Thursday, May 29, 2014

A Note From Daylin Leach

from the inbox, a note from Daylin Leach's campaign:

Since the end of my Congressional campaign, hundreds of people have written to me to ask what I'm going to do next. After all, we have thousands of supporters in all 50 states who want to see the causes important to progressives move forward. The one thing we can all agree on is that the single best way to move progressive causes forwarded is to elect progressive candidates.
As I contemplate the best way to do that I have been trying to assess what would have helped me as a progressive candidate, and one thing jumps out: As others have recognized, early money and support is crucial to helping nascent campaigns get off the ground and to recruiting quality liberal candidates.
Ultimately, many great liberal organizations got involved in my race and were enourmously helpful. But I was campaigning with only the support of a few courageous organizations for a full year before I received the bulk of the liberal institutional support. A progressive group with credibility, resources, and access to a network of activists and potential supporters could be extremely useful. It could vet and recruit progressive candidates, and put the best of them, with the greatest chance of winning, in touch with a large group of like-minded, politically committed donors and advisors.
So I am going to explore the feasibility of organizing such a group. There is much to do; guage interest, raise money, set up a PAC, recruit a board of directors, develop a political model, etc. And that is what I am going to do for the next few weeks.
I am not asking for anything from you at this juncture, other than any thoughts you may have as to how to make this idea a success. I will keep you posted as events unfold. Thank you for your past support of my campaign, and for your commitment to the causes which improve the lives of so many around our nation and the world.
Thank you for always being there, and I'm looking forward to an exciting future!

Thanks Note from Jack Hansen

from the inbox:

Dear Voters: I want to express my sincere gratitude to everyone in the 24th Senatorial District who made the extra effort to cast a write-in vote for me in Montgomery, Bucks, and Berks Counties. I am so humbled by the outpouring of support! The count is not yet certified, but unofficially we received more than 500 write-in votes in Montgomery County alone, with another approximately 400 in Bucks and Berks. To secure my position on the ballot as the Democratic candidate for State Senate in the November 4 election, I needed at least 500 write-in votes total. You showed what we can do when we all pull together!

I am proud of my platform, which includes restoring funding for public education, placing a reasonable extraction tax on Marcellus Shale drillers, accepting the federal government’s offer to expand Medicaid for those who need it, creating jobs in Pennsylvania, and defending women’s rights. If you would like to learn more or contact us for any reason, please visit my campaign website at 
We can all expect a spirited race this summer and fall. My Republican opposition’s coffers will undoubtedly be sloshing with oil company money. Nevertheless, on November 4 we can pull together once again and elect Tom Wolf as Governor, Mike Stack as Lieutenant Governor, Jack Hansen as State Senator, and your local Democratic candidate as State Representative. Together we will set Pennsylvania on the right path for all of its citizens.
I ask for your vote on November 4, and I look forward to serving you as your next State Senator in 2015 and beyond.


Jack Hansen                                                                                                              
 Democratic Candidate for Pennsylvania Senator in the General Assembly District 24

Damsker Asks for Debate

Ruth Damsker, former Montgomery County commissioner, is the Democratic candidate for State Senate in the 12th district.  She has formally asked incumbent Republican Stewart Greenleaf for one or more debates before the November election.

She lists some of the issues facing the district as:

1. Educational opportunities and costs for all our children. 
2. Fracking, taxing the drillers and the environmental concerns that surround it.
3. Recovering the $3.3 billion in medicaid dollars for 682,000 Pennsylvanians. 
4. Stand Your Ground/Guns Everywhere legislation and how it was narrowly avoided in
Pennsylvania, by a Rendell veto,  in 2010.

5. Equal Pay for women. 
6. Women’s healthcare and reproductive rights. 
7. Small business tax relief and economic growth. 
8. Net Neutrality and the impact on Pennsylvania business and consumers. 
9. Gerrymandering and voter access. 
10. Comprehensive non discrimination protection. 

Ruth’s views on many of these topics may be found on her web­site at

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Statement from Berks County Dems

from the chair of the Berks County Democrats:

Dear Committee and Democratic Activists,

The Primary election is behind us and my heartfelt thanks to all of you who worked hard in support of our candidates.  Turnout Statewide was not great, but a good consolation is that the Republican turnout was even worse. Governor Corbett got less votes than the Lt. Governor and for a sitting incumbent that is telling of the support he has statewide.

Democrats are now excited to rally behind our Governor Candidate Tom Wolf and Lt. Governor Candidate Mike Stack. Tom Wolf was the decisive victor in every County in the State. We now will work doubly hard to retire one-term Tom Corbett and send our candidate, Tom Wolf, to Harrisburg.

Locally, our Party worked to make sure we have good candidates to send to the legislature. Tom Caltagrione and Mark Rozzi will return. Fred Sheeler is our nominee in the new 5th Legislative District and Russ Diesinger will run in the 130th. Kathy Cozzone will run for the 44th Senatorial seat and Jack Hanson garnered the votes needed in Montgomery County to be our Candidate for the 24th Senatorial seat.

For Congress we have a wonderful candidate for the 16th CD in Tom Houghton, supported by all three County Chairs. Hats off to the City Committee who helped him get on the ballot and win the primary. Mary Ellen Balchunis will run in the highly gerrymandered 7th CD having a small part of Berks, but 36,000 votes is still no small amount. Manan Trivedi will run in the open seat in the 6th CD. All our candidates are top notch and we are committed to doing what it takes to win in November. I am asking all of us to pull out the stops and do what we must to help them win for all of us.

At the Committee level, we returned myself and Rosie Skomitz to State Committee. The rest of our delegation is brand new. Rosie and I look forward to working with our fellow delegates Patti, Peter, Chris, Rebecca and Isamac at the State Party Level. As State Committee members, they are automatically members of our County Committee. We look forward to working with everyone at the State Party level to move our agenda forward. It takes many years to develop the relationships needed to move issues and agendas and we trust our new State Committee members will take the time needed to meet their fellow State members and develop those relationships to the good fortune of Berks County.

On the County Committee side most of those who filed a petition were elected and there are many write-ins that Election Services must canvass and certify.

I look forward to continuing to work with everyone as we continue to build the party. We have a wonderful County Committee who loves a spirited debate and enjoys each other’s fellowship as we work to better our community, our County and our movement.

In closing, I want to again thank you all for all the hard work you’ve done these past four years. We have made significant advances in our goals and with electing Democrats to public office. However, the work is always ongoing and together, we will get it done. For me, you are more than fellow committee people and friends, you are family. Thank you for all you do.

Best Personal Regards,
Tom Herman, Chairman

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Classy Statement from Kevin Strouse

The classiest email I have seen this electoral season, from Kevin Strouse, Democratic candidate for the 8th congressional district:

I’m so proud and thankful to have you on my team. Your support paid off last night when we won a tough primary.

My primary opponent, Shaughnessey Naughton, ran a strong, earnest campaign, and I applaud her efforts as well as her vision of America. I also sincerely appreciate her graciousness and willingness to stand with us as we take on Mike Fitzpatrick and bring new leadership to Congress.
It's time for all of us to unite. We have a difficult fight ahead but we can and will win because we share a vision that resonates with all Americans. In our America, we fight for an economy that benefits everybody -- not just big business. We fight for outstanding schools so that every child has access to quality, affordable education. And we fight for a first world infrastructure so that we remain the best place in the world to do business.
Your support means so much to me and I can’t thank you enough for all you’ve done.
Thanks for being with me, from the beginning, now, and in the future.

Statement from Montgomery County Dems

From the inbox, a statement from Marcel Groen, chair of the Montgomery County Democratic Committee:


A very difficult primary has come to a conclusion, and regardless of the outcome, we can be proud that all the candidates were of superior quality who, as a testament to our collective hard work over the decades in building our party, reflect the values and principles important to us in Montgomery County.  
Congratulations to Tom Wolf and Mike Stack; to Brendan Boyle and Kevin Strouse; to Art Haywood; to Pam DeLissio; and to Jack Hansen for getting over 800 write-in signatures to be our candidate in the 24th Senatorial district.
Primaries are difficult for the contestants and their supporters. How we react to the results will determine how we, as a party, move forward.  Often, these struggles strengthen us, make us stronger, and are an integral part of our growth as an institution and a party.  I know that will be the case for us, for the victors and for those who were unsuccessful.  And, for those who fell short, we know that they deserve and have earned our respect and admiration.    
In the end, we know that primaries test us, challenge us as a party, which, after all, is the ultimate point.  We share the same goals of making our county, our state, and our nation a better place to live - from the wealthiest to the poorest - to preserve our environment, to ensure that government works for all and not just some, to promote tolerance, to eradicate prejudice, and to help those who need the most help.  We are Democrats and we believe in working for the common good for ourselves and our neighbors, for our time and for generations to come.  
When we talk about this election, let us do it with pride and comfort in the knowledge that we did our best, that those who participated deserve our thanks, and that we will all have to work together as a team to win in November and the future. 
 Marcel L. Groen, Chairman

Statement from Bucks Co Dems

from the inbox, a note from John Cordisco, Chair of the Bucks County Democratic Committee:

Yesterday was an historic day for Democratic values. Not only do we finally have a great nominee to take on Tom Corbett in November, but we welcomed news that the ban on same sex marriage was ruled unconstitutional, making Pennsylvania the 19th state to legalize same sex marriage. 
I applaud Judge Jones' decision and I offer my sincere congratulations to our friends in the LGBT community in Bucks County and all over Pennsylvania whose committed, loving relationships now have equal legal standing. 
Bucks County Democrats could not be more excited for what I think is one of the strongest Democratic tickets ever assembled. Congratulations to our nominee for Governor, Tom Wolf, and for Lieutenant Governor, Mike Stack. The Wolf/Stack ticket put up a resounding win yesterday and I am confident they'll have what it takes to beat Corbett and Cawley in November. 
Congratulations to our nominee for Congress, Kevin Strouse. We were very fortunate to have had two smart, talented, and capable candidates vying for this nomination who each had passionate supporters. 
Congratulations also to nominees Kim Rose, Steve Cickay, Ruth Damsker, and Jack Hansen for State Senate; and Steve Santarsiero, John Galloway, Tina Davis, Gina Kiley and Karen Chellew for State House. 
With the primary behind us, we must come together now as a united Democratic party to take on Tom Corbett and the Republican party in November. We have great Democratic nominees who share our common-sense, progressive values like creating jobs, women's rights, marriage equality, protecting the environment, access to healthcare for all, improving education, and strengthening of Social Security and Medicare. 
Thank you for your hard work on behalf of your candidates and for your continued commitment to the values of our Democratic Committee. I am very proud of what we accomplished yesterday and I'm looking forward to working with our nominees and each and every one of you to Turn Bucks Blue. 
 John Cordisco

Chairman, Bucks County Democratic Committee

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

McGinty Concession Statement

from the inbox, statement by Katie McGinty:

“While the results are not what we wanted, I want to congratulate Tom for running a great campaign and a well-earned victory tonight. And I want to make it clear right now – I wholeheartedly endorse Tom Wolf, and I will be all in to help Tom Wolf defeat Tom Corbett in November! I urge all of my supporters to join me in electing Tom in November.

From the beginning of this campaign, I said that we were going to present a positive vision for Pennsylvania. A vision that focused on guaranteeing that children receive an education that will allow them a shot at the American Dream. A vision that any kid who wants to go to college or a trade school can afford to follow their dreams. A vision that anyone willing to get out of bed every day and work hard would not live in poverty.

This campaign has been quite the experience for my family and me. Traveling to every corner of Pennsylvania, meeting people from all walks of life, from big cities and small townships, I came away inspired. Inspired by the work ethic, the compassion, and the drive to make Pennsylvania better for every generation.

I want to thank everyone that supported me throughout this campaign. I thank you for your devotion, your financial support, your hard work, and your prayers. While we were not successful tonight, our fight for a brighter Pennsylvania continues. Our fight to build a Pennsylvania that improves the lives of Pennsylvania families continues. Together, we can defeat Tom Corbett and build a better Pennsylvania for everyone."

Schwartz Concession Email

from the inbox:

I'm writing to you tonight to say thank you.

Since I announced my run for governor, you have all been incredible. Whether you've shared a graphic, had a conversation that mattered at someone's door, or donated when I asked - I am so thankful for everything you have done.

We not only spoke out for public education, for health care for all, and for economic opportunity, but we called for real change in politics in Pennsylvania.

We knew we would change Harrisburg and so many voters agreed with us. And tonight, we did better than any Democratic woman running for governor has ever done in Pennsylvania history, better than any woman running in the city of Philadelphia has done.

We made progress that everyone should be proud of.

Yet, the political pundits, the media, the Harrisburg establishment couldn’t believe a woman could serve as governor -- couldn’t even imagine it. And denied it even mattered. And while it didn’t happen this year -- it will happen in Pennsylvania and across the country.

Because women’s accomplishments, women’s capabilities and talents must recognized and must be utilized as leaders, executives, and yes, governors!

Even though I won’t have the privilege of serving as your governor, I will not stop working to find the answers to our challenges and the opportunity to achieve our shared goals. I have called to congratulate Tom Wolf on his victory, and he has my full support in beating Tom Corbett in November.

Thank you for everything,


Arkoosh Concession Email

from the inbox:

I wish I had a different result to report tonight, but unfortunately that is not the case.

That said, I wanted to say thank you tonight for taking a leap of faith to support my run for Congress. 

Over the past 14 months, I know you’ve helped knock on extra doors, stayed late at a phone bank, spread word about my campaign or chipped in another contribution. And that’s because in this campaign, you saw a chance to send a different kind of voice to Congress

Together, we’ve not only overcome odds, but also introduced so many new people to the political process who now want to get involved. That’s a success to be proud of tonight.

This campaign never gave up, because there’s always a future. And I hope we can continue that same spirit working together to bring new people with new ideas to the table.

But from the bottom of my heart, I wanted to express tonight how thankful I am for your unwavering support and friendship. Thank you.


Val Arkoosh, MD, MPH
Democratic Candidate for Congress
Pennsylvania 13th Congressional District

Monday, May 19, 2014

Meeting Brendan Boyle

Some years ago I devised a set of criteria to evaluate candidates, and then used that to evaluate some of the people running for office.  It might be time to dust it off and use it again.  Over the past year I’ve had several occasions to observe State Rep. Brendan Boyle, one of the four Democrats running to replace Congresswoman Allyson Schwartz in the 13th district (parts of Philadelphia and Montgomery County).  These include1 fundraiser, 1 organizational meeting, 3 debates, 1 public event, 1 fundraiser for another organization, and 3 meet and greets.  I’ve looked at his campaign finance reports, both congressional and state house, not thoroughly but cursory.  I did not identify myself as a blogger and to the best of my knowledge neither he nor his campaign staff know that I write this blog.  If an event was a fundraiser I paid at least the minimum amount to attend. 

Why Brendan Boyle?

As with other candidates I’ve written about in “meeting” posts, the reason I’ve been able to study Boyle this much is that his campaign has made it easy to do so.  It frequently amazes me that campaigns I have contributed to don’t add me to their mail, email or phone lists.  I only recently contributed to Boyle’s campaign but once I had showed up at one free event I regularly received phone messages and emails from them, inviting me to a number of events, some of which I was able to attend.  I really have not been contacted by a campaign as much as I have the Boyle campaign, not annoying contacts badgering me about volunteering or repeated invitations to the same event, but invitations to a variety of things. 

The Utility Test

This test refers to how the candidate reacts and responds to people who do not appear to have any current usefulness to the campaign.  When I’ve introduced myself I purposefully did so in a manner that made it clear I would not be much help to him.    In fact at times I’ve asked the kind of pointed questions that people don’t usually ask at candidate-specific events.  If he thinks I’m wrong he’ll tell me, in a polite and respectful way.  He seems to like talking with people.  At events with more than one candidate, sometimes candidates will stay in one area and let people come to them.  Boyle works the room and stops to have real conversations not just glad handing.  He is patient answering the same question over and over at the same event or at a series of events.  He’s good with people but not obsequious. 

Boyle’s Campaign Staff

Campaign staff tend to reflect the candidate.  Boyle’s campaign people are uniformly low-key and very polite and pleasant.   While I’m on their press email list I haven’t had much individual contact with the campaign as a blogger, perhaps reflecting to general decrease in the influence of small political blogs.  So I haven’t had a “handler” in my blogger guise, nor has anyone in the campaign been my primary contact when I’ve attended events.  I’ve had short casual conversations with a handful of his staffers at various events.  They were all well-informed, efficient, and easy to talk to.   Having been around politics a few years now I keep waiting to see a hard edge come out but so far none has.  His campaign manager (or at least I think that was his campaign manager) seems entirely too nice, efficient, but very nice.  I've been impressed with the campaign's work to keep in touch.  I get a lot of calls and messages at home, mostly recorded calls and, frankly, a little annoying.  Boyle's campaign calls to let me know of events in the area.  After I signed an interest form at an early debate I've received fairly frequent messages about other events, low or no cost, that I might want to attend.  While I did contribute to his campaign it was late in the campaign season.  I contributed to another candidate in the 13th district primary race much earlier in the election season, but seldom heard from them about other events.  

Boyle’s Supporters

I’ve spoken to some of Boyle’s supports before and, to be honest, started paying closer attention to him because someone I know suggested it.   But the people I’ve met at his events are easy to talk with.  Very low drama factor, and a lot of friendly laughter.

The Motivation Test

This refers to a candidate or official’s ability to get people involved in things they might not otherwise consider, or inspire people who disagree to work together.   Since he was the first Democrat ever elected to represent the 170th state house district, he can clearly work with Republicans.  And he seems to have brought his primary opponents together, or at least given them a combined purpose in attacking him.   

General Impressions of Boyle

Boyle is a wonk – he talks policy quite a bit, but in a charmingly stiff way.  He has a good personal story; he father still works as a custodian at SEPTA.  Boyle is a first generation college student and still has student debt.   I don’t agree with him on everything but he takes questions well and explains why he supports the positions he does.   He has run a positive campaign and has remained positive at the debates I’ve attended.   Boyle is a good communicator and seems to genuinely enjoy talking with people.   He and his team have run a good campaign.

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Boyle Holds Event "for the Rest of Us"

It is fairly common for candidates and campaigns to host fundraisers offering various levels of support. If you remember reading groups in school or scout patrols there are often similarities; you can sign on to support the candidate as a bluebird, cardinal, or eagle, or at the bronze, silver, and gold level, that sort of thing.  Brendan Boyle, one of the candidates for the 13th congressional district, is doing something different.  His fundraiser on Monday has levels based on the cost of a weekly SEPTA pass, a package of diapers, and five gallons of gas.  Kudos for more down to earth support levels.

Thursday, May 08, 2014

SEPTA Service for Komen Run

from the inbox:

The 24th Annual Susan G. Komen Philadelphia Race for the Cure 5K Run/Walk returns on Sunday, May 11, 2014. SEPTA will provide extra early Sunday morning Regional Rail trains to accommodate traditionally large crowds heading to the event. In addition, nineteen SEPTA bus routes will experience significant detours around Center City road closures scheduled for the duration of the event. 
 Travelers may want to consider using rail transportation where available to avoid surface delays during the event. Underground service on the Market Frankford Line, Broad Street Line, Subway Surface Trollies, and Regional Rail Trains will be the best option to avoid potential surface travel delays.

 REGIONAL RAIL SERVICE SEPTA will add additional service to Sunday morning trains to accommodate runners and others traveling to the event. These trips which supplement regularly scheduled Regional Rail service will arrive at Center City stations between 6 a.m. and 6:45 a.m. 
 A supplemental schedule is available at The special schedule includes added and early morning service departing from the following stations:  
Airport Line: Extra trip departs from Eastwick Station at 5:47 a.m. 
Chestnut Hill East Line: Extra trip departs from Chestnut Hill East Station at 6:11 a.m. 
Glenside Combined Line: Extra trip departs from Glenside Station at 5:29 a.m. 
Media/Elwyn Line: Extra trip departs from Elwyn Station at 5:33 a.m. 
Lansdale/Doylestown Line: Extra trip departs from Lansdale Station at 5:12 a.m. 
Manayunk/Norristown Line: Extra trip departs from Elm Street Station at 5:48 a.m. 
Paoli/Thorndale Line: Extra trip departs from Malvern at 5:20 a.m. 
Wilmington/Newark Line: Extra trip departs from Marcus Hook Station at 5:48 a.m. 
West Trenton Line: Extra trip departs from West Trenton Station at 5:18 a.m. 
Warminster Line: Extra trip departs from Warminster Station at 5:41 a.m.  
BUS DETOURS Routes 2, 4, 7, 9, 12, 17, 21, 23, 27, 31, 32, 33, 38, 42, 43, 44, 48, 124, and 125 will be detoured around several Center City street closures at the following locations from 7:00am until 12:00pm on Sunday:   Kelly Drive – Fairmount Avenue to Eakins Oval.  Benjamin Franklin Parkway – 16th Street through 23rd Street.
 17th  Street – from the Parkway to Walnut Street. 
 16th  Street – from the Parkway to Walnut Street. 
 12th  Street – from the Parkway to Chestnut Street 
 Walnut Street – from 17th Street to 12th Street 
 Chestnut Street – from 17th Street to 12th Street  
In addition to the bus detours, riders should also plan for additional travel time and potential travel delays due to traffic congestion in Center City. Specific route detour information is now available at

Wednesday, May 07, 2014

SEPTA Team Wins International Bus Roadeo

from the inbox:

SEPTA’s Drivers and Mechanics have proven to be the world’s best – again! For the second year in a row, SEPTA’s four member team bested dozens of competing transit agencies from the United States and Canada to win the Grand Champion Award at the 2014 International Bus Roadeo, held this week, in conjunction with the American Public Transportation Association’s (APTA) Bus and Paratransit Conference in Kansas City, MO. SEPTA was also crowned Grand Champion during the same event in 2013. 

April 7th Debate for Democratic Candidates in 13th Congressional District

On April 7th I attended a debate for the Democratic candidates for the 13th congressional district, held on the Penn State Abington campus.  I took notes and have typed them up for this post.  (I had typed them up earlier but the file was inadvertently deleted; thus the delay).  These are rough notes and by no means intended as a transcript.  I apologize in advance for any errors or misconceptions.  As always, interested voters are encouraged to contact the campaigns with any questions or concerns.  

A few personal observations are at the end.


Moderator:  Dave Davies

Questions:  moderator questions to all and one question specific to each candidate, questions not known in advance; audience questions, and closing statements

Abington Township Commissioner Steve Kline gives the ground rules, and introduces the moderator and candidates

Q1:  influencing educational policy

VA:  Thanks to all.  Education is personal.  I went to public schools in Nebraska.  The cuts here have been devastating to education.  Sequestration cut $3 Million.  The Ryan budget cuts [missed the number] Billion more.  We need early childhood education.  We need to untie teacher’s hands – now they teach to the test.  College must be affordable.  Advocate for federal government not to make money from student loans.

BB:  Thanks to all.  Very first bill I introduced was modeled on the Arkansas Hope Scholarships.  Still paying off my student loans.  A national crisis.  Pennsylvania has excellent public colleges and universities.  Pres. Obama says funding formula tied to affordability.  Other end – universal pre-k.  Only 5% of 3 year olds and 14% of 4 year olds are in pre-k.

DL:  Thanks to all.  I’m a product of public education, and went to 8 elementary schools.  In the legislation my first request was to be on the education committee.  I lead efforts to fight vouchers, etc.  I fought the bill that would have required school districts to pay for charter schools but no decision making ability to decide if they want them.  Your zipcode should not determine the quality of your education.  College – the pay it back / pay it forward, caps payments by percentage by percentage of income.

MM:  Thanks to all.  Agree with others.  Oppose privatization.  Edison schools in Philadelphia didn’t work.  Universal pre-k.  New higher education models.

Q to Daylin Leach:  You are called the liberal lion of Pennsylvania.  Voters want someone to get things done.  Your achievement record?

DL:  Legislation for ovarian / breast cancer screening.  Republicans took the idea.  Passed D Corp legislation.  Bill to allow medical marijuana was co-sponsored by the most conservative Republican in the Senate.  Passed bill so pregnant prisoners are not shackled in childbirth.  Also times to stand and fight – right to choose, voting rights.

Q2:  Social security.  Any adjustments to benefits or age?  What should be done?

BB:  Important to add context.  Social security to pay benefits and run a surplus, could last 28 years.  Problem begins in 2042.  Lift FICA cap to historic average.  Currently $100K, lower than past if adjusted for inflation.

DL:  Marjorie Margolies introduced legislation to eliminate COLAs for 80%, raise age to 70.  A few weeks ago said ask rich to voluntarily pay more.  Agree with B Boyle to raise FICA cap.  Use e-COLA not COLA.  Agree with Senator Elizabeth Warren, give seniors a modest sum on retirement to pay bills.  Private pensions being reduced.  People relying more and more and social security.

MM:  20 years ago Pres. Clinton came to an entitlement seminar here, everything on the table.  Do not agree with raising retirement age.  Must raise cap to $500K.

VA:  Social security and medicare are lifelines.  Must be there for our seniors.  CIE important, more realistic way to calculate market basket for seniors.  Raise FICA tax.  Totality of benefits.  In 13th district [missed this number] families receive [missed this number].  Deeply committed to this issue.  Endorsed by the National Committee to Protect Social Security.

Q to  Brendan Boyle:  Voted for new restrictions on abortion clinics.  Position?

BB:  Fully support Roe v Wade.  Tragic mistake to make criminals out of women or doctors.  GOP offensive with they talk flippantly of rape.  At 37 my views are different than when I was in my 20s.  Last election I was one of the targets for a national pro-life group.  In my legislative career I voted with Planned Parenthood in 12 of 14 votes.  I voted for that bill because it required annual health inspections, to prevent future Gosnells. 

Q3:  Leadership skills.  Moment from professional life

DL:  First, the PA Supreme Court was 4-3 GOP.  One justice left, so it was 3-3.  Corbett gets to appoint the replacement justice.  I went to the caucus, got them to agree.  Sent a list of 5 names, said Dems would agree to appoint any of them.  5 GOP that people thought would be fair.  Corbett picked 1 (Cory Stevens).  Secondly I stood my ground, and the bill was passed.

MM:  I adopted two foreign children.  It was illegal for single women to adopt so one came in as a student.  In Congress I had a working relationship with the majority leader when there wer more than 40 women in Congress we got together, came up with a list of 4 issues to work on, including sexual harassment.   The Clinton budget – voted to push it over, voted out of office because of it, but it was the right thing to do.

VA:  I was the chair of the Dept of Anesthesiology at Drexel, had multi-million dollar budget deficit.  I was an economics major in college.  I made decisions and got budget under control.  As president of the National Physicians Alliance I was working on the Affordable Care Act and a proponent of single payer.  When the last Sen. Kennedy bill was in the senate we couldn’t get single payer but keep going.

BB:  Five years ago when elected I was the first Democrat in that district.  On the state government committee, a controversial bill, a non-discrimination bill.  I was surprised it wasn’t already illegal.  I received over 1,000 emails, 99% disagreed with the bill but I voted for it anyway.  It passed the house but not the senate.

Q4:  Name a public figure you admire, a role model

MM:  Elizabeth Warren, for banking regulations

VA:  Donna Edwards, Congresswoman, progressive, brings people together

BB:  Daniel Patrick Moynihan, brings ideas to the public arena, got them passed

DL:  William Brennan, Supreme Court Justice

Q for Marjorie Margolies:  You were in charge of a non-profit, Women’s Campaign International, in 2001 there was a vote for a salary increase, some discussion of renovating a Fairmount Park mansion that you might live in

MM:  did not vote for my own salary.  Park wanted to rent houses to ngos [non-governmental agencies].  A plan was prepared but it never happened, just discussed.  [Reads from Inquirer articles which says her salary was comparable to other organizations]

Q5:  Foreign policy.  Proper use of American power.  Syria, Ukraine.

VA:  Significant challenges.  Distilled down to dependence on oil or natural gas.  Europeans get natural gas from Russia.  Europe is not responding to the crisis.  US needs to move away from dependence on foreign oil, etc.  US needs to get everyone to the table.  Last resort is to go in with troops.  Rule – be an arbiter for democracy.

BB:  From World War 2 to 1990/91 the Cold War is the prism to look through.  Now post-Cold War era.  Deal with national states sponsoring terrorism.  Putin has nostalgia for USSR.  NATO – hard to keep together in post – Cold War era.   Work with NATO, nation’s chip in and help.  Preserve trans-Atlantic relationship.  Let’s not be lulled into a false sense of security.

DL:  We’ve been too anxious to go to war.  Self-defense necessary and legitimate role.  Recent conflicts been of choice.  Less stable countries quicker to go to war.  Russia – we are facing different situation.  Put seems unstable.  If he goes in what do we do?  Dividends of ending Cold War at risk.  Hope Putin walks back.

MM:  Condemn annexation of Crimea.  Support sanctions.  Hope allies step in.  Part of delegation that went to the Ukraine before the Orange Revolution.  Protestors said they wanted independence.  I was President of Womens Campaign International.  US should invest in more human capital.  Get women to the table.

Q to Valerie Arkoosh:  You said you are not a politician.   Can you build political relationships?

VA:  Congress is full of career politicians, not getting the job done.  Lived in district 17(?) years, involved in community.  Have patients from NorthEast Philadelphia.  Unique policy background.  I have a degree in economics and also in public health.  My natural constituencies are women and bipartisan issues.  The GOP has a doctors caucus.  It has 14 Republicans.  There are 3 Democrats but they still don’t have a bipartisan caucus.  There are no women doctors in Congress.  I am uniquely qualified.

Q6:  tough job, fundraising.  Will you be there for your constituents?

BB:  It is an overlooked aspect of this job.  When I took office in 2008 it was important to have top notch constituent service.  In the state house I ranked second in constituent service (my brother Kevin is ranked first).  I take the job seriously.  It can be difficult.

DL:  Gerrymandering is an evil.  The 13th congressional district is not one that requires constant fundraising.  I have amazing constituent service.  I love engaging with people, debating.  We can solve gerrymandering at the national level, with a constitutional amendment.

MM:  I have kept in touch with Congress, can get things done on Day 1.  Women.  I get lots of funding, including Dept of Defense for advocacy training.  Government shutdown, women got together and made it stop. 

VA:  Actions speak louder than words.  I recruited a diverse campaign team.  They have health insurance.  I’ve shown up for all the debates and public opportunity.  I’ve gotten to know so many incredible people in the 13th

Audience questions

Q7:  Immigration, path to citizenship

DL:  Strong supporter of immigration reform, moral, economic and security issue

MM  Senate passed path to citizenship.  Never brought up in the House.  Important economic issue.

VA:  My great-grandparents immigrated here to work on the railroads.  Support DREAM Act.  Re-examine deportation policies.  Expand guest worker and visa program.

BB:  Nation of immigrants.  My father was an immigrant.  Some of the language at the national level is incendiary.  Fix broken illegal and legal immigration system.  Ting part of Tea Party is preventing action on this.

Q8:  gun violence

MM:  I was there when Congress passed the assault weapons ban and Brady bill.  Look at violence in schools and Gabby Giffords.  Must stop being afraid of the NRA.

VA:  Spend countless nights trying to keep people alive.  90% of the public supports sensible regulations.  Close background check loophole, assault weapons, etc.  heart aches for family of 11 year old shot by 2 year old in Philadelphia.

BB:  Endorsed by Philadelphia FOP.  In Philadelphia 50% of guns from straw purchase.  Need robust lost and stolen provision.

DL: Debate this a lot.  Went to Hershey to fire guns and see what it is like.  Some people shouldn’t have guns.  Some weapons no civilian needs.  One gun a month.

Q9:  Supreme Court, political contributions.  Will you accept any money?

VA:  Campaign finance is critical.  Spigot is wide open for wealth to influence.  Need constitutional amendment.  Need transparency.  Big fan of public financing.  Small donations tax deductible.  Federal matching.  98% of the money I raised is from individual donors.

BB: Recent decision similar to Citizens United.  Central failing is the fact that the majority of the Supreme Court justices equate money with freedom of speech.  Need constitutional amendment.  Play by the rules of the game.

DL:  Citizens’ United single worst decision of the last 100 years.  Political system bought and paid for.  Running for Congress all you do is raise money.  Terrible, unpleasant, and undignified.

MM:  Why wait for a law to pass.  Ask all not to accept independent expenditures, Super PACs.

Closing statements

DL:  What would I want as a Congressman?  Someone with a record of consistency, plus a spark, compassion, willingness to fight for lost causes.  Progressive champion.  Existential things that we hold dear.  Right to vote.  Climate change.  Income inequality.  Major fights.  Little people need a champion.  Won’t win every battle but will fight every battle.

MM:  Little that separates the candidates.  My time in Congress and work with Women’s Campaign International will make me a much more effective candidate.  I am 100% pro-choice.  [takes shots at Boyle over choice and his view that no millionaires in Congress – citing Ted Kennedy].  Disagrees with Daylin Leach on legalizing recreational marijuana, citing case of murderer high on marijuana.  Daylin Leach badmouths Steny Hoyer.  Steny is a friend of mine and effective.  Val Arkoosh – [something about single payer].

VA:  I have experience working on health care.  DC is full of career politicians.  Need an ally not just a representative.  More than health care candidate.  Health candidate.  Oppose vouchers and charter schools.  Environment.  Access to quality affordable health care.  There is a way to get things done in Washington.  Doctors bring people together to solve problems.

BB:  A candidate has the benefit of a famous relative.  My dad is a DEPTA janitor, worked at a warehouse before that.  Work ethic.  Race not about Bill Clinton but Frank Boyle and others like him.  Income equality.  Need a change in Washington.

Personal observations:

Mrs. Margolies spoke with some difficulty -- she had a sore throat.  That may be why she read several of her answers off of cards.  She misunderstood one of the questions, about how the candidates would stay in touch with constituents.  She talked about her connections to Congresss.  Her remark about recreational marijuana use leading to murder got some laughs.  

Sen. Leach noted that he likes to engage people and debate.  I can vouch for that.  

Monday, May 05, 2014

Hansen's Write-in Campaign in 24th State Senate District

from the inbox:

Democrat Jack Hansen has announced his write-in campaign for Pennsylvania state senator in the 24th district. Hansen must receive at least 500 write-in votes from registered Democrats in the Primary Election on May 20 to appear on the ballot in the fall general election as the Democratic candidate to challenge Republican incumbent Bob Mensch. No other Democratic write-in candidate for this race is known.

 A member of Lansdale Borough Council since 2008, Hansen is a past president and has served on the following committees: Administration and Finance, Public Safety, Code Enforcement, Public Works, and Electric. Jack is a leader in the Democratic Party on the municipal, area, and county levels. He served in the Navy during the Vietnam War (1968-1972) and owned his own house-painting business for 22 years. He is married with 2 children and 2 grandchildren.

Hansen is running on the platform of restoring funding for public education, placing a reasonable tax on Marcellus Shale gas production (“fracking”), accepting the federal government’s offer to fully fund expansion of Medicaid, and creating more good jobs in Pennsylvania so that everyone who wants to work will have a job to support their families. “With people working, our economy will get stronger, the family structure will get stronger, and families will be able to educate their children so they can be even more successful than their parents…. This is the true American dream!” See Hansen’s entire statement on jobs and other information about the campaign—including instructions on how to cast a write-in vote by county—on the official website:

Jack Hansen’s name will not be on the ballot for the May 20 Primary Election because he is stepping up to fill a vacancy that was created when a previous Democratic candidate dropped out of the race. This occurred after the finite period during which candidates may collect signatures on nominating petitions. Candidates who jump into the race after this period have no recourse but to launch a write-in campaign.

The newly proportioned District 24 in effect for this election is substantially different from its current configuration and will include the following municipalities in 3 counties:
•  In BERKS County: the TOWNSHIPS of Colebrookdale, District, Earl, Hereford, Longswamp, Pike, Rockland, and Washington; and the BOROUGHS of Bally, Bechtelsville, and Boyertown.
•  In BUCKS County: the TOWNSHIPS of Bridgeton, Durham, Milford, Nockamixon, Richland, Springfield, and Tinicum; and the BOROUGHS of Quakertown, Richlandtown, Riegelsville, and Trumbauersville.
•  In MONTGOMERY County: the TOWNSHIPS of Douglass, Lower Frederick, Lower Salford, Marlborough, New Hanover, Perkiomen, Salford, Skippack, Towamencin, Upper Frederick, Upper Hanover, Upper Pottsgrove, Upper Salford, and West Pottsgrove; and the BOROUGHS of East Greenville, Green Lane, Lansdale, Pennsburg, Pottstown, Red Hill, Schwenksville, and Trappe.