Santarsiero to Run For Congress in PA-08

State Representative Steve Santarsiero of Bucks County announced his candidacy yesterday for the Congressional seat occupied by retiring legislator Mike Fitzpatrick.  The Eight Congressional District comprises most of Bucks and includes a large chunk of Northeast Philadelphia.  Prior to Fitzpatrick it was held by Patrick Murphy.  Kevin Strauss ran unsuccessfully last year.

Santarsiero is a proven, solid progressive with good liberal values.  He is strongly pro-choice and supports Planned Parenthood.  He ran for Bucks County Commissioner prior to becoming a State Representative and has distinguished himself as a progressive voice in Harrisburg.

From his campaign:

PA State Representative, Steve Santarsiero (D-31), filed his statement of candidacy this week in preparation for a run for Congress in 2016 in the 8thCongressional district seat being vacated by Congressman Mike Fitpzatrick.  Santarsiero is a dedicated public servant committed to the community who has demonstrated his ability to win seats previously held by Republicans.   A more formal announcement will come later in the year.

After watching the Twin Towers collapse in 2001 from his office window, Santarsiero left his job at a prominent law firm to become a high school teacher in the Bensalem Township School District.  He inspired his students to get involved in their community and led by example through organizing residents to stop the Matrix development, a proposed big-box shopping center in his home town of Lower Makefield.  That experience led him to run for Township Supervisor in 2003.  He won with 55% of the vote, beating a long-time incumbent and becoming the first Democrat to serve on the Lower Makefield Board in 18 years and only the second in recent memory.  He later helped secure the first ever Democratic majority on the Board and became its chairman.

In 2008, Steve Santarsiero won an open seat in the Pennsylvania state house that had been held by a Republican since it was created in 1992.  As a state legislator, Steve earned a reputation as a reformer when he repeatedly turned down legislative perks, including per diems, state cars and free health care; pushed for campaign finance reform; wrote what became the House’s new ethics rules on political activity; and became a leader on a variety of critical issues from gun safety to protecting our water and the environment to giving PA residents priority for state contracts.

“I’m excited to start preparing a campaign to represent the people of Bucks and Montgomery Counties in Congress,” Santarsiero said.  “It’s time we make Washington accountable to our citizens.  I will make it a priority to focus on keeping the middle class families of the 8th District secure while helping to grow our economy, create jobs and bring real reform to Washington.”

State Representative Santarsiero and his wife, Ronni, have lived in Bucks County for 19 years.  They have three children, Nancy (17), Billy (15), and Johnny (11).

Former Congresswoman, Allyson Schwartz, who like Santarsiero served in the state legislature before running for Congress said, “Steve Santarsiero’s entry into the race is great news for the 8th District and for our Democratic Party.  His broad support among Republicans, Democrats, and independent voters will make him a formidable candidate.”

John Cordisco, Chairman of the Bucks County Democratic Committee, and another former state legislator, echoed Rep. Schwartz’s optimism.  

“Steve can win this seat.  He just won re-election to the state house by a landslide in a swing district in what turned out to be a very bad year for Democrats,” Cordisco explained.  “He has a clear track record of winning in a tough district, and that’s what we will need to prevail in the 2016 congressional race.”

Romney Leaves Supporters in Quakertown, Goes Elsewhere to Avoid Dems

Mitt Romney left hundreds of his supporters waiting in the heat at a Quakertown Wawa today as he went elsewhere to avoid about 100 Democrats who also showed up.  Ed Rendell headlined a counter Democratic event beforehand and could now write a book about the wuss Romney.  Ironically a Republican walked over to the Dem event with a sign calling the former Governor “a big, fat wuss.”  It didn’t faze the Governor nor any of the other Democratic leaders there to speak about the Romney record.  I did notice the man, along with an apparently drunken guy with a Santa hat on, leave as Rendell recited actual facts about tax cuts and jobs.  It was as if they couldn’t absorb actual facts.

Congressional candidate Kathryn Boockvar, Auditor General candidate Eugene DePasquale, Treasurer Rob McCord and former Congressman Patrick Murphy spoke.  A local teacher also spoke about cuts to education.  I interviewed both Boockvar and Murphy following the event.

The Wawa convenience store by the Turnpike entrance was host to hundreds as folks began descending on it around 10 AM.  When I arrived at 10:40 I secured one of the last open parking spaces and the managers inside were surprised to discover they would be hosting dueling events.  A bit overwhelmed the asked the Dems to move next door to an empty produce stand.  As I covered that I could see more and more conservatives packing into the Wawa lot.  A man with a large Romney sign put flags on his truck and drove around the parking lot.  State Police showed up, I believe at the store’s request and blocked off the entrances.

Word spread through the press early that the Romney bus would bypass this venue and go elsewhere because of the Democratic turnout.  About 100 protesters were there to “greet” the presumptive GOP nominee.  While the Dems had no issue with the Republicans who crashed and tried to disrupt their event Mitt obviously was so intimidated he went to another Wawa in Quakertown.  As I watched all the TV crews leave I mentioned to some in the crowd that their guy wasn’t coming.  When they doubted me I pointed out that all of the television trucks had gone.  They were still standing in the heat, an hour after the event was scheduled, waiting for the bus.  The Romney bus ran over its own supporters today because he couldn’t stand up to a little dissent.  How will he stand up to President Putin?

More pictures and interviews are below if you click on “there’s more.”

Bill Brosius and Det Ansinn, both from Bucks County:

Kathy Boockvar:

Patrick Murphy:

Pictures:  The hillside you see by the Wawa was completely filled with people awaiting a Romney bus which never arrived.

Holden, Altmire Bite the Dust

Newcomer Matt Cartwright stunned Blue Dog Tim Holden and Mark Critz bounced Blue Dog Jason Altmire out of Congress tonight.  This is progress for Pennsylvania.  Ironically Holden loved his new District map so much he twisted arms in the state legislature to approve the redistricting.  It cost him his seat.

In other races Kathleen Kane will lose to david Freed in  November, Gene Stilp won in PA-11 to challenge Lou Barletta using, as he Tweeted, grassroots and social media.  Rick Daugherty defeated Jackson Eaton in PA-15.

Erin Molchany won the nomination for the 22nd State House seat, Marty Schmotzer will take the seat until January and various other races are still close.  My friend Joe Haas swept to victory in House 187 over Bill Bispels who really didn’t mount a campaign,  

Attorney General Endorsement: Patrick Murphy

I began this primary for Attorney General not having a preference.  I’ve known Patrick Murphy for a number of years and I though Kathleen Kane’s experience as a local prosecutor was impressive.  I soon discovered Kane is a pathological liar and I cannot support her for office.  Murphy, on the other hand, is a Bronze Star recipient for his work as an Army JAG officer in Iraq where he prosecuted terrorists trying to kill our soldiers, served in Congress where he led the fight to repeal Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, and was one of the first Members of Congress to endorse Barack Obama.

Kane, on the other hand, is married to the owner of trucking firm Kane Is Able, a fervently anti-union company which exploits its workers.  She should be a Republican with that track record and is worthless as a candidate for statewide office as a Democrat.  She simply won’t win crap with all of organized labor against her.  Worse, her campaign lied to me, disparaged Murphy’s military service to me then lied about it all on PCN.  She isn’t fit to deliver my newspaper.

The next Attorney General must be a counterweight to the blatantly unconstitutional laws being signed by Tom Corbett.  Before being Governor he used the AG office for political prosecutions in a way that politicized the office.  He used it as a platform to get the Governor’s Mansion and corrupted it in the process.  While he pursued high profile trials he allowed the Sandusky investigation to linger on the vine while children were at risk.  We need a prosecutor who will return integrity to the office and Patrick Murphy is the person for the job.

News & Notes April 4, 2012

I’m feeling much better after Monday’s surgery, thanks for all the good wishes.  I probably pushed it a bit too far yesterday and was definitely feeling it after standing for two hours at the KADC debates…  I think I began turning green.

The President signed the STOCK Act today prohibiting members of Congress from profiting personally from inside information.  From the White House:

Today, the President signed into law the STOCK Act, a bipartisan bill that prevents Members of Congress from trading stocks based on nonpublic information they gleaned on Capitol Hill.  While this is a good first step, the President will continue to work with Congress to do even more to help fight the destructive influence of money in politics and rebuild the trust between Washington and the American people.

Patrick Murphy gained some new endorsements in Western PA, a battleground in this primary since both candidates are from the east.  The biggest is from the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.  Allegheny County Sheriff William Mullen and the 14th ward Democratic Club of Pittsburgh are also behind the former Congressman.

Erin Molchany also keeps getting significant endorsements in her race to replace Chelsa Wagner in Harrisburg.  Progress Pittsburgh, Ironworkers Local 3, Planned Parenthood (I voted for that one), the Steel City Stonewall Democrats, Councilwoman Natalia Rudiak and the Gertrude Stein Political Club have all endorsed her.

If you want an example of why it’s important to attend your local governmental meetings and keep an eye on your elected officials look no further than Penn Forest Township in Carbon County.  The FBI is investigating to discover why no audit records were kept and finances which were deeply in the red were hidden from residents.

For another example here in Berks County they want to privatize the juvenile justice system.  That didn’t work out well for Luzerne County as I recall…

Harrisburg Receiver David Unkovic has resigned.  Perhaps what our Capital city needs is a football player, perhaps, this time, a wide receiver.  Seeing how it’s being screwed by a state takeover they might be well deserved to have someone able to take enough of a screwing.

GSA Administrator Martha Johnson resigned over allegations of lavish spending at a training conference in Las Vegas.  I met Johnson at the recent White House Community Partnership Summit at Penn and was duly impressed.  Some of the reporting of the Vegas extravaganza was over the top.  For example I saw a segment on CNN critical of $44 meals.  What people need to realize about hotel meal charges is that it includes the use of the conference rooms.  The $44 isn’t just for food.  

89,000 Pennsylvania kids have been kicked off Medicaid due to Gov. Corbett’s massive cuts at DPW.  Parents need to know there are alternatives such as CHIP and a new program in the Affordable Care Act if they have pre-existing conditions.

Gasbag now wants to privatize the lottery.  Last week Pennsylvanians voluntarily lined up to provide $18 million for older Pennsylvanians by buying Mega Millions tickets.  (Obviously I didn’t win because I’m still blogging.  I needed that jackpot to pay my gas bill!)  Privatizing government services is evil because it puts private profit ahead of the public interest.

Corbett’s budget cuts targeting disabled people are also causing him gas pains.  His shutting off access to elevators in the Capitol so they couldn’t get to his office was a clear violation of the Americans With Disabilities Act and the ACLU and disability advocates are preparing to sue him.  One thing Corbett has proven to be very good at is creating lawsuits the taxpayers will have to pay to defend.

Veterans Call For Kane Apology

VoteVets PAC called on Kathleen Kane to apologize to Pennsylvania veterans for her campaign’s attacks on his military service record.  On a press conference call today Jon Soltz, AJ Gales, a Pennsylvania vet and Ashwin Madia, who served in Iraq with Patrick Murphy, talked about how attacking someone’s distinguished military record is an insult to all those who served.  Madia spoke about how he drove JAG officer Murhpy to court in Iraq where they risked their lives every time they did so.

Kane campaign Communications Director Joshua Morrow attacked the former Congressman’s military record in a telephone call to me March 5th.  When I questioned the wisdom of going after a war veteran and how that would alienate vets he did so anyway.  Morrow said Murphy couldn’t have prosecuted terrorists but his Bronze Star commendation goes into detail about exactly such prosecutions.  Kane went on PCN last week and denied that her campaign had made such attacks.   Kane also owes me a public apology.

I’m beginning to think she is a pathological liar.  Now she’s also denying having said, on that same show, she was against Card Check, the Employee Free Choice Act.  She claims not to be anti-union (though the family company bankrolling her campaign is) because her father was a union member.  Well my father was a John Birch Society conspiracy theorist and arch conservative but that didn’t make me one any more than her Dad being a union member makes her pro labor.

Labor: Kane is Anti-Union

UFCW Local 1776 called Kathleen Kane on her opposition to the Employee Free Choice Act today.  John Meyerson of the UFCW and President of the Southeastern Pennsylvania Area Labor Federation released this statement following Kane’s assertion on PCN that ” I am not a supporter of Card Check.”

“For weeks, candidate Kathleen Kane has sought to distance herself from her company’s stridently anti-union practices and rhetoric, but her recent comments show that she is every bit as anti-worker as her company, Kane is Able. On Tuesday evening’s PCN Call-In, Kane echoed her company’s previous statements by voicing adamant opposition to the Employee Free Choice Act.

The Employee Free Choice Act is the best way to ensure workers are free to organize and collectively bargain, without fear of workplace intimidation or threats to their livelihood. EFCA would allow the employees of Kathleen’s company to decide for themselves if they want to join a union. It is no wonder she is opposed to the bill.

What’s worse, Kathleen insists that because she grew up in a union household, she is pro-union. It’s time to set the record straight. You can’t run an anti-union company, fund your campaign entirely with money from anti-union executives, oppose laws vital to working families, and still claim to be pro-union. Excuse the pun, but I’m tired of this anti-union trucking exec getting a free ride. It is time someone called this what it is – a deliberate attempt to deceive voters on one of the most important issues of this election.”

Kane’s most recent statement echoes the previous anti-worker statements made by her company, including those of Harry Drajpuch, Chief Operating Officer of Kane is Able, wrote in the official newsletter of Kane is Able, “The Employee Free Choice Act will make it easier for unions to ‘represent’ you, with all the corruption and associated union dues you’ll be forced to pay.” – [Kane is Able Cable, July 2009, Vol. 1]

In a related matter why is Kathleen Kane signing her emails as “Pennsylvania Attorney General?”  Linda Kelly is the Pennsylvania Attorney General.


Kane Lies Abouts Attacks on Murphy Military Record

Kathleen Kane went on PCN last evening and spoke about the importance of upholding the public trust.  She then violated it to voters by lying to them.  When asked about a campaign staffer questioning Patrick Murphy’s military record she said her campaign had NEVER done so.  She also said she didn’t know where that report originated.  It originated here after a disturbing conversation I had with her Communications Manager Joshua Morrow.

Mr. Morrow called me on March 5 and I called him back.  I recall this clearly, I was parked outside a Wawa in North East, MD at the time.  He threatened me about a press release I had posted about Kane from the Murphy campaign, saying I had to delete it because it wasn’t true.  (I checked and it was entirely accurate.)  I then warned him about the dangerous ground they (the Kane campaign) were treading questioning Patrick’s service record.  I said they were alienating veterans and the blowback was hurting them, especially when Murphy explained he’d prosecuted terrorists.

The Kane campaign not only questioned his military service but his fitness to pass the bar.  Morrow told me the Minnesota test their opponent took to qualify for the bar was easier than Pennsylvania’s and said Murphy took it for that reason.  Morrow then attacked Murphy’s claim to have prosecuted terrorists.  He said, then repeated several times, that since he served for four years he wouldn’t have been assigned such important cases.  Josh went on to claim that Murphy was in the Airborne for two years before joining the JAG Corps and therefore, with only two years experience in JAG, wouldn’t have prosecuted terrorists.

The Murphy campaign then sent me the commendation for his service detailing those cases.

I wrote this article because the Kane campaign lied to me.  They told me the claim by Murphy that she had filed campaign contributions listing herself as an executive with Kane Is Able, their anti-union trucking company, was inaccurate.  I researched the FEC files and found ten contributions where Kathleen Kane listed herself as such.

The Kane campaign lies.  They cannot be trusted and the last thing we need is a liar as Attorney General.  I demand a full public apology from Ms. Kane for lying about me.

News & Notes March 27, 2012

As we near the one fourth mark of the year this also means the end of the first quarter fundraising period for federal candidates.  This means our inboxes will be full of emails asking for contributions.  Campaigns cost money so give until it hurts.  We’ve seen what the alternative is…  That’s far more painful.

I’ll be in Philadelphia tomorrow for an interview so blogging will be light.  Unfortunately, with the new texting law blogging while driving is against the law, lol.  I do so wish there was a train!

The Steel City Stonewall Democrats have endorsed Erin Molchany for Chelsa Wagner’s House seat.  Her opponent once stole $50,000 from Allegheny County taxpayers and reneged on $25,000 in taxes to the IRS.  This one’s a no brainer unless you sit on the PA Dems Executive Committee.

Bill Clinton endorsed Kathleen Kane for AG.  The co-owner of an anti-worker, anti-union trucking company co chaired Hillary’s presidential campaign in her region in 2008.  The Clintons are famous for their loyalty.  Its just too  bad they aren’t showing that same loyalty to their union friends.

Meanwhile the AFL-CIO endorsed Patrick Murphy for the post.  If you’re a working person there’s no choice in this primary.  For some insane reason they also endorsed Tim Holden after swearing they wouldn’t following his votes against working people.

The Pennsylvania AFL-CIO is conducting its 40th anniversary state convention in Philadelphia this week.  Speaking tomorrow will be D. Alexander Bullock, Chapter President of Jesse Jackson’s Rainbow PUSH Foundation in Detroit.  I’ll be interviewing him following his speech about voting rights, union organizing rights, voter education and voting registration.

The Critz campaign says their internal polling has them within 7 points of Jason Altmire.  That still spells defeat.

I applied, yet again, to the Pennsylvania Treasury Department for funds owed me from years ago.  They advertise these unclaimed monies periodically and a relative let me know I was on the list.  I applied for my money two years ago and they never responded.  Rob McCord, I want my money and I want it now.

He’d better listen to me because Pat Robertson says I’m possessed.  Heaven knows what I might do…   Oops, I meant hell.

People on the right wing are asking what makes the Trayvon Martin case national news.  it’s national news because of the Stand Your Ground Law and the fact the local police department didn’t do anything against a man who stalked, attacked then murdered a teenager for the crime of walking while Black.  If you cannot understand how this is major news you are dumb and ignorant.

The Pennsylvania Civil Rights Network has some details on the lawsuit against Tom Corbett filed for his corruption while Attorney General.  Juicy stuff.

Activist Roxanne Pauline shot this video of HHS Regional manager Joanne Grassi speaking recently in Scranton:

Kathleen Kane: Parking Ticket Deadbeat?

As a prosecutor Kathleen Kane’s responsibility is to insure we all pay for our crimes and that she be an upstanding citizen obeying all civil and criminal laws.  Why then did she have fifteen parking tickets dismissed?  Gort42 has the story.  When a parking ticket is issued the registration (plate number) is recorded and if it isn’t paid within a certain period (ten days?) then it goes to a local Magistrate Court for prosecution.  Around here that might mean a constable showing up at your door with an arrest warrant.  I’m not sure what the procedure is in Luzerne and Lackawanna Counties but I’m sure it’s similar.

Of course if the vehicle belongs to someone else or isn’t properly, legally registered, that poses a problem for the court.  The owner can say it wasn’t their ticket and have an opportunity to go to court and prove that fact.  More likely in this case, Kane didn’t update her registered, as required by law, when she relocated.  Therefore the court couldn’t locate the owner and dismissed the tickets.  Fifteen of them…  Or, she used her position to avoid paying her fines.

Which is it?  We already know Kane flaunts federal election law so why not local parking regulations?  The locations of the tickets issued could be interesting, were they near the courthouse?  Her favorite lunch hangout?  Her virulently anti-union trucking company Kane Is Able?

Who in the world gets so many tickets in the first place?  Responsible drivers and citizens don’t keep parking illegally.  Does she think her position sets her above the law?  What does that say about her fitness to be Attorney General?  I’d pose these queries directly to her campaign but they don’t return my calls any longer.  They aren’t good at answering questions about their candidate’s integrity though they are good at throwing threats at those who do it.

This really isn’t what we need in a public servant, even on a local level.  Is this the best her county can do for a DA?