There are some interesting debates coming up. For those interested:
13th Congressional district:
April 7th, Abington Rockledge Democratic Committee is hosting a forum, to be held on the campus of Penn State Abington. Candidate Marjorie Margolies, who is spotted in public as often as Bigfoot, is rumored to be making a appearance. She has not attended previous debates. Other candidates expected: State Rep. Brendan Boyle, Dr. Valerie Arkoosh, and State Sen. Daylin Leach. Doors open at 6:30; the forum starts at 7:30 p.m.
8th Congressional district:
April 14th Democrats Kevin Strouse and Shaughnessy Naughton will debate from 7:00 to 9:00 at the Linconia Tabernacle Christian Center.
April 15th, the two will debate again, at high noon, at the Bristol campus of the Bucks County Community College
Monday, March 31, 2014
There are some interesting debates coming up. For those interested:
Thursday, March 27, 2014
from the inbox:
On Monday, March 31st, the White House will honor 10 community leaders who embody the spirit of Cesar E. Chavez’ legacy. Each of the Cesar Chavez Champions of Change have committed themselves to improving the lives of others in their communities and across the country. At the core, all of our honorees represent the values and steadfast determination of Cesar Chavez to organize ourselves for a more just tomorrow.
These recognitions are part of the Administration’s effort to celebrate Chavez’ extraordinary commitment to a lifetime of service. At a screening of the new feature film Cesar Chavez, President Obama reflected on Chavez’ legacy stating, “One of the great lessons of Cesar’s life (is) that you don’t give up the fight. No matter how long it takes, no matter how long the odds, you keep going, fueled by a simple creed – si se puede.” As part of the Administration-wide effort to celebrate Cesar Chavez Day, President Obama signed a presidential proclamation calling on all Americans to recognize the birth of one of America’s greatest champions of social justice by engaging in service.
During the Champions of Change event, White House officials will recognize the Champions’ hard work and lead a discussion about how to advance, expand and develop resources and partnerships that will continue to improve the lives of all Americas, including Latinos.
The Champions of Change program was created as an opportunity for the White House to feature individuals doing extraordinary things to empower and inspire members of their communities.
The event will be moderated by Lisa Garcia Quiroz, Chief Diversity Officer and Senior Vice President of Corporate Responsibility at Time Warner Inc., and Marco Davis, Deputy Director of the White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for Hispanics. The event is closed to press but will be live streamed on the White House website. To watch this event live, visitwww.whitehouse.gov/live at 10:00 AM ET on March 31st. To learn more about the White House Champions of Change program and nominate a Champion, visit www.whitehouse.gov/champions.
Helen Gym, Board Member, Asian Americans UnitedPhiladelphia, PA
Helen Gym is a community and education leader whose work across different organizations supports the right to a quality public education for all children. A former school teacher and journalist, she leads the board of Asian Americans United, a 28-year old organization serving Philadelphia’s diverse Asian American and immigrant communities. At AAU, she has organized against predatory gambling and led a campaign to address human rights issues in immigration and deportation practices. She helped found a Chinatown-based charter school serving many immigrant families and anchored a successful federal civil rights case focused on the responsibility of adults to create safe school environments free from bias and harassment. She is a co-founder of Parents United for Public Education, a citywide parent group that has successfully advocated for millions of dollars in new revenue for Philadelphia public schools. She is a frequent writer and contributor in local media circles; helped establish the city’s independent education newspaper, the Philadelphia Public School Notebook, as its first full-time editor; and is currently on the editorial board of Rethinking Schools, a social justice teaching journal.
Tuesday, March 25, 2014
from the inbox:
Today as the Supreme Court hears oral arguments in Sebelius v. Hobby Lobby Stores, Inc. and Conestoga Wood Specialties v. Sebelius, Family Planning Council joins the National Family Planning & Reproductive Health Association, thousands of other organizations, and millions of advocates in voicing strong support for the contraceptive coverage requirement. The requirement, enacted in 2010 as a part of the Affordable Care Act’s (ACA) preventive health benefit for women, gives millions of women nationwide access to contraceptive coverage with no co-pay.
Under the preventive health benefit, more than 27 million women with commercial insurance have access to contraceptive coverage and counseling, well-woman visits, and preventive health screenings at no extra cost to them, eliminating the well-documented barrier of cost to accessing preventive care. This coverage helpsFamily Planning Council providers, including safety-net health centers, continue their mission-driven work to provide care to those in need.
For the last 40 years, Family Planning Council has been proud to support a network of providers delivering high-quality, health services in the five-county region in Southeastern Pennsylvania. In 2013, over 85% of the patients seen at Family Planning Council provider health centers were at or below 200% of the federal poverty line. The contraceptive coverage requirement means many of those patients can now use contraception consistently, resulting in fewer unintended pregnancies.
“The ACA’s contraceptive coverage requirement is one of the most significant advances in women’s health in a generation,” said Melissa Weiler Gerber, Executive Director of Family Planning Council. “It has already enabled many more women in our community and millions across the country to access affordable contraception and other life-saving preventive care.”
Contraception is basic health care for women and has strong support from the American public. It is not just well-established, basic healthcare but it is also supported by long-standing federal laws and policies. What’s more, 99% of U.S. women have used a type of contraception in their lifetime, 89% of US adults find contraception morally acceptable, and 81% of the public supports publicly funded family planning for poor and low-income individuals.
“A decision by the Supreme Court to uphold the contraceptive coverage requirement would be the right thing for all women, regardless of their insurance status. Ensuring all women have access to basic health care is sound public health policy and good for women, families and communities across the nation.” said Weiler Gerber.
For those for whom the post title is gibberish, let me spell it out:
George R R Martin has released or read four sample chapters from the forthcoming Winds of Winter, the next book in his Game of Thrones series. He announced today that he will be posting another chapter on his website soon. So watch www.georgerrmartin.com for the new freebie. Westeros.org has been afire with theories and guestimates on which point of view the chapter will have.
So, we wait, on the edge of our collective chairs ....
Monday, March 24, 2014
On Monday, March 24, 2014, Jared Solomon, candidate for State Representative in Pennsylvania’s 202ndDistrict, unveiled his plan to assist seniors living in the Northeast.
“The Northeast has long been a great place to retire and I want to keep it that way,” said Jared Solomon. “I have already laid out plans for some of the major issues like reducing crime and improving our commercial corridors, and there are additional issues specific to our seniors that need to be addressed. I intend to be a Representative who will take action for our neighbors, and that begins with our seniors.”
Lower Property Taxes
While some programs like LOOP assist in lowering property taxes for a select few, I believe we must ultimately keep taxes in check for all of our longtime property owners. Right now, most changes to the tax code need to go through Harrisburg, which is why tax reform can take so long. When I go to Harrisburg, I will go with the clear purpose of helping put more money in the hands of our residents-- and less in the greedy legislators' pockets.
Keep Medicare and Medicaid intact
While Medicare and Medicaid are federal programs, the state administers how many of the benefits are allocated. In Harrisburg, I’ll fight against Republican efforts to effectively “voucher” our health system instead of providing the necessary services. I will also fight to keep our local healthcare providers going strong, and make sure locations like the 10th District Health Center and Jeanes Hospital are getting the necessary resources from government.
In February, I unveiled a plan to tackle crime both locally and citywide. Reducing crime in the Northeast is a priority of all of our residents, but it is of particular importance to our vulnerable senior population. In addition to the issues identified in the crime plan, I will work in Harrisburg to strengthen our elder abuse laws create a local task force to assist seniors with quality-of-life issues.
Last year, SEPTA’s CCT Connect (aka ParaTransit) provided nearly 2 million rides to senior and disabled residents. Why some legislators from the far right have attempted cut transportation funding, this subsidy is vital to keeping our seniors safe and mobile. As a legislator, I’ll work across the aisle to secure this funding and collaborate with healthcare providers locally to create better access to doctor’s offices, so we can reduce any misuse of our first responders.
Planning for retirement should begin long before reaching age 65. As a State Representative, I will host regular retirement planning seminars to encourage our residents to plan ahead. The Philadelphia region is a center for many retirement planning companies whose knowledge and expertise can be capitalized on to assist our residents.
from the inbox:
March 20th, 2014 - On Thursday, the National Organization for Women (NOW) announced their endorsement of Billy Smith's campaign for State House. NOW is at the forefront of supporting and protecting women's rights across Pennsylvania. "Pennsylvania NOW endorses the candidates we know will fight for the women of the Commonwealth every time. In this race, that's Billy Smith." The only candidates that NOW considers are feminist leaders and strong supporters of women's rights issues. "I am humbled by the support of the National Organization of Women. As the son of a single mother, who was also raised with the help of my single grandmother, I am keenly aware of the struggles and gains that women have endured and made to attain gender equality. I am forever in debt to the amazing women in my life for helping me become the man that I am today. I've always stood with women and will continue to do so as a member of Pennsylvania state legislature." This is a tremendous development for the Smith campaign; NOW rarely endorses men over women and only does so when the male candidate is far and away more progressive on women's rights issues. With the endorsement of NOW, Margo Davidson must begin to answer the question: Why are women abandoning her campaign? The next two months will continue to show a complete erosion of women support for Margo Davidson's campaign; her hostile votes to close abortion clinics and drain money from public schools have alienated progressive women in the 164th and has resulted in a surge of support for Billy Smith from progressive women's organizations who recognize his unequivocal commitment to women's rights.
On Friday, February 28th, the Pennsylvania Progressive Summit hosted a debate for the Democratic candidates for governor. I wasn't there in person but taped the debate as it was broadcast on PCN. Later I watched it and took rough notes. This is not intended as a formal transcript -- it is just notes I took while watching. Interested readers should visit the candidates' websites and investigate further on their own.
Slate.com posted an interesting article relating to women's health this week.
"Hobby Lobby wants to stop doctors from talking to its employees about contraception," by Amanda Marcotte (3/20) makes some good points about the Hobby Lobby case the Supreme Court will hear. Here's one objection in a nutshell:
If Hobby Lobby has its way, by merely acknowledging the birth control pill during that appointment, your doctor would render your entire visit ineligible for coverage by your health care plan.
Scary stuff. I don't think we want employers deciding what our doctors can say to us.
Wednesday, March 19, 2014
from the inbox:
West Norriton Commissioner David McKenzie today announced his candidacy to represent Montgomery County’s 150th House District.
Having focused on creating jobs, passing a balanced budget, and advocating for hard working families while serving as Commissioner, McKenzie wants to use his experience to address the failed leadership coming out of the Capitol.
“Throughout my career I have been a passionate advocate,” McKenzie said, “whether fighting on behalf of victims of crime, giving a voice to those canine souls forced to live in the deplorable conditions of puppy mills or working hard for the citizens of West Norriton. Governor Corbett and the state legislature have failed Pennsylvania and it’s time for a change. We need proactive state legislators who work to create real jobs, invest in education, protect women’s rights and promote sensible solutions to address the Marcellus Shale situation. I will serve the constituents of the 150th with the same passion for advocacy I have brought to West Norriton and that I displayed during my time as a prosecutor.”
McKenzie recently received the unanimous endorsement of the Montgomery County Democratic Committee. “David is a wonderful candidate and we look forward to supporting his campaign to win the 150th House District,” said Chairman Marcel Groen. “He is hard-working, dedicated, and compassionate,” Groen added.
McKenzie founded and is the owner of the McKenzie Law Firm, P.C., based in Fairview Village. His legal career began as a Deputy District Attorney at the Dauphin County District Attorney’s Office following his graduation from law school. During his tenure McKenzie’s special assignment was the Juvenile Section where he witnessed first-hand how positive reinforcement and quality education could change the direction of a child’s life.
In 2008 McKenzie joined the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture serving as Assistant Counsel. Following the passage of the Rendell Administration’s historic Pennsylvania Dog Law, McKenzie was tapped to become the lead prosecutor of violations committed under that law, fighting Pennsylvania’s notorious puppy mills.
McKenzie holds a Bachelor of Arts from Franklin & Marshall College and received his Juris Doctorate from the Dickinson School of Law. He is married to his college sweetheart Chrissy, and they live in West Norriton with their 2-year-old son.
from the inbox:
2014 GORE-TEX® Philadelphia Marathon Race Weekend
Date: November 21st- 23rd, 2014Location: Benjamin Franklin ParkwayRanked as a top 10 marathon nationally, the GORE-TEX® Philadelphia Marathon continues to grow impressively each year - now hosting 30,000 runners and 60,000 spectators throughout Race Weekend. The annual race attracts everyone from casual runners to world-class athletes, and boasts one of the fastest and most attractive courses in the country. Race Weekend events include: the Health & Fitness Expo at the Pennsylvania Convention Center (11/21 & 11/22), Rothman Institute 8K (11/22), Kids Fun Run (11/22), and GORE-TEX® Philadelphia Marathon and Half Marathon (11/23). For more information on the GORE-TEX® Philadelphia Marathon and related events, visit www.philadelphiamarathon.com, “Like” our page on Facebook (www.facebook.com/PhiladelphiaMarathon) and follow us on Twitter and Instagram (@philly_marathon).
from the inbox:
Planned Parenthood Pennsylvania PAC announces its endorsement of Billy Smith in the race for House District 164. The Planned Parenthood Pennsylvania PAC is the electoral arm of Planned Parenthood in Pennsylvania.
“The Planned Parenthood Pennsylvania PAC is thrilled to announce its endorsement of Billy Smith for Representative,” said Sari Stevens, Executive Director of Planned Parenthood Pennsylvania Advocates and PAC. “Billy is a strong advocate for women’s health and rights, and will fight for women’s access to birth control, preventive health care, and reproductive rights in the Legislature.”
The Pennsylvania legislature continues to introduce legislation that threatens Pennsylvanian women’s access to healthcare. A true advocate in the 164th House District in Pennsylvania would help to ensure that women continue to have access to a full range of reproductive health services, including abortion services.
“We are extremely disappointed by current 164th District Representative Margo Davidson’s votes on SB 732 and HB 818,” said Stevens. “We have faced unprecedented attacks here in Pennsylvania straight out of the Tea Party playbook, and Representative Davidson voted for two such attacks that are now law in Pennsylvania after being an endorsed candidate in 2010.” SB 732 became Act 122, forcing all surgical abortion providers to become Ambulatory Surgical Facilities (ASFs), limiting access to safe, legal abortion in Pennsylvania, and causing facilities to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars for no reason related to improving patient safety. HB 818 became Act 13, banning individuals from purchasing insurance coverage of abortion services with their own private dollars through the new Health Care Exchanges, even in a medical emergency.
“Given the relentless attacks we continue to see, it is clear that we need true advocates for women’s health in Harrisburg, and we are confident that Billy is exactly the kind of candidate we need.” said Stevens.
Thursday, March 13, 2014
On Thursday, March 13th - progressive champion and Philadelphia District Attorney Seth Williams endorsed Billy Smith for State Representative in Pennsylvania's 164th District.
"We need true progressives in the Pennsylvania legislature who will stand up and be champions for what’s right," said Philadelphia District Attorney. “I had the privilege of supervising Mr. Smith when he was a prosecutor in Philadelphia and I know he will take that commitment to excellence and justice to Harrisburg as he fights for Delaware County.”
Williams noted the importance of electing strong leaders who will fight Governor Corbett's extreme agenda and have a vision for the future of Pennsylvania. "Progressive values are under attack in Harrisburg, and if we are going to protect and advance equality, protect people from crime, we must elect authentic leaders like Billy Smith to the State House," said Williams.
Smith spoke about the importance of District Attorney Seth Williams support. "Seth Williams commitment to progressive values and making our city and region safe is something I admire. Having worked for Seth Williams as an Assistant District Attorney, it means a great deal to have the District Attorney on board. His support and the support of my neighbors in the 164th district will help send another true progressive to Harrisburg to fight Tom Corbett's extreme agenda and get Pennsylvania back on the right track."
District Attorney Seth Williams endorsement of Billy Smith follows the endorsement of Representative Brian Sims, both of whose support is expected to boost Smith’s already impressive fundraising by headlining events. Billy Smith has also received the endorsement of PSEA, Upper Darby Democratic Committee Chairman Ed Bradley, Lansdowne Mayor Tony Campuzano and former Lansdowne Mayor Jayne Young.
from the inbox:
Stem Cell scientist Raj Kittappa, whose research discoveries are being used around the world as the building blocks to create a cure for Parkinson’s disease, announced that he has filed the necessary nominating petitions to seek the Democratic nod for Congress in Pennsylvania’s 16th Congressional District.
“Our region of Pennsylvania can become the new frontier for discovery and innovation in this country. I’m running for Congress because the 16th District deserves a leader who represents those same qualities and can be the non-partisan problem solver we need,” he said.
Kittappa is running for Pennsylvania’s 16th congressional district against current Congressman Joe Pitts. Kittappa said Pitts’s votes for the shutdown of the federal government and having one of the most partisan voting records in the state prove, “Congressman Pitts is out of touch with Pennsylvanians and what they expect from their elected officials – common sense solutions to pressing problems like improving schools, creating jobs, and protecting retirement security. As a scientist, I focus on solutions.”
Kittappa, whose parents are Indian and came to the region in the 1960’s, is a graduate of Lancaster Country Day School, where he was an academic standout. Driven by memories of his grandmother’s long battle with Parkinson’s disease, Kittappa went into the biomedical sciences, doing lab work in the nearby Franklin & Marshall College while still in high-school and then graduating from the University of Pennsylvania with a degree in biology.
Later, after graduating from Princeton University with a PhD in Molecular Biology, Raj Kittappa went to work for the National Institutes of Health (NIH). It was there that he was able to isolate the origins of the dopamine generating cells in the brain that are lost to Parkinson’s. That new discovery, hitherto unknown by medical science, is being used by scientists around the world as they attempt to cure the disease. Kittappa has aided in that effort, most recently working at University of Cambridge, developing a patent for an embryonic stem cell process for regenerating brain cells.
In 2013, Kittappa returned to Lancaster County intent on creating a company around that patent, but was outraged to find the federal government shutdown had damaged vital medical research in the country. It is what motivated him to run, as he says “Even one day lost in the fight to cure diseases like the one that afflicted my grandmother is one day too many. Tea Party extremists in Congress cannot be allowed to hold hostage the physical health of our families nor the financial health of the middle-class who rely on schools, jobs, and secure retirement to better their lives.”
The 16th District covers parts of Chester and Berks counties, and almost all of Lancaster County which is home to approximately 70% of registered voters in the district. The Cook Report ranks the district as R+4, and an October 2013 poll of the district by Public Policy Polling showed a generic Democratic opponent leading Joe Pitts 44-40% and leading Joe Pitts 48-42% after hearing about Pitt’s votes for the federal government shutdown.Raj Kittappa will be officially launching his campaign in the coming weeks.