Sunday, July 29, 2018

Katie Muth on "Two Broads Talking Politics" podcast

I just discovered a new podcast, Two Broads Talking Politics.  They have been interviewing some PA candidates in the last few months.  One of them was Katie Muth, who appeared on the June 25th, 2018 episode (episode 87).  Danielle Friel Otten was the other guest.  Each interview took about 20 minutes.  To post these notes in a more timely fashion I am doing one at a time.  Katie Muth was the first guest so this post is the notes from that segment.

As always, this is not intended to be a verbatim transcript.  These are just notes, and any errors are my own and should not, in any way, be attributed to the candidate.  I encourage everyone to listen to the podcast for themselves.

Hi, I’m Gary from Youngstown, Ohio and you are listening to Two Broads Talking Politics, two Midwestern moms talking about politics and activism with expert guests.

Hi everyone this is Kelly and today I’m here with Katie Muth who is running for PA state senate in district 44.  Can you tell us who you are and why you decided to run?

I grew up in Western PA, outside the suburbs of Pittsburgh. My mom’s family was from there. My dad’s family is from Latrobe nearby.  I grew up with humble means but I had great parents so we didn’t know any better.   Unfortunately, I lost my mom when I was 11.  She had a brain aneurysm so my brother and I were raised by a single dad.  One of the reasons I wanted to run is that most of the public resources that allowed my dad to raise us on a single income, like social security benefits, public schools, public libraries. We couldn’t afford cable tv so the public library was where we went for a reward.  I used planned parenthood.  My grandmom used Meals on Wheels and many of these public programs that help people get by or get to the next level are on the shopping block at the federal or state level.   I went to Penn State on student loans and Pell grants, as did my brother.  Penn State is a great school and my dad couldn’t afford it on a single income.  I got a degree in athletic training and sports medicine, as did my husband and that opened my eyes to gender barriers.  It is hard for a woman to get a job get a job with a high profile team or a job with health benefits.  My husband works in the same field and makes twice what I do.  I was the first female athletic training student to get an internship with the NFL and it wasn’t that long ago; this helped me realize the inequity.  Higher level sports operative like government, on power and money.  I worked on the Hilary Clinton campaign as a Fellow.  After the election I waited anxiously to see what would happen.  It came to this moment that you can’t wait for someone to save you.  It’s you.  I started an Indivisible group, which is doing a great job and still meets monthly.  I stepped up to run after meeting Art Haywood.  Met some great folks.  I realized you don’t have to be a lawyer; I have a masters degree in sports training.  My experience with health care.  Kids I knew in public schools, couldn’t afford to get knee replacements or even tennis shoes.  That’s why things are the way they are -- we have a government that it is a pay to play system.  To know that you come in to this, you come in to this as hard working middle class candidates, without a lot of money.  Pay to play.

Your opponent is the incumbent first elected in 2002 and has been in office a long time.  It looks like in recent cycles he’s won by large margins.  In primary you were running unopposed but you had nearly the same number of votes as the incumbent.

It is interesting, I had 123 fewer total votes than the incumbent.  The district is the most gerrymandered senate district in the state.  I have parts of three counties.  In Berks Count I only had three municipalities.  I only knocked on doors there one weekend.  After the primary we looked at the votes.  Everywhere we knocked on doors we had higher vote totals.  We pulled this together knowing we were coming after incumbents, that had been elected mostly in tea party years.  In 2010 and 2014 the Dem vote totals don’t look so hot.  In 2017 the district woke up and Democrats were elected in local seats, some of which had never elected Democrats before, row offices, my town of Royersford elected its first female mayor.  My Indivisible group had a lot of these candidates in our group.  We got out and knocked on doors and really got out the vote and now the district looks purple.  We called out a lot of these incumbents that just sit back and collect a paycheck.  I hope I am voted out if I don’t have anything to show for being in office; if you’ve been in office that long you should make a real impact.  Now we’re on our 4th weekend of persuasion campaigning.  People want this new energy and view government as ineffective.  It’s a movement not a one cycle thing.  I’m proud of this.  Of course it is going to be hard.  I’m 34 and short and small and people look at you and say “that’s so sweet, you’re running for office.”  It took a long time for everyone to take you seriously.  I’ve been doing this for a year, but people know who you are and it’s a people powered campaign.  I’m proud of all the people working to help get me and others elected.

Looks like you have a large number of strong endorsements.  What kinds of endorsements and what that means

I’ve been really lucky to earn this support, very grateful to have these endorsements.  Named a champion by Bold Progressives.  II went to candidate training last year.  Got a lot of advice.  When they named me a champion and went back this year.  Reinforced what I thought, run a people-powered campaign.  Endorsed by Planned Parenthood’s PAC, Run for Something, Equality PA [blogger’s note – this is not the entire list].   Sister District projects, groups in Calif and Hawaii have written postcards, made phone calls.  Amazing, people bring handwritten post cards to the polls.  Endorsed by PA NOW, and RepresentPAC, which contributes to women candidates, and I’m humbled that that support.  As a newbie people think you don’t have what it takes but they see these endorsements and get respect.  Especially Planned parenthood as I’ve relied on their resources.  My opponent has some labor support; the GOP has the majority in the House and Senate.  Labor unions are held hostage to avoid retaliation when a Democrat runs against a Republican incumbent.  One of only two candidates not endorsed by state AFL-CIO.  I don’t look at it as a setback but a different path to victory.

PA used to be a blue state until 2016 but has had rep majority in state house and senate for awhile.  You mentioned gerrymandered.  What’s going in PA.  Recent case on congressional seats.  What’s going on in with state level?

Did have some success in congressional lines, thanks to a Democratic state supreme court.  People think it is fixed but not on state level.  We are very gerrymandered, not a fair process.  Majority party has control.  Census in 2020.  Many legislation pieces have come through this session, SB 22 was a bipartisan effort with the help of the Fair District group, worked on this bill for over a year.  And so 72 hours before the bill was to be voted on the majority party hijacked the bill and gutted it, so it now had no independent commission to draw district boundaries but now had lines for geographic boundaries for electing statewide judges.  It was a retaliation for the state supreme court ruling.  Saw great bill go to garbage.  I would like to say we’re in a good place but one thing I’ve learned is that when you’re dealing with people who don’t care about doing the right thing you can’t negotiate with them.  If people are willing to rig the system so they always win it’s very difficult to have any collaborate effort.  I feel bad for all the people who worked on this for a very long time.  Their voices weren’t heard nor were the rest of Pennsylvanians.  This is a blatant example of what we are dealing with in Harrisburg.  That’s unacceptable.  November has to be a success.  We are being represented by people who don’t care.  That’s dangerous.

Anything else we should now?

I’m one of many amazing candidates this cycle running people powered campaigns, trying to get the money out of politics, get rid of pay to play.  I think that we’re making a statement here.  We stepped up to run knowing there would be intense scrutiny.  We’re here to make change happen.  If everyone puts in their time and talents and treasure we can win.  Everyone that listed can hopefully persuade one more person to get involved or give a dollar or vote.  It’s such a different slate of candidates.  If we keep working hard we can make this happen.  We have small donations from 48 states, none from N or S Dakota.

No comments: