U.S. Rep. Jon Runyan, a former Eagles offensive tackle, was the star attraction at Sunday’s 28th annual Republican City Committee Billy Meehan Clambake at Cannstatter’s. Runyan, a freshman who represents a South Jersey district, told the crowd that nobody 55 or older would be affected by the Medicare reform plan proposed by Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan, the vice presidential running mate for Mitt Romney.
The United States is approaching a fiscal cliff, Runyan said, adding that the country needs a leader like Romney who will make hard choices for the benefit of future generations. He credited New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie with being the same kind of leader.
“It’s not about us. It’s about the future of the little ones,” said Runyan, who also played for the San Diego Chargers, Tennessee Titans and the old Houston Oilers.
Tom Smith, the Republican candidate for U.S. Senate and an Armstrong County resident, spoke about how he started a coal mining business and declared that he is not a career politician.
“I am a citizen candidate,” said Smith, who faces Democratic Sen. Bob Casey Jr. and Libertarian Rayburn Smith.
David Freed, the Republican candidate for state attorney general, is seeking to follow in the footsteps of his father-in-law, LeRoy Zimmerman, who was Pennsylvania’s first elected attorney general. Zimmerman served from 1981-89.
Freed, district attorney of Cumberland County and vice president of the Pennsylvania District Attorneys Association, said his executive experience sets him apart from Democrat Kathleen Kane and Libertarian Marakay Rogers.
“I’ve tried all the cases, from the lowest shoplifting up to capital murder,” he said.
Others in attendance included state Rep. John Taylor (R-177th dist.) and candidates John Featherman (1st Congressional District), Joe Rooney (13th Congressional District), Mike Tomlinson (5th Senatorial District), Dave Kralle (169th Legislative District) and Al Taubenberger (172nd Legislative District).
Entertainment was provided by the Ferko String Band and an Elvis Presley tribute artist.
Democrats and liberal interest groups criticized a judge’s ruling upholding the state’s voter identification law, while a Republican leader and a local Tea Party group hailed the decision.
Commonwealth Court Judge Robert Simpson issued his ruling on Aug. 15, and critics of the law have appealed the decision to Pennsylvania Supreme Court.
For now, voters will need to show photo identification — such as a driver’s license — at their polling places.
Anyone unable to provide a birth certificate or other documentation for a non-driver’s license can obtain a voter identification card from a PennDOT driver’s license center. They must give their date of birth and Social Security number, along with two proofs of residence, such as utility bills.
Local driver’s license centers are at 919-B Levick St. in Oxford Circle, 6420 Frankford Ave. in Mayfair and 11685 Bustleton Ave. in Somerton.
The ACLU is among the groups challenging the law, arguing that it will disenfranchise minorities, the poor, the disabled and senior citizens.
Jerome Mondesire, president of the Pennsylvania State Conference of the NAACP, said supporters of the law are “suppressing the vote.”
Jennifer Austin, the Pennsylvania press secretary for Obama for America, said the president’s campaign has included information on the provisions of the new law in volunteer trainings, information resources, online and in voter registration and education activities.
U.S. Rep. Allyson Schwartz (D-13th dist.) called the court ruling “un-American.”
Supporters of the law have a much different opinion.
Pennsylvania House Majority Leader Mike Turzai, an Allegheny County Republican, said the law will be a tool to detect incidents of double voting and voting by non-citizens and those voting under a fictitious registration.
Teri Adams, president of the Independence Hall Tea Party Association, called Simpson’s 70-page decision “well reasoned,” agreeing that the plaintiffs had not established that disenfranchisement was inevitable.
William Dunbar, the Democratic candidate in the 177th Legislative District, is continuing to press Republican Rep. John Taylor to debate him three times between Sept. 10 and Oct. 26.
Dunbar asked for the face-offs in a letter and when he saw Taylor during the 24th Police District’s National Night Out gathering.
“I am very surprised by Representative Taylor’s silence,” he said.
The Taylor camp said it is busy meeting voters and is considering Dunbar’s request.
Kathleen Kane, the Democratic candidate in the race for state attorney general, is urging the NCAA and Penn State University to ensure that Children’s Advocacy Centers are the priority for funding from the $60 million endowment created by a consent decree to assist victims of child abuse.
Kane’s call comes after the Pennsylvania District Attorneys Association sent a letter to the NCAA and Penn State making that request.
The centers provide services dealing with child abuse prevention, investigation and healing for victims and their families.
“What we’ve all learned from the Jerry Sandusky tragedy is that we must do a better job in this commonwealth of protecting our most vulnerable citizens — our children,” Kane said. “Children, their families and prosecutors in every county in Pennsylvania deserve access to CACs, and I am proud to stand alongside district attorneys throughout our commonwealth in urging Penn State and the NCAA to prioritize their funding.”
Kane faces Republican David Freed and Libertarian Marakay Rogers. ••