Thursday, October 28, 2010

Nagle Interviews Walt Waite

I watched a you tube video of an interview John Nagle of Radnor had with Walt Waite, who is the Democratic candidate for the open 161st state house district seat. There were two 30 minute videos. Both are presented here but if questions were asked on both interviews I included new material into the first time it was asked and deleted in the second part.

As always, these are rough notes and I apologize in advance for any errors or misconceptions. Voters in the 151st are strongly encouraged to watch the video for themselves.

blogger’s note: I have met Walt a few times. He is quiet and low key but very personable, smart, and impressive.

Meet the candidate
Walt Waite, 161st
John Nagle, host

JN: welcome

WW: my pleasure. we've knocked on 8k doors at this point. I've lived in Ridley for the last 50 years, lived in Philly until 15, went to Ridley high school, graduated in 1965, joined Navy, off to see the world. 2 years in active duty. went around the world, visited 30 diff countries, 2 diff wars (Viet Nam, Middle East) during that time. navy taught me hard work, discipline, loyalty sacrifice. took the helm of the navy's newest aircraft carrier. scary and exciting. responsible for 5k lives. it was a tremendous experience. one of the things I learned at age 19, there is no better place in the world than right here. saw what people had to deal with in other countries. wish everyone could experience this.

jn: its a shame more Americans don't travel. our democracy is such a beautiful thing.

ww: that’s what makes me feel so honored to run for this seat. we've been working hard. knocked on doors, make phone calls, attend events, get to meet people. finding out what concerns people, what issues. that's what we've been doing this for 13 months. lost 18 pounds in the process.

jn: Joe Sestak is running for senate, which freed up his congressional seat. Bryan Lentz is running for congress which frees up his state house seat, which you are running for. Those are big shoes to fill.

ww: we've already compared and his shoes are only slightly bigger than mine but you are right the bar is high. he's done such an exceptional job in Harrisburg. My issues similar to his. no 1 issue is jobs. in the 161st we are blessed with small business. working with small business owners, finding out their concerns, expand and prosper. no 1 concern will put all my energy into that. work our way out of the recession.

jn: 161st very gerrymandered

ww: [description of district] many school districts, education is a priority, funding. the lower funding from state, the more school taxes we have to pay. I also want to make sure the funding reaches to pre-k. it's been proven time and time again when we start education early and offer best education possible we save money on the other end -- jails and court systems. Give young people best opportunity possible.

jn: someone said 4 years at penn state costs a lot less than 4 years at the state penn. poorer school districts challenged

ww: important we provide everyone with this opportunity. make sure money spent wisely and in programs that are actually working. right below jobs this is top priority.

jn: Harrisburg able to work in house in bipartisan fashion. you are interested in this?

ww: absolutely. we've been working with local state house candidates. we're all on the same page on this issue. talk to freshman class when go up for training. work with everyone. have attitude we all have to work together. see so many politicians blaming everyone but themselves. it's everyone's fault. we have to work together. learned teamwork in military. you don't take an aircraft carrier anywhere without teamwork, no matter what level you are, everyone works together and does what they have to do. fix problem now. if you wait will take longer and cost more.

jn: I was in the military same time you were. all this talk about dadt. there were gays back then. no one cared.

ww: we knew there were gay men on the ship, 2 in my particular division. it didn't get in the way of anything. everyone did their jobs well.

jn; local candidates

ww: Greg Vitali, Bill Adolph, Thaddeus Kirkland, Shannon Meehan, Margo Davidson. these are all people who've impressed me. first time candidates encourage each other.

jn: Radnor has 3 reps, Vitali, Adolph, work together, put Adolph sign on my lawn, took heat since he is a Republican and I am a Democrat. you could easily step in to Bryan's office

ww: we have no manufacturing in the district, in Delaware County but not district.

jn: where to meet you?

ww:, events listed, debate coming up. we're working hard to get this done. interview tomorrow with Delaware County Times. knocking on doors, everyone should do it at least once. people happy to see a candidate come to their door, interested in what they are thinking. works very well. Vitali out whether there is an election or not, hits his district throughout year. I can't represent people unless I know what they are thinking.

jn: marcellus shale, Harrisburg done nothing yet

ww: it's very disappointing. this is something I will be working hard to get into place. it's a resource that belongs to the people of PA. it is wrong to give it away free. Vitali introduced bill putting moratorium on leases of state forestland. still don't know what chemicals being used, who will repair land when they are gone. the leases already granted and drilling going on, have obligation to make sure process happens correctly, doesn't cause any damage. make sure land, water table, and local infrastructure taken care of.

jn: the League of Women Voters ran a forum on pipelines, statement that intrastate pipelines not regulated by anyone

ww: we saw what happened recently with explosion and now no one wants to fix it and take responsibility.

jn: local at coal mining areas, no money put aside for area to be repaired. sense of what will happen in Harrisburg?

ww: my sense is that senate will not do anything, only have a few days remaining. it is important that we pick this up again in January. house will have to re-pass bill. so important on so many different levels, protect environment, make sure gas and drilling companies hold up their end of the bargain. once extraction tax in place important to do the right things. that money in the budget won't solve all problems. but not having it is insult to people of PA.

jn: many looking to severance tax to bail us out of current problem not environmental issues, Department of Environmental Protection laying off

ww: DEP has been reduced considerably. leases granted done in such a hurry that dep wasn't able to catch up to get new regulations in place. all comes back to the environment. if we're going to allow companies to come in and take our resource we need to make sure env taken care of and people protected.

jn: work with fed / congress to close halliburton loophole

ww: yes, continue to have dialog with Bryan Lentz and Joe Sestak, keeping those doors open something I’m definitely going to do.

jn: watched how env regulations gutted under Bush administration, bad enough to leave kids debt but also environ issues

ww: every time I hear people talk about deregulation of everything my hair stands up on end.

jn: charter schools instead of fixing public schools

ww: you're not going to solve problems by throwing blanket on problem. look at details.

jn: minute left, anything you want to say

ww: retired property manager of large estate on main line. oversaw $3.5M renovations to property, look after boss’s money, making sure all details followed through, no corners cut, brought it in on time. my retirement was going to fall in middle of renovation, didn't feel good about that so stayed on and worked until the end. retired in June 2009. not too long after that ran into Bryan Lentz at clean energy summit in dc.


jn: [description of district], being vacated by bryan lentz who is running for congress.

ww: [bio, as above] navy served in middle east and Viet Nam, served on aircraft carrier America. spent a great deal of time at helm of that ship. returned last year as estate manger of large estate on main line, served on board of alumni of people who served on that ship. been on that board almost 11 years. after retired went down to dc for clean air summit, met Bryan Lentz, then to Princeton Univ for 2 day seminar on veterans running for office. taught me a lot. decided to run. I'm married, son and grandson and granddaughter.

jn: running for state house is a big job, counting on shoe leather?

ww: when I decided to run promised to commit 100% to this, talked to people to learn, Lentz, Vitali, what did they do to be successful, started knocking on doors last October, doing everything we possibly can to be successful on nov. 2.

jn: voter apathy high, how to get voters to polls

ww: turnout will determine outcome of races. very important we get as many people as possible to polls. hope that meeting them at their door will bring them out.

jn: what most important issue

ww: inter-related, extraction tax, drilling and gas companies answer questions on how process might damage state, funding public education, two state pension that have been unfunded for 9 years now, just kicked problem down the road. would like to see some marcellus money applied to two pensions initially to ease burden until we can find a solution. jobs issue -- many small business, work with them to give them the tools they need to be successful, meeting with owners and their associations, details of their individual situations, what things they think will solve the problems, prepared to work in that direction.

jn: what small businesses?

ww: good number of clean energy companies in the district, producing solar panels and the like, very interested in working with them, something I have been concerned with for some time now. remember hearing newscasters saying oil won't last forever and now here we are still taking baby steps.

jn: drilling companies don't hire local, move as a team, don’t bring in any jobs, except maybe eateries or hotel

ww: they should hire local. there are jobs within their operation that could be done by PA residents. for the drilling companies to bring own people in, level a large area of ground to set up operation and then walk way for us to clean up mess, isn't right way.

jn:: other small business issues

ww: one big question is in terms of hiring a new employee, they don’t know what the cost of that employees health care is going to be, reluctant to hire new employees, tax incentives to hire does help. it's going to take some nudging to banks to free up money we know is there but not being lent. get small business up and running and succeeding.

jn: small banks engine of this, local banks

ww: it's a situation where its hard to get this ball rolling. we all have to push to make this happen. we’ll all benefit.

jn: politics become so nonfunctional.

ww: my approach, navy taught me loyalty, hard work, dedication and teamwork. this isn't any different. worked with local candidates for state house. once i'm elected will work with freshman class to make sure everyone is of similar mind. don't pick one side of the aisle or the other. as an elected officials responsible to the people. job is to do what is best for people of our district and ultimately people of Pennsylvania. everyone has to work together to get that accomplished.

jn: house passed severance tax, senate hasn't, nothing will happen

ww: we have to get the politics out of it, to allow that not to be passed for another year almost an insult to the people of pa. something we’ve got to fix.

jn: familiar with Radnor twp

ww: in mid-90s wife went back to U Penn to get masters degree, I was home by myself at night so got a job with Radnor school district, worked with security dept, worked there almost 9 years, patrol district and make sure everything safe and secure, attend school board meetings, work with everyone from superintendent on down, became chief training officer, get to know the people and the job they are doing, administration, teachers, board member, everyone working hard for same goal, that all made it very clear to me how important public education is and why we must fund it and give younger people best possible opportunity

jn: Sestak says we aren't training people for new jobs, shipyard importing welders, vo-tech aspect. still need plumbers, electricians, etc.

ww: all the trades I've spoke with have long lists of people who are out of work, something we have to address, good hardworking people is what made us great, outsourcing jobs is something that has to be addressed. companies that outsource jobs are still receiving incentives for doing business in here in PA.

jn: graduates leaving

ww: there's a number of solutions, keeping well educated young people in pa, provide them with things like credits for tuition to remain here for a number of years,

jn: public health sector has done that. what businesses are viable for that?

ww: biggest businesses in Delaware County are Boeing and Crozier, get out young people out of college in involved in those businesses, get industries involved in education, getting them to all work together.

jn: group meetings, meet and greets, etc

ww: we've done then, meet with small business group in Brookhaven, have a lot of legitimate concerns, looking for answers. we had an event the other night for chamber of commerce, met with a lot of great people there. the big reward though is going to the doors, almost 8K doors at this point.

jn: crime a problem?

ww: I'm aware of the situation and this is one of the reasons I'm so focused on public education, when we start at pre-k, up and running and funded and running properly, a lot less expensive than to have to take care of problem at other end, prisons, and court systems, etc.

jn: amazed at chunks of funding in budget, great to shift money from prisons to education

ww: biggest part of state of budget are health care, prisons, and education

jn: crime goes up in recession

ww: going to the doors I hear so many stories about people who've been out of work for a year or more, good education had good jobs and now can't find a job. that's why its so important to run for office and when elected to work for people

jn: health care and coverage, malpractice

ww: make sure chip program are funded, attempt recently to reduce that would have taken 12K PA kids out of program, how do you tell parent you have to take their child out of the program.

jn: healthy child does better in school, and in job, all related

ww: building blocks of our society, continue to grow as a society if we just put those blocks in place and give our young people a great opportunity.

jn: many former generals and admirals are Republicans, but in military everyone gets their meals, etc. no one better than another, have rank but everyone has their duties

ww: I don’t know why that is, Sestak very impressive, not like this, very down to earth. I tell people Joe and I have something in common, we both used to play with aircraft carriers. not sure why so many officers going to GOP, but that's okay, the thing is our situation with economy and society, not so much letter behind person’s name but person themselves.

jn: current board in Radnor, every significant vote we've taken has been bipartisan. hope if people like you get to Harrisburg we can get rid of some of this partisanship

ww: hope we can get rid of some of this. I’m doing this, making some personal sacrifice, there are some things I'll lose in this process, lost 18 pounds, but that shows my commitment, I'm working very hard.

jn: thanks

ww: thanks

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