Ryan Costello and the NRA: A Perfect Fit

A new school year has begun in Pennsylvania’s 6th Congressional District.  Children and teachers across the Commonwealth arrived for the year excited with anticipation of a safe, nurturing educational environment.  This is all a charade however as no new gun safety legislation has passed since the Sandy Hook massacre December 14, 2012.  Since then I count 54 school shootings (not including suicides) on school or college campuses.  Will your child be next?  Will your spouse, sibling, cousin or neighbor be the next teacher, principal, counselor or administrator gunned down?

One thing that I know for sure:  this school year will see Americans gunned down while at school.  What will Ryan Costello do as a Member of Congress representing the Sixth should he be elected in November?  Would he support Sen. Toomey’s watered down proposal which died because of Tea Party opposition fueled by NRA money?  Even that weak legislation failed.

The NRA has given Costello $4950 thus far for his campaign.  Costello bragged about attending a gun rights rally in Harrisburg while at a taxpayer funded trip to the County Commissioners Association of PA meeting.  His record of giving generous contracts to Chester County firms supporting his campaigns tells us he has a serious penchant for pay to play.  With the NRA supporting his Congressional campaign so strongly the answer to the above is obvious:  you and your children are not safe at Pennsylvania campuses if Ryan Costello is in Washington.

The Second Amendment is clear:  unless one is a member of “a well regulated militia” (e.g. the national Guard) one has no gun rights.  There is nothing on Commissioner Costello’s bios, facebook pages or campaign literature showing he is a member of the National Guard.

Be fearful for our children and our educators should this man be elected to Congress.  How many more children must die before we do something?

The Trivedi campaign issued this statement this week about Costello’s pay to play record:


WEST CHESTER, Pa – During a regularly scheduled meeting of the board of County Commissioners, Chairman Ryan Costello continued to reward his political donors with million dollar contracts.

Even though Chairman Costello has only served as a county commissioner for a little over 2 1/2 years, up until today he has awarded $15.3 million in county contracts to his political donors. But then in his largest demonstration of a pay-to-play operation, during today’s meeting Mr. Costello awarded a contract in excess of $14 million to one of the largest contributors to his congressional campaign.

The congressional campaign of Manan Trivedi pointed to this type of political payback system as one of the highest forms of unethical governance.

“It is clear that in a very short amount of time as commissioner, Ryan Costello has played politics as usual by doling out millions upon millions of dollars in contracts to his political donors,” said Trivedi spokesperson, Daren Berringer. “With the culture of corruption being what it is in Washington these days, Ryan Costello would fit in nicely, but voters in the 6th District deserve better from their next representative. Manan Trivedi has pledged to fight for stronger restrictions on lobbying because he believes members of Congress should serve their constituents, not the deep pocketed donors that fund their campaigns.”

To mark today’s meeting, the Chester County Democratic Party held an event outside of the County Courthouse in order to present Costello with a giant check. The check was to symbolize the amount in which Mr. Costello was selling out Chester County taxpayers for his own political gain.

To date, Mr. Costello has awarded close to $29.6 million in contracts to those who have helped to line his political coffers.

With this record of corruption towards his contributors it is safe to assume he’ll vote the NRA line while in Congress.

Trivedi Announces Third Run For PA-06

Manan Trivedi, the last two times the Democratic nominee for Congress in Pennsylvania’s Sixth District, announced this morning he will seek the seat for the third time.  Normally candidates for major office only get two tries at the apple before voters tag them as perennial losers.  Manan will attempt to negate that stereotype.  Since no other actual Democrat is running he has a great shot of winning the primary against an elephant in a donkey suit.

His statement this morning:

Manan Trivedi Launches Bid for Open Pennsylvania 6th  Congressional District

Committed to Pennsylvania’s Working Families – Building a Stronger Middle-Class

BIRDSBORO Pa – Launching a new campaign for the now open 6th congressional seat in Pennsylvania, Manan Trivedi spoke of his commitment and career to public service. As an a Iraq War veteran, primary care physician and father, Trivedi presented an agenda designed to create economic opportunity in Pennsylvania.

“This election is an opportunity for the people of the 6th District to say no to political gridlock, and yes to ideas that strengthen and grow the middle-class. As a father, doctor in the community and Iraq War veteran, I’m tired of politicians who help themselves instead of the people they’re paid to represent. As Congressman, I’ll only answer to Pennsylvanians, not political insiders — and work with local businesses to create jobs; provide strong support for public education so we prepare students to compete in a global economy; make sure we keep our commitment to our veterans and protect Medicare and Social Security for senior citizens.”

In addition to launching his new campaign, Trivedi also rolled out a list of supporters from across the region:

Wendell Young IV, President UFCW Local 1776 – “I was very pleased to hear that Dr. Manan Trivedi has decided to run for Congress representing the 6th Congressional District. Manan, a Primary Care doctor and Iraq War Veteran understands what it takes to put our nation on a path that provides jobs and other opportunities to our members and their children. Over the last eight years, Manan has been there for the people of the Sixth Congressional District and our members have returned that dedication by overwhelmingly supporting him in his last two campaigns.”

Kate Michelman, President Emerita, NARAL Pro-Choice America – “Today in Congress, women’s health and economic security are at risk because of those whose anti-choice ideology threaten a woman’s wellbeing. I know and support Manan because he is committed to defending and protecting the right of every woman to reproductive freedom and choice.  He understands that by ensuring the rights and health of women, you strengthen families and enable better control of their economic security.”

State Senator Andy Dinniman – “I’m supporting Manan Trivedi for Congress. His work ethic and experience in healthcare and the military will serve as strong assets for the people of the 6th District.”

Jake Long, Chairman of the Committee for Political Education and

Dennis Bomberger, Business Agent, BCTGM (Chocolate Workers Local 464) – “Manan grew up the son of two factory workers so he has a deep understanding and connection to the everyday lives of the working women and men of the BCTGM. We know we can always count on Manan to stand-up for our workers and their families. He will be an unwavering ally to them in Congress.”

State Representative Mark Painter – “I’ve known Manan Trivedi for years, and I’ve seen that he not only speaks the truth, but sticks to his beliefs and is willing to fight for what’s right. He has already served his country with honor, and is ready to serve us again in Washington. I am looking forward to working with him when he becomes our Congressman.”

Kathi Cozzone, Chester County Commissioner – “Chester County would benefit greatly from having Manan Trivedi in Congress. I have a great deal of respect for Manan and his service in the Navy, as a doctor in our community and as a wonderful father and husband. His well-rounded experience will suit him well as a public servant.”

John Hellman, Chester County Central Labor Council Delegate, IBEW Local 654 – “Our Pennsylvania working families work hard each and every day to make our commonwealth economically fair and strong. They deserve to have a congressman who will put forth the same amount of effort and in Manan Trivedi, we can be reassured they will.”

Monica Kline, PA Democratic State Committee, Lebanon County – “When Lebanon County was included in the new 6th district, I quickly got to know Manan Trivedi. His character and experience immediately stood out as a qualities that everyone from Lebanon County can respect: Hard work, Iraq War veteran, physician and caring for his young family. Just as I endorse Manan I encourage others to get behind him so that we can all work together to make a positive change in our county.”

Mayor Michael J. Speck, Phoenixville – “My endorsement for Congress is going to Manan Trivedi because I know he will be a strong partner for our borough. Manan understands how to bring people together to get things done and that’s precisely what Phoenixville needs to move forward.”

Cornell Wilson, Vice Chair, City of Lebanon Democrats and Lebanon City School Board Member – “I’m endorsing Manan Trivedi to be our next congressman because his unselfish service to our community and country is exactly what we need more of from our public officials.”

Stephanie Markstein, Chairperson of the West Chester Borough Democratic Committee – “West Chester needs Manan Trivedi in Congress. I fully support him because I know he will stand up for the entire community and will work to create an even stronger place to raise our families.”

Micah Mahjoubian, LGBT Rights Activist – “I support for Manan Trivedi because he believes in basic fairness and opportunity for all Americans.  He is outraged that in much of our country it is perfectly legal to fire someone or deny them housing just because they’re gay.  We need Manan in Washington to finally pass anti-discrimination legislation that protects members of the LGBT community.”

Frank Burstein, Chairman of the Limerick Township Democratic Committee – “Manan Trivedi represents what is best about Pennsylvania and our Democratic Party values. Our working families will be well served in Congress having Manan there advocating on behalf of their best interests and it’s why I am placing my support behind him.”

Manan Trivedi also received support from the following:

Dr. Harlan Kutscher, Berks County Democrats, Committeeman, Exeter

Chris Tarsa, Lebanon County Democrats, Chairman

Lani Frank, Democratic State Committeewoman, Chester County

Brad Kirsch, Chairman of the Pennsylvania State Democratic Committee Senior Caucus

Diane O’Dwyer,  Chester County Democrats, Leader Zone 25

Dave McLimans, Chester County Democrats, Leader Zone 4, Chester County Labor Council President

Stephanie Beemer McLimans, Chester County Democrats, Assistant Leader Zone 4, PA Democratic State Committeewoman

Bret Binder, Chester County Committeeman, West Chester

Bob Roggio, former Candidate PA-6

Bill Tricoski, Berks County Committeeman, Bechtelsville

Cindy Tricoski, Berks County Committeewoman, Bechtelsville

Mark Banfield, West Pikeland, Chester County Democratic Committeeperson

Diane Welsh,  Chester County Democrats, Assistant Leader Zone 25

Adam Swope –  Chester County Democrats, Leader Zone 11

Bernice Hines Corbit- Berks County Democratic Committeewoman, Exeter

Sue Shaak, Berks County Democratic Committeewoman, St. Lawrence

Laura Henkle-Sauer, Berks County Democratic Committeewoman, St. Lawrence


MoveOn.org Protests Ryan

MoveOn.org organized a protest outside the Paul Ryan event in West Chester this afternoon.  Quite a few women showed up protesting Congressman Todd Akin, a close ally of Ryan, and New Jersey Senator Frank Lautenberg told the crowd he disagrees with “Lyin’ Ryan.”  Congressional candidates Manan Trivedi and George Badey also appeared.  A plane paid for by Move.On flew overhead:

This sign sums up the Ryan Plan for Medicare:

Sen. Lautenberg:

A number of Republicans engaged the speakers rather rudely.  You can hear them in the video.  A tracker for Congressman Meehan asked Badey about ObamaCare.  The video:

Pennsylvania Progressive Summit 2012

This year’s Summit was another successful weekend of debates, workshops, reconnecting with old friends, making new friends and networking.  Held at the Pennsylvania Convention Center in Philadelphia it departed from the former format of being in a large hotel.  The expense of using the Convention Center precluded having meals and speakers which detracted from much of the networking aspect.  The consensus was definitely to return to the style of Summit from 2010 in Harrisburg and 2011 in Pittsburgh.

The weekend kicked off with a debate between Attorney General candidates Kathleen Kane and Patrick Murphy at the Arch Street United Methodist Church.  Murphy won the straw poll following the debate with 56%.

Saturday morning I arrived at the registration desk and spoke with DFA’s Jim Dean for a bit, Jonathon Saidel (who coordinated much of the planning from Philly) and others.  A general meeting began at 9AM with Eileen Connolly, Chair of the Board of Keystone Progress and Mike Morrill its Executive Director.  The guest speaker was Wisconsin Sen. John Erpenbach one of the Wisconsin 14.  

Tables set up along the meeting concourse represented Summit sponsors and many progressive organizations, some local some national.  Workshops went for 75 minutes and ran the gamut.  In between I ran into old friends I hadn’t seen in years to those I see fairly regularly.  I sat in many workshops and learned a lot.  I also took pictures along the way.  Saturday evening began with a comedy show hosted by Sen. Daylin Leach and featuring comics Katie Halper, Lee Camp and Jeffrey Kreisler.  Lee Camp was absolutely hysterical.  Manan Trivedi hosted an after party at a karaoke bar in nearby Chinatown and Daylin Leach took everyone deep into the night with yet another party.

I got the killer time slot of Sunday at 9 AM for Video 101:  Media for Mobilizing.  Susie Madrak was down ill so the intrepid Beth Becker pinch hit and was wonderful assisting me.  Thanks to everyone who arose early to attend and the techies (Brett Banditelli) who got us going.

If you haven’t attended a Progressive Summit you’re missing a valuable tool for honing your skills, learning about tons of stuff useful in organizing and a golden opportunity to network with progressive leaders from across the state.  I had lunch Saturday with Josh Cook of the Obama campaign and Jesse Lee and Jon Carson, both fresh in from the White House.  Lee has been the blogger contact for President Obama so it was great to meet him personally even if only for  a few minutes.

The pictures from the weekend:

Jim Dean (Howard’s brother):

Eileen Connolly:

Mike Morrill:

The women’s health panel:

Panel on fracking:

The White House panel:

There was a great panel on dealing with activist burnout:

This panel was about lobbying from the legislator’s point of view:

Sen. Leach delivering a few zingers:

Katie Halper:

Lee Camp:

Jeff Kreisler:

Trivedi Will Continue Challenging Jim Gerlach

Manan Trivedi, who now resides in the 7th Congressional District, says he will continue running for the 6th CD seat held by Jim Gerlach.  Union Township, Berks County, was put into Pat Meehan’s gerrymandered 7th CD in redistrcting.  Trivedi is on eof several previously declared challengers who were purposefully drawn out of the districts in which they were challenging incumbents.  It’s bad enough that officials are choosing their voters but this year, both on the state and federal levels, they are choosing their opponents.  Trivedi’s announcement:

BIRDSBORO, Pa – Upon passage by both the Pennsylvania state Senate and House, Manan Trivedi released the following statement on the congressional redistricting legislation:

“The only thing that can compare to the ongoing assault on fairness by Republicans in Washington is what Republicans in Harrisburg did with the Pennsylvania redistricting process. Partisan politics won out in the end. Even my home county of Berks with a population of just over 400,00 got split into four congressional districts. Republican politicians are breaking the public’s trust by breaking apart our community.

“Regardless of where the overreach in protecting political power originates, I am not deterred. As I continue to run for Congress in Pennsylvania’s 6th congressional district, I will fight to bring about the common sense values that my friends and neighbors deserve. I am especially looking forward to speaking with the new voters of the district, including in the town of Fleetwood where I grew up and went to school. I’m eager to compare my career of serving our nation to that of career politician Jim Gerlach who falls in lock-step with Republicans in Washington who have just voted to raise taxes on the  middle class and  support the elimination of Medicare as we know it.”

News & Notes August 18, 2011

Pennsylvania AFL-CIO President Rick Bloomingdale was arrested yesterday at a sit-in against Hershey Foods.  As Keystone Progress reported yesterday the food manufacturer misled foreign students who paid $3-6,000 apiece to come and work at Hershey Park for the summer.  Instead they were to put to labor filling boxes of chocolates at the candy factory.

Michele Bachmann is promising a return to under $2/gallon gasoline if elected president.   She intends to do this by expanding drilling (more Deepwater Horizons) and reducing regulations on oil companies (more poisoned air, ground and water).  The actual cause of the spike in gas prices is the deregulation of commodities markets under George W. Bush.  Speculators were allowed unrestricted access and huge pension funds and other investors flooded into these markets driving up prices.  How Bachmann, who advocates deregulation and free markets, intends to lower prices caused by those exact conditions illustrates she either doesn’t understand the problem or is pandering to voters.

Manan Trivedi announced last month he is running for Jim Gerlach’s Congressional seat again.  I hope he finds an issue to run on this time.  In 2010, with all of the horrid votes cast by Gerlach over the years, all Trivedi could find for a message was the Congressional pay raise.  With all the issues and problems facing this country voters didn’t care about how much Gerlach made.

The Murdochs have been caught lying again about the News Corporation phone hacking scandal.  Surprise, surprise.  Now what will Parliament do about it?

President Obama will call for Syrian President Assad to step down following violent clashes with protesters.  I hope the American and British leaders remember this when austerity riots break out in both countries.

Schwank Announces for O’Pake Seat

Former Berks County Commissioner Judy Schwank has sent a letter to Democratic committee persons in the 11th State Senate district announcing her intention to seek the Party nomination tomorrow.  A special election will be held on March 15th to fill the unexpired term of the late Mike O’Pake who died December 27th.

State Representative Dante Santoni Jr. is also running and I’ve heard rumors of several other names.  I saw Manan Trivedi Monday and asked him but he wouldn’t declare either way.  He did seem interested though Schwank’s decision might persuade some to drop out.  Kirk will be covering the meeting tomorrow morning because I’m in  Pittsburgh for the PA Progressive Summit.

Endorsements For Congress

My endorsements for the U.S. House of Representatives are all from eastern Pennsylvania.  All but one are pro choice the exception being Paul Kanjorski.  I endorse him because of the critically important work he is doing on financial reform.  His vast experience and knowledge in these complicated policy areas has never been more important for the economic health of this nation.  His leadership the past two years shepherding Wall Street reforms through his House subcommittee has led to sweeping new controls on bankers.  The Kanjorski Amendment allowing the break up of the “too big to fail” banks could be strategically important in this vast foreclosure/investor fraud litigation beginning to sweep our state court systems.

Chaka Fattah is hero to all Pennsylvania liberals.  Our staunchest and most consistent ally in Washington also has the character to go his own way as his conscience dictates.  He is not part of the Philly machine.

Patrick Murphy is in another tough fight against former Congressman Mike Fitzpatrick.  Veterans and LGBT folks have no stronger friend in Washington.  He has led the fight against Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell and his gravitas as an Iraq War veteran has added greatly to those efforts.  

Bryan Lentz is seeking Joe Sestak’s former seat.  Another Iraq War veteran he is solidly progressive and a leader.  In the State House he has forged his own path and bucked Party Leadership to vote his conscience.  That isn’t easy to do but no one picks a fight with such a straight shooter as Lentz.  He will bring much needed character to Washington.

Yet a third Iraq War veteran is running in the 6th CD.  Manan Trivedi is the son of Indian immigrants who went to medical school then plied his trade serving in Iraq as a surgeon.  Now he is running against conservative Jim Gerlach.  Its time for a Democrat and a real progressive in a Democratic District.

The Lehigh Valley hasn’t seen a seriously funded Democrat in ages.  Charlie Dent runs as a moderate though his voting record, like Gerlach’s, is anything but.  John Callahan has raised enough money to give Dent a serious challenge.  In spite of a bad campaign manager with no knowledge of the 15th CD he is coming on stronger in debates and is a solidly pro choice endorsement.

Update:  And Lois Herr in the 16th!

News & Notes October 27, 2010

Jim Gerlach is up to his tricks again.  Of course it is Halloween so “Trick or Treat” Jim is trying to fool the voters with his usual underhanded tactics.  Berks County voters are receiving mysterious text messages about Manan Trivedi.  

Shadowy Third-Party Group Linked to Illegal Robocalls Sending Text Messages for the Benefit of Gerlach

Still Unable to Speak for Himself, Gerlach Now Relies on Potentially Illegal Text Messages from Americans in Contact PAC

ELVERSON, Pa. – Today, people in the 6th District received a surprising text message on their cell phones. Stating they were from “sms@aicpac.com,” the text message attempts to make a scary link from Manan Trivedi to Obamacare and job losses.

This organization, Americans in Contact PAC (AICPAC), has been linked in the past to push polling and potentially illegal robocalls. Now, they are sending unsolicited text messages to voters in the 6th District trying to scare voters away from Manan Trivedi.

“Congressman Gerlach has been letting others talk for him throughout this whole campaign,” Trivedi said. “He’s been hiding behind his campaign spokesperson and female voiceovers and mailers from the state Republican party and refusing to debate me in Berks County. Now, it appears he has enlisted the help of a shadowy third-party group. But with a record of not listening to the people in his district — voting to bail out big banks, protecting tax breaks for outsourcing corporations, and voting against small businesses — it’s obvious why Congressman Gerlach needs to resort to the old Washington trick of hiding and spreading lies about your opponent.”

The text messages were received today, October 24, 2010.

Gerlach already got caught by the press lying about $85,000 spent on his behalf and now he’s doing small events in various businesses around the District.  Let’s keep track of them so we can all boycott them from now on.  I know he was at two in Berks this week Apollo Pools and Dairy Queen.  Where else has he been?

Trivedi has a nice spoof on the Onorato ad:

Congressman Tim Holden’s mother passed away yesterday.  Thoughts go out to the family.

Gov. Rendell put a moratorium on gas drilling in state forests.  Governor candidates disagree on whether they’d continue it.  

Tea Party candidates are lunatics.  Anyone who would vote for one needs to have their head examined.  Delaware’s Christine O’Donnell threatened to sue WDEL radio after an interview Tuesday.  Apparently she doesn’t realize when you do media interviews they are recorded.  She said turn over the tapes or I’ll sue.  I suppose getting sued is better than getting cursed by a witch.  Well, maybe she did that too.

Meanwhile in Alaska Joe Miller’s unethical past finally got released to the public.  It seems he finally admitted to his bad behavior using state offices and equipment for partisan political purposes.  In Pennsylvania that gets you a substantial prison sentence unless you’re the Attorney General.

In Kentucky a Rand Paul supporter brutally kicked a MoveOn activist in the head.  Tim Profitt says HE wants an apology.  I suspect a courtroom appearance is more likely in his future.  This is but one more example of violence coming from Fox News and Glenn Beck.  She should sue them.

I got up early after getting in late from Wilkes-Barre, got to Wayne to cover the Biden/Lentz event only to find there wasn’t any parking at the venue.  With manifestations of my various disabilities evident from too much running around this week there was no way to lug all my gear.  I wound up just coming home.  Why is easier to cover the President than the Vice President?

Big names are all over Pennsylvania this week stumping for the candidates.  None is busier than former President Bill Clinton who may as well have moved here.  He’s doing events for Kanjorski, Callahan, Sestak and Trivedi at last count.