Tuesday, February 20, 2018

New PA-04 District Draws Good Candidates (Goodman and Daley)

The ink is barely dry on the new PA Congressional district map and the newly drawn PA-04, most of Montgomery County and a small piece of Berks County, is drawing good Democratic candidates.  Unless Congressman Brendan Boyle (representing the current 13th district, part of Philadelphia and part of Montco) decides to run in the 4th, this new district wouldn't have an incumbent. 

Two people have announced their candidacies:

Shira Goodman (www.voteshiragoodman.com), currently the executive director of CeaseFirePA.  Here is a short bio from her press release:

Shira Goodman is a life-long resident of Montgomery County, growing up in Abington and graduating from Abington High School. After attending college at the University of Michigan and law school at Yale, Shira returned to Montgomery County and is now raising her sons with her husband Alan Woronoff. Their eldest, Jason, is a senior at Upper Dublin High School and Brandon is a freshman. Alan is a radiologist working at Abington Hospital, Jefferson Health System. The Goodman family have been longtime members of Congregation Adath Jeshurun in Elkins Park, and Shira's family is now also actively involved with Temple Sinai in Dresher. Shira is currently the Executive Director of CeaseFirePA, Pennsylvania's largest gun violence prevention organization. 

Mary Jo Daley,  currently serving as a PA State Representative.  Her state rep campaign site is www.maryjodaley.com.  Here is a short bio from her press release:

Rep. Mary Jo Daley was first elected to represent Montgomery County’s 148th Legislative District in the Pennsylvania House of Representatives in 2012. She was first elected to the Narberth Borough Council in 1992 where she went on to serve 10 years as council president. She lives with her husband Bob Winkelman in Narberth and her daughter, stepdaughter and grandchildren live across southeastern Pennsylvania.
It is likely that other Democrats will also file as candidates, and since the county has also been represented by Republicans, perhaps there will be a real race, with good candidates on both sides. 

Let the games begin!

Monday, February 19, 2018

J R Rowan in 184th State House Race

from the inbox:

South Philly native Jonathan “JR” Rowan today announced his candidacy for the 184th state house district following the retirement of Representative Bill Keller.

“Representative Keller has been a reliable advocate for South Philadelphia neighborhoods for 25 years,” said Rowan. “Our communities would not have grown and thrived without his leadership in Harrisburg and I thank Representative Keller for his public service.”

JR is a lifelong resident of South Philadelphia and has served our community for 20 years in the district offices of two state senators. He has also been involved locally as a coach at EOM Athletic Association, youth sports organizer, board member of Victims Witness Services of South Philadelphia, honorary board member of the South Philadelphia Civic Association, and Democratic Executive Committee Representative.

“South Philly needs a fighter with deep ties to the community to fill this seat and hit the ground running,” Rowan continued. “I understand our neighborhoods, and I have decades of experience working to deliver services for South Philly students, working families, and seniors.”

Rowan will have more details on his campaign and platform in the coming weeks, along with a more formal press event to discuss his candidacy.

Leon Angelichio Runs in 53 State House Race

from the inbox:

Leon Angelichio, Democratic candidate for Pennsylvania State Representative in the 53rd Legislative District, is inspired by the energy and support he is already seeing among his family, friends, and supporters. “People are fired up this year – I’ve never seen anything like it. We already have more volunteers than we had 2 years ago, and we have several upcoming fundraisers and meet-and-greets. I look forward to meeting many new people in the district!”

Angelichio is running on a platform that includes responsible, sustainable budgeting, as well as supporting education as the foundation of our future workforce, allowing women to make their own health care choices, and protecting the environment. “Did you know that only half of our fishing streams are actually fishable? That’s shameful, and it’s one of the many things I want to address in Harrisburg.”

Leon is proud to be a blue-collar candidate. “I’m one of the guys who take showers after work, not before work. I believe people are looking for someone who understands what it’s like to work hard, get your hands dirty, and make an honest living.” He has been an HVAC Licensed Master Technician for 24 years and an owner of Angie Mechanical for 8 years.

Angelichio is currently serving his second term on Lansdale Borough Council and is a member of the Administration & Finance Committee and the Public Works Committee. He is active in the Democratic Party, and is married with 2 children.

Refer to the campaign website at www.VoteLeon.com for additional information. The 53rd Legislative District includes Lansdale Borough, Hatfield Township and Borough, Franconia Township, Souderton Borough, Telford Borough (Montgomery County portion only), and Salford Township.

Sunday, February 11, 2018

Book Review: Mayor, by Michael Nutter

Book Review:  Mayor:  The Best Job in Politics, by Michael A. Nutter.  (Philadelphia, PA:  University of Pennsylvania Press, 2018)

This is a really nice book.  It’s easy to read and interesting enough to keep the reader’s attention.  Nutter’s personality, wonky and sincere, comes through.  He dedicates the book to “the incredible citizens of Philadelphia who cared about me and gave me a chance to lead our great city, …” and his teachers, his council staff, and mayoral administration.

Like most autobiographies he starts off with his childhood.  He gives a quick overview of Philadelphia culture, the middle class city neighborhood he grew up in, and the importance of which city high school you attend.  He had intended to be a doctor but changed course after not doing well in Chemistry 101.  And, yes, he discusses his work as a DJ, which actually allowed him to meet a lot of politically connected people.  He talks frankly about his growing interest in politics and his introduction to running for office (and losing) and working within the system as it is.  His description of Philadelphia political players and the campaigns he worked on (John C Anderson), and other political influences (Marian Tasco and Bill Gray) is interesting and informative.  Patience is a virtue when in office and Nutter discusses the issues he was concerned about as a city councilman, and the years it could take to pass legislation, as well as the relationships needed to get the requisite votes.  Nutter can get way out into the weeds in these sections but it is still interesting.

From there he writes about his city council and mayoral campaigns (with a bow to the commercial with his daughter).  The second part of the books is devoted to his years as mayor.  In the introduction he describes being mayor as lonely, but also as a position that allows you to “accomplish tangible things” (kindle loc 90).  In a discussion of politics he says:  “My attitude was that if you do your job, more times than not, you’ll get reelected.  But if you get to the point where you think your job is keeping your job, rather than thinking your job is to do your job, then that’s a sad place to be.” (p. 44)

One of my favorite quotes on campaigning is “When you watch a campaign, it is a window into the soul of how that candidate will govern.” (p. 61).  He governed with similar values.  He writes of having the Chief Integrity Officer’s office right next to his (p. 78)

The recession overshadowed his term as mayor.  He writes often about trying to be as transparent as possible with the people of Philadelphia.  Many of the things he wanted to do were sacrificed just to keep the city afloat.  However, he notes “we were one of the only big cities in American to have our bond rating upgraded” (p. 105) during difficult fiscal times.

He discusses not only his successes but his failures (the idea to close libraries, for example) and how proud he was to have been sued by the NRA.  He writes about spending time with the families of fallen police officers, and his speech chiding parents who don’t take care of their children.  He writes about snowstorms and earthquakes, the Occupy movement, helping people keep their homes when their neighborhoods gentrified, and the potential sale of PGW.

So there are lengthy discussions of policy, a little gossip about John Street, and a great overview of how the city works (or doesn’t).

I enjoyed this book and highly recommend it. 

Tuesday, February 06, 2018

Eagles Mural

On the train home tonight I was chatting with the woman sitting next to me.  She showed me a photo on her phone of a painting with an eagle carrying a football player.  The woman wasn't sure if the eagle was carrying a Philadelphia player to victory or carrying off a Patriots player.  I pulled up my phone and checked my Jane mail.  Low and behold there was an email about the same mural.  Turns out the eagle is carrying off Tom Brady. 

The mural was painted by artists at the Meg Seligman studio.  It is currently located at the studio, 829 Bainbridge St.  The studio is raising funds to create a larger mural.  If you want to see what it looks like now and what it could look like check out:  https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/eagles-victory-mural-sports-art#/

It was nice talking with my seatmate.

Sunday, February 04, 2018

Paul Perry Writes About Campaigning

Paul Perry, one time candidate for Pennsylvania's 7th congressional district, has written an essay describing his experience campaigning.  Read "What it's like to be rolodexed," in The Intercept (1/31//2018) .

Monday, January 29, 2018

More PA Women Running for Office

A note from our friends at the Pennsylvania Center for Women and Politics

Observers around the country have noted an uptick in the number of women running for political office, and some areas of Pennsylvania appear to be no exception to this trend. Data collected by the Pennsylvania Center for Women and Politics (PCWP) at Chatham University indicate that women ran for and won more Southeast Pennsylvania municipal offices in 2017 than in 2015.
In 2015, PCWP tallies revealed that less than a quarter of candidates (24.7 percent) in Southeastern Pennsylvania were women—Philadelphia (38.5 percent), Bucks (28 percent), Delaware (22 percent), Montgomery (21.5 percent), and Chester (26 percent). In the same area in 2017, 39.5 percent of candidates were women. 
Preliminary results of data collected from the November election indicate that across Southeast Pennsylvania approximately 41.5 percent of the winners in Philadelphia, Bucks, Chester, Delaware, and Montgomery Counties were women. In Philadelphia, where only a few races were on the ballot, women represented 62 percent of those who won their races (8 women). Many more offices were contested in the collar counties; in Bucks County 45 percent of winners were women (142 women), while women represented 42 percent of the winners in Delaware (139 women) and Montgomery (167 women) Counties. Chester County’s tally was somewhat lower, with 35 percent (96 women) female winners. The 2015 and 2017 results are based, in each county, on candidates and results available in those respective election cycles.
“In the past, we’ve usually seen women make up a little more than a third of candidates and, on average, about half of those in contested races win,” said PCWP Executive Director, Dr. Dana Brown. “This year, women won at about the same rates, but there were definitely more women on the ballot in Southeastern Pennsylvania than in 2015.”
According to Brown, the PCWP has found that the increase in women’s candidacies has not been widespread across the Commonwealth. In Allegheny and Dauphin Counties for instance, women represented only about 35 percent of both candidates and winners. “We really had been expecting to see the number of women’s candidacies, and therefore victories, increase in 2017 since we are having more and more women showing interest in learning more about what it takes to run for office,” Brown added.

Interview with Elizabeth Moro

Elizabeth Moro is a Democratic candidate for Pennsylvania's 7th congressional district. The Republican incumbent recently announced that he won't run for re-election so this race has become a lot more interesting. Ms. Moro's campaign got in touch about an interview. This blog used to do a few interviews most years and they were popular posts, so we'll try it again and see how it goes.

Ms. Moro's campaign website is https://www.elizabethmoro.com/ .  My thanks to the campaign for their outreach and patience with my process.

In In the past you raised money for Republican women candidates in Delaware, and now running as Democratic woman. What issues are universal for women candidates?

On January 20th, I joined with countless women across the country to demand equal treatment and speak out against sexual harassment. The pernicious culture that seeks to relegate females to second-class citizenship hurts women everywhere, regardless of their political affiliation. The gender pay gap, the absence of laws that guarantee a woman paid parental leave, and the fight against domestic violence are universal issues for women. Less than 15% of the engineering workforce is female, and young girls often lack access to training in STEM fields. I believe that a woman’s place is wherever she wants it to be, and I will promote this mantra in Congress.

Early in your career you worked at a non-profit institute that looked at global issues. Tell us what you learned from this experience.

My experience only buttressed my longstanding commitment to the preservation of our planet. One of the central tenets of my campaign platform is environmental protection, and when examining global issues, none can deny the destructive effects of man made climate change. When the icecaps melt, and Decorah, Iowa becomes a seaside getaway, it will be too late. Luckily, we have a unique opportunity to combat and reverse these harmful trends. I support a renewed commitment to the Paris Climate Accord and a prompt transition to renewable energy. We are witnessing astounding job growth in the clean energy sector. Instead of focusing on bringing back coal, let’s train workers for the economy of the future.

On twitter you call for campaign finance reform. If you could design the perfect legislation on this, what would it look like?

The Citizens United decision has effectively transformed our democracy into a plutocracy. Candidates indebted to a wealthy donor class are completely divorced from the issues that matter most to working families. Assaults on organized labor, public education, and Medicare expansion can flourish in a system where candidates are beholden to the highest bidder.

I support the Move To Amend organization’s proposed Constitutional Amendment which states, “The rights protected by the Constitution of the United States are the rights of natural persons only.” The Amendment also limits contribution amounts and rejects the misconception that limiting political spending is an unconstitutional suppression of free speech.

Regarding the opioid epidemic, you call for education and better health care. In an ideal world what practical steps can Congress take to address this and other substance abuse issues?

The United States has roughly five percent of the world’s population, but around twenty-two percent of its prison population. The “War on Drugs” has been a colossal policy disaster, offering little more than the warehousing of nonviolent low-grade drug offenders. The growth of the prison industrial complex has done nothing to address the core issues surrounding drug addiction. In order to aggressively combat the opioid epidemic, treatment programs must be adequately funded, especially those that use medication-assisted treatment. Drug courts that prioritize treatment over incarceration are essential, and pharmaceutical behemoths and their drug dealers in white lab coats must be held accountable for their role and face more stringent penalties.

On your campaign website you say you have lived a life of public service. Readily available information shows this to be primarily related to school, scouts, and church activities, and work with local conservation / environmental organizations. How does this prepare you for elected office as opposed to the traditional political path of being elected at the local level and then working up to federal office (like Congress)?

I unequivocally believe that there is an assault on the foundational principles that hold our democracy up. A country that espoused equal opportunity and upward mobility has adopted a country club mindset where only the powerful and well connected have a voice. While I have never been an elected official, a myriad of other experiences prepare me to lead in Congress. My efforts as a conservationist pitted me against powerful corporate interests, and I helped lead a successful effort to prevent the superfluous development of a critical green space. When I was a single mother working while raising a family, I lived the challenges facing so many in my district. Republicans in Congress consistently support trade deals and policies that hurt working families. I couldn’t sit on the sidelines and watch this happen. I am running a grassroots campaign focused on governmental accountability and transparency. As a strong female candidate, I am ready to step into Congress tomorrow and lead.

What are the “low hanging fruit” issues that you think Democrats and Republicans can work together to accomplish in Congress?

There are a plethora of issues that should have a bipartisan consensus. Medicare expansion, environmental protection, and eschewing corporate welfare in favor of Main Street America seem like common sense positions. I have a history of bringing people together and finding common ground. The American people are tired of gridlock, ad hominem attacks, and a culture of divisiveness. While I will never betray my fundamental ideals or the people who elected me, I am willing to work with representatives who want real results for their constituents, not just an increase in Twitter followers.

You say you went to college on Pell grant and loans. What can be done to make college more affordable?

As a college education is becoming more and more essential, it is also becoming less and less affordable. I fundamentally oppose for-profit education that seeks to take advantage of students’ dreams and saddle them with insurmountable debt. Any student that attends a public university or community college should graduate debt free. I am also an avid proponent of alternative options for students including bolstering union apprenticeship programs and providing grants and subsidies for two-year colleges and technical schools. Unions built America’s once vibrant middle class, and I support our labor unions without prevarication.

What question didn’t I ask that you would like to answer?

“Why is it of paramount importance to finally address the egregious partisan gerrymandering in the United States?”

Voters should pick their representatives, not the other way around. Fair districts encourage public involvement and foster an enhanced sense of community. Districts that weave in and out of multiple counties are a direct affront to the spirit of representative democracy. I applaud the Pennsylvania Supreme Court for its recent decision ruling the districts “clearly, plainly, and palpably” unconstitutional. It's far past time for Pennsylvania to send a delegation to the House of Representatives that represents Pennsylvanians.

Wednesday, January 24, 2018

Jonathan Tamari and Chris Cillizza

Yesterday CNN's Chris Cillizza spoke with the Inquirer's Jonathan Lai.  Today he writes about the Inquirer's Jonathan Tamari's interview with Rep. Pat Meehan.  The column is called "Oh, Pat Meehan.  No, no, no, no."  There is also a snippet of Tamari's interview on CNN. 

Interesting read.