Sunday, October 22, 2006

A Morning in Upper Dublin

I was able to get out and about some this weekend. This is the first of two planned reports on political events I attended.

A group in Upper Dublin hosted one of those multi-candidate events that I like so much. The governor was expected so I didn’t rush to get there on time and, sure enough, it kicked off about 40 minutes late. We did get underway with a bang, singing “God Bless America,” led a cappella by a gentleman with a beautiful voice.

The president of the Upper Dublin Township Board of Commissioners, Bob Pesavento, introduced his fellow commissioners Jules Mermelstein and Ann Thornburg Weiss, as well as the president of the school board Joe Chmielewski.

State Rep Josh Shapiro (D-153) took the podium next and introduced Abington Township Commissioner Lori Schrieber, former commissioner Greg Holt, Aleta Ostrander of the Hatboro borough council, Norm Hawkes, mayor of Hatboro, and former congressman Joe Hoeffel, amiable as always. Shapiro also acknowledged the support of labor organizations and recognized representatives of the carpenters and teachers unions in the crowd.

He then introduced the next speaker, Rick Taylor, Democratic candidate for the 151st state house district, whom he described as having a heart of gold. Taylor spoke briefly, saying government is about the representation of people. As the son of a single mother he said he took advantage of educational and other opportunities to better himself and is now in a position to give back. [blogger’s note: Taylor was interviewed on this blog this summer. As a personal aside I agree with Shapiro’s description; Taylor does have a heart of gold.]

Olivia Brady, Democratic candidate for the 150th district, served on the Norristown Council for 5 years. She fought corruption and put more cops on the street. She said people were tired of arrogance and disdain from politicians.

Jeff Albert was introduced but did not have a chance to speak. He is running against incumbent Republican Stewart Greenleaf for the 12th state senate seat. [blogger's note: Albert was interviewed on this blog here.]

Mike Paston, Democratic candidate for the 152nd state house district took the microphone next. He told a wonderful story of the first time he met now Gov. Ed Rendell. He said at that time Rendell was not in office, but working in private practice as a lawyer. They were both involved in an organization called Philly Kids Play It Safe. Michael talked about how involved Rendell was, often hosting board meetings at his law office. A few years later, when Rendell was mayor of Philadelphia and Paston was living in Mt. Laurel, NJ (a very Republican area) he invited Rendell to come to a meeting, which he did. Paston pointed out that Rendell was willing to give his time to people who couldn’t vote for him. He mentioned that a high school near where today’s event was held was busy this morning as students were taking the PSATs. He said many kids in the state don’t take the PSATs because they don’t think they can afford college or didn’t get the support they needed in school. [blogger’s note: Paston was interviewed on this blog earlier this year.]

State Rep. Mike Gerber (D-148) was up next. He called the Democratic Party the party of personal accountability and fiscal responsibility and said the Democrats had always cared about education [and other things I didn’t catch]. In closing he mentioned a list of people running for office, most of them there in person. One exception was Netta Young Hughes, Democratic candidate for 70th district state house seat.

Governor Rendell spoke about some of the successes of his administration. One is the Advanced Energy Portfolio Standards (info here, here, and here), another is Pennsylvania’s place as the top state in the country in new business investments both domestic and foreign. A priority for the future is offering health coverage for every child in the state. The governor said it would be terrible for a parent to be told that a child had pediatric leukemia which could be cured with treatment but since the family had no health insurance the child couldn’t be treated. [I’m hoping this is a hypothetical situation.]

As the festivities were winding down a number of people took off to get home in time for the Penn State game; I left when they did. If anything interesting happened afterwards I missed it.


Cark Kent said...

It was a wonderful event with many great, excited people. Too bad the news organizations didn't find it worthy enough to even show up.

AboveAvgJane said...

Supes, did you lose an "l"?

If you were there, please feel free to add anything you think I may have missed.

There were a lot of things going on this weekend, and the event didn't last that long so the press may have had the weekend reporters elsewhere.