, etc. Our children have no stress relief… come on education committee!!! Wake up!!!

    Erin might come across as nice, but she is under the power of some other politicians. One who wants to completely control the county (Brookline is part of that too Vince, lol).

    Nothing she has done has even affected the state on a state level. She worked with her girl on all city items or county items or, in fact, brought up federal laws that she is now passing off as her “new” ideas.

    She bring up things that Harry voted against for 20 years… ummm, she’s got nothing on her record because she has no stance, especially on women’s rights~! She is reinventing the wheel to be a wheel.

    Harry has stood with the most influential powerful wonderful mayors of the city (including Brookline) and the boroughs (not including Brookline) to make a wonderful city and surrounding areas. Talk about jobs, Erin, Harry supported the WATER FRONT and the SOUTH SIDE WORKS. Yet, she challenges Harry on jobs? Really? A man who would go to the local hardware stores before the big box store.
    He supports community events and parades, like the Carrick Halloween Parade, which was supported by the Carrick COMMUNITY Council. Which was destroyed by the current block watch people who, the former president of the CCC is rolling in his grave right now.
    He supports children, the scouts, etc, etc, etc.
    He also supports the SENIOR CITIZENS. Erin called Harry “old”, in fact “too old” to continue. Really? And she wants the senior votes?
    Erin has also stated Harry is against women. Against women? Erin surely does not have her facts straight there. Oh, but his voting record has a number of whatever on women’s rights. Clearly, very clearly, she is a failure to recognize the THOUSANDS OF TIMES he HAS SUPPORTED women items.

    It is all politics. A WOMAN I would never ever consider Erin. Mainly because she has no experience, she chooses to emphasize what she feels impacts the voters, she is not from Pgh, or even western PA. She has no voting record or no actual stance on anything that she was not TOLD to speak on by the MEN running the county and the city. She knows nothing about the boroughs that she will be representing.

    She feels that she can bring business into areas that are over run by section 8 housing and crime…. totally the CITY’s FAULT.

    Surly, whoever votes her in will be complaining that she is useless and only cares about the CITY leaving the boroughs to fend for themselves.

    Erin, you lack experience, self awareness, and the ability to think for yourself. You want a job. Being a legislator is not a “job” it is a commitment to the people. You are a vote of all people: unborn, born, men, women, straight, gay, working, non working, black, white, ALL people, ALL souls.

    Harry represents all realms of what we need representing us. We do not need ANOTHER politician siding only with those who TELL them what to do and not to do and how to think.

    PS. My sources say Erin lost the debate and they were rooting for her. W for Readshaw in Brookline.

  2. Brookline is part of the City of Pgh. Also Malchany there is no such place as South Pittsburgh. We do not live in Boston. We are not Southys. It is Pittsburgh and the South Hills. Maybe if you grew up her you would understand. Of course you didn’t even know the pens played last night. If you aren’t from here and don’t know the area how are you to represent us?

  3. Last time I checked Brookline was inside the City of Pittsburgh, not outside of it.

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