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No Secret Ballot For GOP Endorsement Is Same As Union Card Check

The Employee Free Choice Act (EFCA), commonly known as “Card Check,” is the misnamed legislation promoted by Organized Labor to stop the hemorrhaging within union ranks.  (From a high near 40 percent after World War II, union representation in the private sector has plummeted to just 7 percent today). It would make organizing a union infinitely easier by eliminating the current secret ballot vote used to determine whether employees wish to unionize.

Common sense tells us that whenever a secret ballot is not employed, many people will not vote their conscience.  Instead, they fall victim to intimidation and arm-twisting, and end up casting a ballot in favor of the person whom they are strongly encouraged —AKA “told” — to support.  The result is a rigged, Banana Republic election, anything but “Free Choice.”

The Republican Party, on both the state and national level, has vigorously opposed Card Check, not only because it is grossly unfair to companies, but much more important, because it would cavalierly discard that most fundamental American bedrock value: free and fair elections.  It is a right that has been held sacred in this nation, and has allowed the people to chart their own course and make their own decisions, free of outside influence and intimidation.

Given this, it seems extremely hypocritical that the Republican State Committee of Pennsylvania — while opposing Card Check — jettisons free and fair voting for its own members by refusing to allow secret ballot votes on important issues, such as Party endorsements.

And now, on the eve of the meeting in which the Committee will vote whether to endorse a candidate for the U.S. Senate (or not endorse at all), that issue has become a firestorm that is only growing in intensity.

The big question centers on whether the Party will endorse millionaire Steve Welch, a favorite among several GOP leaders, including Republican Governor Tom Corbett. The problem many have with Welch is that he voted for Barack Obama in the 2008 Democratic primary and supported former Congressman Joe Sestak, a stalwart liberal consistently to the Left of Obama. Welch claims he left the GOP out of frustration that it wasn’t conservative enough, leaving more than a few Republicans perplexed.

(In an email to PoliticsPA this week, Sestak wrote of his meeting with Welch: “He expressed support of me and what I stood for. He seemed nice and, separately, supportive of the Democratic Party and its efforts.”)

So would the Party really risk massive damage to itself by endorsing an Obama-voter, and make the sin mortal by doing so without a secret ballot?

They can’t be that dumb.

But this being Pennsylvania’s Republican Party, all bets are off.

Should they endorse Welch, it will be a double whammy, throwing the entire Party into a quagmire from which it would be difficult to escape.

State Committee would cement the perception that its endorsements are behind-the-scenes deals by inside powerbrokers hell-bent on executing individual agendas — the rank-and-file Party faithful be damned.  More damaging, it would play out — in full public view — exactly how ruthlessly efficient Card Check tactics are, making unions blush with envy.

How could Party leaders possibly explain with a straight face that the process was fair, and that no political pressure and intimidation took place — when Governor Corbett and certain State Committee leaders were openly pushing Welch?  Would it really be plausible to believe that the message “do it for the Party, and do it for your Governor — or else your political career stops here” wouldn’t be made loud and clear?

Even more telling, how could the Party explain Committee members’ change of heart in endorsing Welch after only one of five State Committee regional caucus straw polls voted for Welch as their candidate of choice? In other words, of the five regional “pre-election” votes that took place — voted on by the very same people who are now being asked to change their vote and endorse Welch — only one made Welch a winner. Significantly, Welch’s own Southeast Caucus refused to hold a straw poll, and Corbett was not even able to deliver his hometown Southwest Caucus for Welch.

 

This is by no means an indictment of Steve Welch. It has nothing to do with him, and everything to do with the Republican Party. Clearly, in this particular situation, the wisest course of action would be to ignore the Governor’s misguided endorsement and refuse to endorse any candidate.

 

In allowing grassroots Republicans across Pennsylvania to make their choice, free of Party endorsements, a civil war inside the GOP would be averted, and the best candidate — the people’s choice — would emerge to take on incumbent Bob Casey.  And if Welch wins a non-endorsement primary, his victory would not be tainted with the perception that he “bought” his way to the nomination.  Regardless of the outcome, no one can argue with the results if rank-and-file Republican voters make that decision.

Besides gaining immense credibility with many Republicans should it not endorse a candidate, State Committee could score a huge coup by then amending its bylaws to allow for that which is uniquely American: secret ballot elections.

Otherwise, it will become known as Republican State Committee, Local 666.

 

An accredited member of the media, Chris Freind is an independent columnist, television/radio commentator, and investigative reporter who operates his own news bureau, www.FreindlyFireZone.com  His self-syndicated model has earned him the largest cumulative media voice in Pennsylvania. He can be reached at CF@FreindlyFireZone.com

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January 27, 2012 at 8:26 am Comments (0)

What they don’t want you to know about drilling in the Marcellus…

…it creates jobs.

Nearly 48,000 people have been hired in the last year by industries related to drilling in the Marcellus Shale, and 71 percent of those people were Pennsylvania residents. Nine thousand of them were hired in the first three months of 2011.

The average salary was higher than the statewide average.

And the rate of hiring is accelerating.

While there has been much talk of the economic impact of the Marcellus, most of it has been anecdotal, until the Department of Labor and Industry quietly published its most up-to-date hard numbers about two weeks ago.

Just for fun, before you click on the link, imagine what all the anti-Marcellus zealots are saying to refute this. Here’s what I came up with:

–All those jobs are just low-paying support jobs
–The money doesn’t make up for the environmental damage
–TAX THE DRILLERS! TAX THEM TAX THEM TAX THEM!
–The numbers in the report were made up by the Corbett administration
All those jobs are going to out-of-staters Oops. Sorry. That one’s no good anymore.
–TAX THE DRILLERS! IT’S FOR THE CHILDREN! DEAR GOD WON’T SOMEBODY PLEASE THINK ABOUT THE CHILDREN!?!?

OK. Now go to the comments section, which is apparently for Bolsheviks only, and see how many you got right. I was four for five the last time I checked. What you’ll see here is cognitive dissonance in action. The Marcellus-haters want the gas industry to fail. They want to see poor rural Pennsylvanians stay poor and rural. They want double-digit unemployment provided they’re not among the unemployed. The problem is that it isn’t happening. In response, the haters have begun moving the goalposts. The jobs may be here, but they’re not good enough. The gas companies may be paying taxes, but they’re not paying enough. We may not see environmental damage now, but trust me it’s there. Repeat ad nauseam.

Usually this is the part where I’d conclude by shaking my head and saying that they “just don’t understand”, but I think they do understand. I’ve been working in the environmental field for almost 15 years, and I’ve seen these groups in action over and over. There is a significant contingent of people who are anti-industry and anti-development. All their talk about taxes, jobs, and the environment is just a cover. The fact of the matter is that they don’t want to see productive enterprises thrive because it empowers the individual and disempowers them. If you have a good job and bright future, you don’t need a grievance group to do anything for you. The professionally aggrieved become irrelevant, and it drives them insane.

If you don’t believe me, ask yourself what exact conditions would have to exist before these groups would be satisfied. What would it take to shut them up? You could levy all the taxes and write all the regulations you want, but they’d still call for more. No amount of evidence will make them change their minds (see above). The only thing they’ll accept is an outright ban. They got a temporary one in New York State, and I predict that when that ban expires they’ll call for an extension saying that there hasn’t been “enough” study of the consequences of drilling. They want it shut down permanently, and nothing else will suffice.

At one time in history, Pennsylvania was the most productive place on earth. At that same time in history, Pennsylvania was great, and when I say great, I mean great-among-the-nations great. That is not a coincidence. We have the chance to be great again, and we owe it to ourselves to make sure that a bunch of power-hungry junior autocrats don’t stand in the way.

May 30, 2011 at 6:21 pm Comments (0)

Poppy Seed Bagel = Drugs

This is an appropriate response, no?

The birth of a couple’s first child is supposed to be a joyous occasion — and for the first three days, it was for Elizabeth Mort and her partner Alex Rodriguez. But then the commonwealth of Pennsylvania took their young daughter away after the hospital where she was born reported the mother for testing positive on a drug test. Her drug of choice? An “everything” bagel from Dunkin’ Donuts.

“The best thing in my life had been taken from me and there was nothing I could do to get her back,” Mort says. For five excruciating days, officials with Lawrence County Children and Youth Services (LCCYS) kept mother away from child, all based on a positive drug test they didn’t even bother to investigate — and which the hospital never even informed the mother about. Now, aided by the ACLU of Pennsylvania, the parents are fighting back with a lawsuit against both LCCYS and Jameson Hospital.

“We decided to file a lawsuit so that Jameson Hospital and Lawrence County Children and Youth Services could not do this to another innocent family,” she explains. “They need to research and ask questions before they jump to conclusions.”

That’s some bagel.

Having a Polish mom and a Ukrainian dad, we use to eat poppy seed rolls all the time for the holidays. It wouldn’t be Christmas or Easter without makowiec. In fact, my wife even learned to make them so MY daughter can enjoy them.

Idiots.

I guess it’s only a matter of time before we get picked up.

November 9, 2010 at 10:41 pm Comment (1)

Senator Robbins’ vote for HB 2497 is a vote for Big Government and Big Spending

The vote on HB 2497 occurred this afternoon at roughly 2:10pm.

HB 2497 has been labeled as the “SERS & PSERS pension reform bill”.  Unfortunately, the bill doesn’t provide real reform at all.  Instead, it provides a way to finance the unsustainable pension system.

The Bill passed the State Senate 41 to 8.

Senator Bob Robbins of Pennsylvania’s 50th Senatorial District voted for the bill. Once again, Senator Robbins voted for big government and big spending.

In contrast, I feel strongly that the State Pension system is completely unsustainable. If elected, I WILL NOT become part of the problem. I have signed a promissory with EmpowerPA.org whereby if I am elected I will decline a state pension. That document is available for on-line review HERE.

If I were a member of the Pennsylvania State Senate, I would have joined with Senators Folmer, Eichelberger, and others and voted AGAINST HB 2497.

The bill is essentially a 30-year mortgage on current and future generations of Pennsylvanian’s. This ‘mortgage’ will be used to bailout the Unions as a payback for past and future financial support and donations. This is highlighted by the PSEA’s overwhelming support for the bill and their efforts to push for it’s passage (read HERE).

The Bill FAILS to move the state pension system to a 401K-style plan, which is the ONLY way to properly reform the pension system. Instead, it was amended to include the creation of a new ‘fiscal office’, which is just another layer of unnecessary bureaucracy in an already bloated legislative staff. Our legislators need to understand that we need LESS spending, LESS bureaucracy, and LESS self-service. What we need is MORE fiscal responsibility, MORE relief for taxpayers, and MORE public service.

Today Senate leadership, including Bob Robbins, voted to bankrupt future generations of Pennsylvanians by voting for HB 2497.

If Senator Robbins’ past voting history FOR 2AM pay raises . . . FOR unconstitutional budgets . . . and FOR himself and his pension are not enough reason to vote him out on November 2nd, today’s vote FOR a 30-year mortgage to fund his pension should give voters of the area good reason to vote Bob Robbins out of office on Election Day.

.

October 14, 2010 at 3:24 pm Comments (0)

The 2010 General Election: Our Opportunity to Take Out the Trash

The movement is growing . . . people are angry . . . but this time is different! Rather than sitting at home and throwing their shoes (and gosh knows what else) at the TV, people are getting out and trying to make a difference. Devoted Democrats and Republicans alike are annoyed at that “darn TEA Party movement”. Democrats call them “right-wing nut jobs”, and Republicans call them “spoilers”, “kooks”, and (of all things) “right-wing nut jobs”. But who are they really? These “so called TEA Partiers” (as they were referred to by Alan Colmes this morning on Fox) are normal people like you and me who are fed up with big government, big spending, and the continued loss of our freedom and liberty. We are sick and tired of the establishment (referring to BOTH parties) running the show, and we are getting involved in politics like never before. They (the TEA Partiers) are SO MUCH like you and I that they ACTUALLY ARE you and I. If you are reading this message right now, YOU are one of US.

We call ourselves TEA Partiers, but we don’t actually have a “party”. We simply describe ourselves as “conservatives”. Some of us have tried to be “conservative Republicans” . . . some of us have tried to be “conservative Democrats” . . . some of us have tried both! Some are trying to take the Republican Party back . . . while others yet are considering starting their own Conservative Party. There are some of us that have gone so far as dare to be a conservative unaffiliated independent with NO tie to ANY party. We are, however, all one and the same.

Yesterday there were some very big Primary races across the United States. The results of those races are surprising some people . . . but not us. Conservative TEA Partiers are beating Republicans on their own turf, and overwhelmingly so in some races. Today the talking heads are saying “sure, they won but they have NO CHANCE in the General Election”. To that I say . . . “really? . . . REALLY? . . . seriously?”

Most (if not all) of you know that I am involved in my own race right now. I am running against a 20-year incumbent Republican State Senator (Bob Robbins). My race exemplifies the battle of the TEA Party movement, and here are a few clear illustrations:

CONSERVATIVE vs. NOT

ME:
I am a conservative. I firmly support a platform of “good government”.

MY OPPONENT:
My opponent is a Republican . . . but he is NO conservative. When asked questions he tells people to look at his record. Well, when you do actually look at his record you find that he is not for limited government, fiscal responsibility, or liberty. This is clearly shown in his poor marks on the Liberty Index. CLICK HERE for an outline of the results of the Liberty Index.

LIMITED GOVERNMENT vs. NOT

ME:
I am FOR a platform of smaller and more limited government, term limits, fiscal responsibility, and public service. I have outlined my full platform and details regarding my political views on my website. CLICK HERE for details.

MY OPPONENT:
My opponent supports NONE of those things. He voted FOR an unconstitutional state budget. The problems with the budget and his support for it were outlined in an on-line article HERE. It was also pointed out by Bob Guzzardi of the Conservative Reform Network HERE. He spends tens of thousands of dollars to protect his LONG career. This was described in a blog post by Rich Talbert of Grove City HERE. His history of fiscal irresponsibility was documented by former Republican State Committeewoman Helen Kirk HERE.

TERM LIMITS vs. NOT

ME:
I am for term limits. If elected I will limit myself to no longer than 2 terms (8 years) as a State Senator. I have agreed and signed the EmpowerPA.org candidate survey that reflects that opinion HERE.

MY OPPONENT:
My opponent has PROVEN that he does not support term limits by his 20 year career as a State Senator.

NO STATE PENSIONS FOR ELECTED OFFICIALS vs. NOT

ME:
I feel that the State Pensions offered to elected officials are not sustainable. I have signed a promissory with EmpowerPA.org whereby if I am elected I will decline a state pension. That document is available for on-line review HERE.

MY OPPONENT:
My opponent is not only NOT against his pension, he is willing to do anything to keep it . . . including running as both a Democrat and a Republican this year. Don’t believe it? Well, don’t take my word for it . . . read the article written by Grove City’s Rich Talbert on the topic HERE.

Is Biros vs. Robbins Northwest Pennsylvania’s equivalent to O’Donnell vs. Castle in Delaware?

When you simply examine the shape and taste of a political race, it is interesting to compare my race to yesterday’s race in Delaware. While the election in Delaware was a Primary, there are a number of similarities. First, the Delaware Primary will be much like the General Election here in the 50th District because I believe it will ultimately be decided by conservatives. Pennsylvania’s 50th District is very conservative, and I don’t believe that left-leaning Democrats will be much of a force on November 2nd. The biggest difference, though, is that being a General Election my race will benefit from the votes of independent and conservative Democrat voters.

Stepping inside the voters minds for a minute

None of us know how voters will be thinking on November 2nd. No one can anticipate the attitudes of the people that get up, get dressed, and drive to the polls on Election Day. I would, however, be interested to do a poll on voters reactions to the ballot itself . . . as that will be the moment when voters make their final decision on who should get their vote.

Below is an image of the actual ballot as it will appear on the voting machines in the 50th District (a printable copy is available for download as a PDF HERE):

STRAIGHT PARTY:

Upon close review you will find something that rarely happens. Under “straight party”, you will see that voters will have the opportunity to vote for the party of “unaffiliated independent”. Get accustomed to this as I have a feeling that it is something that will begin to appear more often as the years progress.

SENATOR IN GENERAL ASSEMBLY 50TH DISTRICT:

The race between me and Bob Robbins is the perfect example of a race between “TEA Party mentality” and “the old guard”. In true Arlen Spector style, Bob Robbins’ listing on the ballot tells you everything that you need to know about him . . . DEMOCRATIC/REPUBLICAN . . . he is trying to be EVERYTHING to EVERYONE and will do ANYTHING to win. As a true TEA Partier, my listing on the ballot tells you everything that you need to know about me . . . UNAFFILIATED INDEPENDENT . . . controlled by NO party.

How will voters react on November 2nd when they look at their choices for Senator in the 50th District? I’m not sure, but I’m hoping that we all remember that on November 2nd we need to “Take Out the Trash!”

.

September 15, 2010 at 3:40 pm Comments (0)

LibertyIndex.com Provides a Report Card for PA Legislators

Have you ever asked an elected official where they stand on an issue and they simply respond with “check my record”? Well, in Mercer County that is an every day occurrence. As a candidate for public office, people ask me my opinions on issues every day. I respond as openly and as completely as possible as a matter of transparency. When I can I provide written responses and I usually attempt to post those responses to my blog or my website. Unfortunately, INCUMBENTS don’t offer the same level of transparency. Why? Because, as ‘career politicians’ they are more concerned about staying out of the spotlight and simply hanging on to what they have. They figure that if they keep their mouths shut they will squeak through another election cycle without being spotted and called out. Uninformed voters will vote for them because they don’t know any better.

When an incumbent elected official says “check my record”, have you? Most people don’t have the knowledge or resources to really dig down deep and research the voting record of an elected official . . . and that is why the response works so well. Luckily for us, there are individuals and groups out there that are willing to do the hard work for us. One example of such a resource is the LibertyIndex.

This Liberty Index is produced by RGI Inc, the Conservative Reform Network and The Conservative Reform PAC , Bob Guzzardi, President http://www.bobguzzardi.com/ . According to the LibertyIndex.com website, “The purpose of the Liberty Index is to allow the user to find out how his or her Senator and Representative voted and to give the user our evaluation of his or her performance. Because the Liberty Index advances an agenda of Limited Government and Economic Freedom, we have rated legislation whether or not it advances that goal.”

I’ve used the LibertyIndex.com as a tool in the past. Some of you may remember that in early 2009 I published the results from the LibertyIndex.com for each of the legislators that represent Mercer County. That blog post can be read HERE.

Mr. Guzzardi recently released new statistics for the 2009-2010 legislative voting calendar. I was, of course, eager to see how the legislators from Mercer County performed. I was not surprised by the results, but you may be. As a summary for the 2010 session, Mercer County legislators scored as follows:

Senator Bob Robbins (D/R – 50th): F-
Representative Dick Stevenson (R – 8th): C
Representative Mark Longietti (D-7th): F-
Representative Michele Brooks (R-17th): B-

Hmmmmm. On a scale of Limited Government, Economic Freedom, and Liberty ONLY TWO Mercer County legislators scored at or above average. Conservative Representatives Stevenson (C) and Brooks (B-) had voting records to be proud of. On the other hand, not-so-conservative Democrat/Republican Senator Bob Robbins (F-) and Democrat Representative Mark Longietti (F-) received frightening ratings. Interesting, don’t you think?
With the basic scores in hand, we should all be asking ourselves “are these legislators really representing us properly?”. Is this a fluke? Well, perhaps we should dig a little deeper. According to the date from the LibertyIndex.com, here are the results for those same legislators since 2003:

Upon review of the voting records of Mercer County’s legislators over a longer period of time, we find that Senator Bob Robbins and Representative Mark Longietti score at a consistent D+ to F- range. Representatives Stevenson and Brooks continue to keep their heads above water with consistent A- to C ratings.

So again I ask “are these legislators really representing us properly”. “Is this a fluke?”

When I look at the data it seems clear to me that Representatives Stevenson and Brooks are working to promote Liberty in Northwest Pennsylvania. It also seems clear that Senator Bob Robbins and Representative Mark Longietti are working hard to strip us of Liberty and they are clearly working against limited government and economic freedom.

ARE THERE OTHER INDEXES?

There are plenty of resources out on the web that provide summaries of data just like the Liberty Index.  The Liberty Index, though, focuses on issues that are important to ME (and those of us that are committed to Good Government).  I actually compared these same legislators from Mercer County in my own index just a few months ago. 

In my blog post titled “The Mercer Conservative Index: Grading Lawmakers and Candidates on a Simple Scale of Fiscal Conservatism and Public Service” I compared Mercer County’s legislators on a scale that I designed based on such issues as intellect, public service, likability, and transparency & accountability.  Oddly enough, the results of that comparison were not that different than the Liberty Index.  Specifically, Senator Bob Robbins rated an “F” (see the details HERE), and Representative Michele Brooks rated a “B” (see the details HERE).  Could these grades be so far off if there are such close similarities between the end results?

WHAT IS PARTICULARLY INTERESTING?

When you look at the results of the Liberty Index and the Mercer Conservative Index, don’t you wonder how or why these very different legislators seem to stick together and support each other so fiercely? If they don’t agree philosophically or legislatively, why do they support each other politically?  Does it go back to the idea that political party and ideals really don’t matter?  Does it go back to the fact that incumbents simply support incumbents (like in the Mercer County Incumbent Party) because they are ultimately more concerned with their ‘careers’ than public service? 

PLEASE DON’T TAKE MY WORD FOR IT

I invite you all to check out the data on the LibertyIndex.com on your own. The on-line database is rich with valuable information. You can view the records of each and every legislator, and those records link to the voting records as well as the actual legislation in question. Take a close look at their records and decide for yourself if you agree with the work that your legislators are doing for you.

TALK TO YOUR LEGISLATORS

I have taken the time to gather the detailed results for the legislators that represent Mercer County. I’ve collected those results into one downloadable PDF document that can be accessed HERE. I urge you to download it and print it out. The next time you meet up with one of Mercer County’s legislators, ask them where they stand on the issues of Liberty, Limited Government, and Economic Freedom. When they say “check my record”, please pull the document out and tell them that you have. Then remember that moment when you go to vote on November 2nd.

September 9, 2010 at 2:28 pm Comments (0)

Kelly vs. Dahlkemper in Mercer County

Yesterday, AARP hosted a candidate forum in Hermitage, PA where Republican candidate Mike Kelly took on Democrat incumbent Congresswoman Kathy Dahlkemper. I attended the event along with a few hundred of my closest friends. I have been interested to see the two candidates take on the issues face to face, and today’s event achieved that perfectly.

While I don’t have the time to devote to outlining all of the details of the event, I’d like to focus on a number of highlights . . . from start to finish.

The Start

The debate began with a coin toss. Mike Kelly chose heads and won. It was his option on who would make the first opening statement. Mike said “Ladies first”. It was cute, but many of us laughed out loud. We all know that this is NOT a race that involves any type of chivalry, so the attempt was laughable.

Kathy Dahlkemper’s opening statements outlined her achievements from her first 20 months in office. She mentioned securing Medicare, improving health care for seniors, and attempting to secure Social Security. Kathy also stated that she didn’t like the “direction that our country was going” and she felt that we need to invest in our children and invest in infrastructure and move forward . . . rather than moving back to the near collapse of our economy. For a minute . . . just a minute . . . she sounded like a TEA Partier. Hmmmm.

Mike Kelly’s opening statement started with “I’m not here as a politician”. I laughed out loud. He went on to say that he would be speaking from the heart today because he, too, is concerned. He highlighted his thoughts by saying things like “things are not good” and “the future is not rosey”. He rallied the TEA Partiers in the crowd by saying that it isn’t “We the People” anymore . . . it is “We the Government”. In closing he stated “the beneficiary should be the American people . . . not a Party”. For a minute . . . just a minute . . . he sounded like an Independent. Hmmmmm.

The Middle

The questions started with predetermined questions from AARP including topics like the economy, stabilizing Social Security, Medicare, and the deficit.

The line of questioning then moved to questions that were submitted by attendees of the forum. Those questions ranged from Cap and Trade, farming, education, tort reform, and international relations.

The topics were diverse, but the answers to the questions from both candidates were extremely interesting. Not so much in what they said but how they said it . . . if you know what I mean.

My Scoring

To explain and rate the general conversation, allow me to provide a few examples and score some of the highlights of the debate accordingly:

Kathy Dahlkemper claimed that the problems that we have were there before she was elected . . . Kelly responded by saying “don’t blame Bush”. [+1 for Kelly]

SCORE: Kelly 1 point; Dahlkemper 0 points

Kathy Dahlkemper stated that Social Security is the only program that never contributed one cent to the national debt and, instead, it is a source to borrow from. She feels that it needs to be protected in a “lock box” . . . which received groans from the crowd (including myself). [-1 for Dahlkemper]

SCORE: Kelly still 1 point; Dahlkemper -1 points

In response to a question regarding the recent cut in Medicare payments by 21%, Mike Kelly blamed health care reform legislation. Kathy Dahlkemper had to explain that Mike obviously didn’t understand the question as the change in Medicare had nothing to do with the recent health care legislation bill that was passed. [+1 Dahlkemper]

SCORE: Kelly still 1 point; Dahlkemper 0 points

Regarding the deficit, Dahlkemper stated that she is a Blue Dog Democrat and believes in fiscal responsibility . . . and we all laughed. [-1 Dahlkemper]

SCORE: Kelly still 1 point; Dahlkemper -1 point

In response to the same question regarding the deficit, Kelly said “We need to hold elected officials accountable to the people . . . not accountable to the Party”. To this I say “Bravo”, and once again Kelly sounds (for just one minute) like an Independent and not a Republican. [+1 Kelly]

SCORE: Kelly 2 points; Dahlkemper -1 point

In response to Cap and Trade, Kelly didn’t answer the question. [-1 Kelly]
Dahlkemper’s response is that she voted against Cap and Trade [+1 Dahlkemper]

SCORE: Kelly still 1 point; Dahlkemper 0 points

In an interesting twist, Kelly felt it necessary to say that Dahlkemper only voted for Cap and Trade at 5 minutes before midnight after making certain that her Party had the necessary votes to pass it. For this, Mike Kelly loses points as it was an unnecessary jab and it made him look petty

SCORE: Kelly 0 points; Dahlkemper 0 points

In response to a question regarding helping farmers, Kelly pointed out that a big problem is the death tax. [+1 Kelly]
Dahlkemper, on the other hand, said that the death tax is fair is not problem with a little tax planning. Ugh. Really! Seriously? [-1 Dahlkemper]

SCORE: Kelly 1 point; Dahlkemper -1 point

Something odd happened during the question regarding tort reform. Dahlkemper stated that tort reform is actually a state issue, but in some strange twist the conversation turned to “Cash for Clunkers”. In the end, Kelly explained that $600,000 in “cash for clunkers” money went through his dealership and was paid TO customers. He stated that he was not a beneficiary of the stimulus money. Kathy Dahlkemper, however, correctly stated that he was a beneficiary of the profits generated from the increased business that came from “cash for clunkers”. Mrs. Dahlkemper clearly won the argument and earned a point. [+1 Dahlkemper]

SCORE: Kelly still 1 point; Dahlkemper 0 points

The End

In the closing comments, Mike Kelly explained that it comes down to “faith and trust”. He stated the “we have lost faith in the people that represent us”. He explained that they don’t vote for us but vote with their party. (once again . . . for just a minute . . . Kelly sounds more like an Independent than a Republican). He explained that this leads to a lack of trust. He said that when he comes home from Washington he wants to say “I voted the way my people told me . . . not my Party”.

For this Mike earns another point in my book [+1 Kelly]

SCORE: Kelly 2 points; Dahlkemper 0 points

In Dahlkemper’s closing comments, she stated that there are two things that she looks at when she votes. (1) her conscience (2) her constituents. It all sounds nice as a sound bite, but she seemed to offend a huge number of her constituents with her health care vote and it never seemed to bother her conscience a bit. I won’t discount her points for it, but it makes me say “Hmmmmm”.

However, in a horrible display of lack of self control, Mike Kelly made a series of annoyed faces in reaction to many of Dahlkemper’s remarks and markedly so during her closing remarks. I found the move distasteful and I have to discount a point for it [-1 Kelly]

Final Score

In the end, Kelly earned 1 point, and Dahlkemper ended up with 0.

Comments and Suggestions (even though no one asked for them)

Dahlkemper looked good. She looked calm, cool, collected, and confident. She held her own and kept her composure. If she can maintain this, she will do well. When she gets shaken, she makes mistakes. Mike managed to do it to her once during the debate, and the general anger of the crowd seemed to concern her (and rightly so). This could be her weakness.

Mike looked nervous, flushed, angry (something I’ve warned him about on multiple occasions), and (at times) frustrated. He needs to calm down and keep his composure. He needs to be the “loveable teddy bear” that we all like so much, and his alter ego (the “angry football player”) needs to stay tucked away for the next few months. If he can do this he will do VERY well. If not, he will self destruct.

What did I like?

I enjoyed seeing that Dahlkemper made attempts to sound like a fiscal conservative, although actions speak louder than words. So far she has demonstrated that she is only a fiscal conservative in the press . . . but not in real life.

I enjoyed hearing Kelly make numerous statements that it is about “We the People” and NOT the Party, but again . . . actions speak louder than words. Unfortunately, Mike has demonstrated that he is all about “the Party” and he is prepared to march with the GOP (even if it is off the next cliff). Why? Because that is where the money is.

Most of all, I think it is really funny that everyone wants to paint themselves as a “fiscal conservative Independent”. Unfortunately, we all know that there is only ONE of those in this area . . . and SHE is running for State Senate!

:-D
August 31, 2010 at 12:15 pm Comments (0)

On The Road to Harrisburg: Biros’ Candidacy for State Senate is Official

PRESS RELEASE
MERCER COUNTY, PENNSYLVANIA

Independent State Senate candidate Roberta Biros received verification from the Pennsylvania Department of State this afternoon that the nomination papers that she filed on Thursday, July 29, have gone unchallenged. According to Pennsylvania election law, all challenges to nomination papers were to be filed with the Department of State no later than 5 pm on Monday, August 9. As a result, her name will appear as an independent candidate for State Senate in Pennsylvania’s 50th District on the November 2nd General Election ballot.

To mark the closing of the nomination process, Mrs. Biros today proudly introduced the members of her campaign committee, Citizens to Elect Roberta Biros for State Senate.

Dr. Martha Moore of Sandy Lake serves as Committee Treasurer.

“Dr. Moore is a former CPA and a well-respected medical professional,” Mrs.Biros said. “As the primary administrator of the committee, Dr. Moore is the lead for all campaign and committee activities. I am thrilled to have someone of her reputation and character working with me.”

Mrs. Biros selected Joe Zentis of Hermitage to be her Committee Chairman.

“Mr. Zentis brings a high level of energy and creative thinking to the team,” Mrs. Biros said. “He is a well-known writer, author, and entrepreneur, and his level of commitment to my Platform of Good Government is unmatched. Mr. Zentis will be involved in campaign strategy, planning, and team building.”

As a hands-on candidate, Roberta will be working shoulder-to-shoulder with Dr. Moore, Mr. Zentis, and her entire team of volunteers during her campaign for State Senate in Pennsylvania’s 50th District. If you are interested in joining Roberta’s campaign team, please contact the campaign committee by email at biros4senate@gmail.com or access the campaign website at http://www.electbiros.com/ for additional information.

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August 11, 2010 at 11:47 pm Comments (0)

Biros Files Nomination Papers

Mercer County: Thursday, July 29, 2010

Roberta Biros, Independent Candidate for State Senate, officially filed her nomination papers in the Office of the Secretary of the Commonwealth today, July 29, 2010.

Roberta personally delivered the nomination papers that qualify her as a candidate for State Senate in Pennsylvania’s 50th District this afternoon. According to the election standards of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, Roberta was required to gather 827 signatures from registered voters in the 50th District (including Mercer, Crawford, and portions of Butler and Lawrence Counties) in order for her name to appear as an Unaffiliated Independent candidate in the November election.

Roberta Biros’ opponent in November is long-time Republican Senator Bob Robbins, who will be running as the nominee on both the Democrat and Republican tickets this year.

Roberta Biros is challenging Mr. Robbins on a platform of Good Government. She believes that Pennsylvania needs to decrease the size and cost of government and decrease spending. Roberta supports (and has agreed to in writing) the initiatives of EmpowerPA.org including term limits, support of a part-time legislature, and pension and tax reforms. Roberta has signed a “Declination of State Pension” pledge where she states that, if elected, she will decline enrollment in the State Employees’ Retirement System (SERS). She has also accepted the “Taxpayer Protection Pledge” where she officially opposes increases in State spending and taxes. In her effort towards full transparency and accountability, Roberta’s Platform for Good Government is available through here website at http://www.electbiros.com/.

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July 29, 2010 at 9:05 pm Comments (0)

PA 2010 State Budget Passes Senate and House: An Example of Spending Money that We Don’t Have


For the first time in his ‘reign’ as Governor, Ed Rendell has a budget that passed through the State House and Senate before the June 30th deadline. Congratulations Governor Rendell! Congratulations, too, to the 37 Senators and 177 Representatives that signed on to that “pile of garbage” that they called a State Budget.

Why is it a pile of garbage? . . . Because it is UNCONSTITUTIONAL

Our legislature is REQUIRED BY LAW to pass a balanced budget. The budget that passed the House and Senate yesterday is balanced on federal funds that don’t yet exist and a tax on the extraction of Marcellus Shale natural gas that has yet to be passed. In essence, “the budget stands for nothing” . . . which is appropriate since that is also the case with many of our legislators.

Who is to blame?

The opportunity to STOP the budget was in the Republican controlled Senate. The budget bill passed the State Senate by a vote of 37 to 13. There were only 13 Senators that did the right thing by voting NO to this example of fiscal irresponsibility. What about the Senate leadership? Here are their votes . . . for the record.

REPUBLICANS

YES – Joseph B. Scarnati III (President of the Senate)
YES – Dominic Pileggi (Majority Floor Leader)
YES – Michael Waugh (Majority Caucus Chair)
YES – Robert Robbins (Majority Caucus Secretary)
YES – Jake Corman (Majority Appropriations Committee Chair)
YES – Patrick M. Browne (Majority Caucus Administrator)
YES – Edwin Erickson (Majority Policy Committee Chair)

DEMOCRATS

YES – Roberta Mellow (Minority Floor Leader)
YES – Michael O’Pake (Minority Whip)
YES – Vincent Hughes (Minority Caucus Chair)
YES – Sean Logan (Minority Caucus Secretary)
YES – Jay Costa (Minority Appropriations Committee Chair)
YES – Christine Tartaglione (Minority Caucus Administrator)
YES – Richard Kasunic (Minority Policy Committee Chair)

THIS PROVES that the Senate leadership MUST change . . . one way or another!

The budget bill passed the State House by a vote of 117 to 84. This is not a shock seeing that the House is controlled by Rendell Democrats. What is shocking in this number, however, is that 16 Republicans voted WITH the Rendell Democrats in order to achieve a supermajority which was required to waive a rule requiring 24 hours’ notice before a bill is voted.

If you would like to see how your Senators and Representatives voted, please refer to the voting records below:

June 30 Budget Vote in Senate is HERE
June 30 Budget Vote in House is HERE

What about Northwest PA?

MOST of the legislators from our region in Northwest Pennsylvania agree with my views on the budget, and MOST of them voted against the budget bill yesterday. Specifically . . .

Mercer County Legislators

Representative Michele Brooks (R) – NO
Representative Dick Stevenson (R) – NO
Representative Mark Longietti (D) – YES
Senator Bob Robbins (R) – YES

Crawford County Legislators

Representative John Evans (R) – NO
Representative Brad Roae (R) – NO
Representative Michele Brooks (R) – NO
Senator Bob Robbins (R) – YES

Republican Representatives (and Conservatives) Michele Brooks, Dick Stevenson, John Evans, and Brad Roae all did the RIGHT thing and voted NO to the budget.

Rendell Democrats Bob Robbins and Representative Mark Longietti voted YES to the budget. Representative Mark Longietti did what his caucus told him to do . . . in the end he supported his Governor and his Caucus (right or wrong). Republican Senator Bob Robbins PROVED his allegiance to the Democrats that WROTE HIM IN in the Primary (all 800 of them) and he also supported his fellow Democrat Governor and his new Caucus.

As a Republican LEADER in the Senate, Bob Robbins should be ashamed of himself. Even more important, his CONSTITUENTS should be angry with him. It shows that he was more concerned with getting rid of the “budget problem” in an election year that he was with standing on principles of good government and fiscal responsibility.

In press releases that were sent out last night, Bob Robbins fellow legislators from this area made their thoughts about the budget clear . . .

Representative Michele Brooks stated:

“Although this budget was passed on time – as it should be – it falls short to earn my support. I have many serious concerns about funding allocations and the source of hundreds of millions of dollars in revenue.”

“Many of us have concerns regarding whether this budget is constitutionally balanced as it relies heavily on $850 million in funding from the federal government, which has not yet been approved by Congress and there are some doubts whether it will be approved. It also has a structural deficit of approximately $3 billion.”

Representative Brad Roae stated:

“State budgets are about priorities,” Roae said. “This budget sets the wrong priorities for Pennsyvlania.”

“This budget literally spends money the state doesn’t have,” Roae said. “This budget is based on the hope of a federal bailout for the state. If the federal government runs up the deficit to pay for this bailout, taxpayers will be paying for it for years to come.”

“This budget doesn’t reflect my priorities and it certainly doesn’t reflect the wishes
of the people I represent,” Roae said. “We needed to reduce spending due to the recession, but the cuts in this budget weren’t applied fairly. This budget sets up huge tax increases or painful spending cuts for next year. I simply could not support a budget that is this irresponsible.”

According to these statements, it seems to me that the conservative legislators that represent our area need help to fight for fiscal responsibility in Harrisburg . . . and they are not getting that from their own Senator. Hmmmmmm.

Where do I stand on the subject?

Anyone that voted FOR this budget made a conscious effort to pull the wool over the eyes of taxpayers. This is not a VALID budget . . . no matter how you look at it.

It is the responsibility of our legislators to make certain that the state government does not spend beyond its means. If we don’t have the money, we ought not to be spending it. Federal dollars that simply aren’t there should not be considered in the calculations, and tax revenues from Marcellus Shale should NOT be considered in the equations either. IF the tax on Marcellus Shale extraction is pushed through (in October), it will be the worst fiscal decision in Pennsylvania . . . ever!

If I were the Senator in Pennsylvania’s 50th District, I would have voted NO to yesterday’s budget. I would have continued to vote NO until the budget was actually balanced on REAL numbers. More importantly, I would have been pushing for these changes back in February and March . . . when budget negotiations SHOULD have been taking place. Waiting until the 11th hour so that they can push through the equivalent of a legislative joke is shameful.

I usually sign off by stating “as alway, just my opinion”. Today it is important that I sign off by stating the following:

This is not just my opinion. It is my official statement.

Roberta Biros
Editor, Mercer County Conservatives

July 1, 2010 at 11:33 am Comments (2)

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