U.S. Rep. Allyson Schwartz (D-13th dist.) is panning the selection Saturday of Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan, a fellow member of the House Budget Committee, as Mitt Romney’s vice presidential running mate.
Schwartz issued a statement contending that the Romney/Ryan team would leave middle-class Americans behind. She criticized Ryan’s Medicare reform plan and his views on college student loans and questioned his commitment to reducing the federal deficit.
“In serving with Paul Ryan on the House Budget Committee, I have seen firsthand Ryan’s rigid commitment to fiscal and economic policies that have failed to grow the economy in the past and devastated so many Americans. Americans believe in the promise of Medicare for our seniors, but Paul Ryan is committed to ending Medicare as we know it. His voucher plan leaves seniors on their own, with the average senior having to pay more than $6,000 annually out of pocket. Seniors would pay more for prescription drugs and preventive care. For young Americans, a Romney-Ryan ticket means deep cuts in student loans and would make a college education unattainable for many middle-class families.”
Meanwhile, the Independence Hall Tea Party is hailing Ryan’s selection. The group had contacted Beth Myers, who led Romney’s vice president selection search, and suggested that he pick Ryan or Florida Sen. Marco Rubio.
Don Adams, president of the group’s political action committee, said Romney, former governor of Massachusetts, made a “brave” selection.
“For those who thought the governor would ‘play it safe’ and choose someone less daring and sobering, they were wrong,” he said. “From this brave selection, we can deduce that Gov. Romney takes the debt crisis so seriously that he’s willing to risk his campaign on the Ryan budget plan — which seriously addresses the federal government’s disastrous and suicidal spending levels.”
Kerry Healey, who was lieutenant governor under Mitt Romney when he was governor of Massachusetts, was in town last week to kick off the official opening of Romney’s Philadelphia office.
The office is located at 529 S. Fourth St. The building is open year-round and operated by the state Republican Party.
Dave Kralle, the GOP candidate in the 169th Legislative District, introduced Healey.
Others in the crowd included John McCann, who was Kralle’s primary opponent; Mayfair’s Joe DeFelice, state director of Election Day operations for Romney; Parkwood’s Steve Boc, chairman of the Philadelphia Federation of Young Republicans; and John Featherman, Republican candidate in the 1st Congressional District.
Healey served as lieutenant governor from 2003-06, and then lost a race for governor when Romney bowed out after one term.
Today, she is a special adviser and foreign policy coordinator for Romney’s presidential campaign.
Healey said Romney as president would produce fiscally responsible budgets, remove regulations on small businesses, invest in American energy companies and repeal the national health care law known as Obamacare. She cited a survey showing 75 percent of small-business owners hesitant to hire employees because of the health law.
If elected, Romney would approve construction of the Keystone Pipeline System, which would transport crude oil from Canada to multiple destinations in the United States, creating several thousand jobs. President Barack Obama has refused to give his OK.
When Romney was governor, Healey said Massachusetts was No. 1 among states in English and math scores on standardized tests.
“He insisted on high standards,” she said.
Healey noted that Standard & Poor lowered the U.S. credit rating from AAA to AA+ last year. The credit rating for Massachusetts was upgraded when Romney was in office.
“He’ll do the same thing for the United States of America,” she said.
Healey is bullish on Romney winning Pennsylvania. She said it feels like 1988, when George H.W. Bush became the last Republican to carry the state in a presidential race when he defeated another former Massachusetts governor, Michael Dukakis.
In 2010, Healey pointed out, the Pennsylvania GOP won races for governor and U.S. Senate and picked up five U.S. House seats.
“Gov. Romney needs Pennsylvania. This state is in play,” she said.
After leaving the campaign office, Healey attended a grassroots political training event for Republican women at the Hilton hotel on City Line Avenue.
Nick Winkler, a spokesman for the Pennsylvania Department of State, said last week that new photo identification cards are still scheduled to be available at PennDOT’s driver’s license centers beginning the week of Aug. 27.
The free cards are for those who need photo identification under Pennsylvania’s voter ID law. They will be given to registered voters who, for one reason or another, are unable to provide a birth certificate or other documents that they would normally need to obtain a photo ID from PennDOT.
The cards will be issued for a 10-year period and can be used only for voting purposes.
When visiting a driver’s license center, voters must provide two proofs of residence, such as a utility bill, along with their date of birth and Social Security number.
PennDOT will validate the voter registration status with the Department of State while the individual is in the office. Upon confirmation, the voter will be issued the card before leaving the center.
The cards will be issued through Election Day, Nov. 6, and thereafter.
Local driver’s license centers are located at 919-B Levick St. in Oxford Circle, 6420 Frankford Ave. in Mayfair and 11685 Bustleton Ave. in Somerton.
Philadelphia voters will answer “yes” or “no” on the following question:
Shall The Philadelphia Home Rule Charter be amended to allow for the establishment of an independent rate-making body for fixing and regulating water and sewer rates and charges and to prescribe open and transparent processes and procedures for fixing and regulating said rates and charges?
At present, the commissioner of the Water Department determines rates, after receiving a recommendation from a public hearing examiner.
The Water Department is seeking to raise rates 28.5 percent over the next four years. Commissioner Howard Neukrug will make the decision by Oct. 1. The ballot question will not affect his decision.
City Council in May approved placing the resolution on the ballot.
Republicans increased their advantage to nine in the Pennsylvania Senate last week by winning a special election in Allegheny and Butler counties.
Randy Vulakovich, a state representative, crushed Democrat Sharon Brown with 73 percent of the vote.
The GOP now has a 29 seats in the Senate. Democrats have 20. There is one vacancy.
Vulakovich will replace fellow Republican Jane Orie, who was convicted of corruption charges and sent to prison.
Once Vulakovich vacates his seat, Republicans will have 109 seats in the House and Democrats, 91. There are three vacancies. ••