If elected State Senator for the 5th senatorial district, Republican Mike Tomlinson said he believes he can make a difference.
How does he know? He said he sees, for one, that the district needs a leader that is very accessible and present in the community.
“I believe the person who is running this district has forgotten… [residents] need civic associations that are more active, town watches that are more active—they need a leader who, when elected, is willing to go down there.”
In November, Tomlinson will be up against State Sen. Mike Slack (D-5th dist.) for the senatorial seat.
He claimed that Sen. Stack doesn’t currently have enough of a presence, especially in the south and southeast areas of the district like Kensington and Bridesburg.
The 5th state senatorial district stretches from Kensington and Port Richmond, south of Castor Avenue, north of Woodhaven Road, to Somerton and Parkwood and the Delaware River and areas west of Bustleton Avenue.
To best serve these areas, Tomlinson said he he hopes to use a tactical approach of tax credits, medical malpractice reform and government reform to win the election.
He said he also hopes to make Philadelphia the “workshop of the world” that it once was.
ldquo;I believe manufacturing jobs can return, not only to the city, but to the state,” he said during an interview held Thursday, June 28.
A first time campaigner, Tomlinson, a father of four daughters, said he hopes that his lack of prior experience in a political office could be seen as a positive.
“I’m not a politician,” he said. “But, what I see going on in government is that they aren’t doing anything but fighting…they aren’t doing anything for the people.”
Tomlinson, a Mayfair native, spent years working as a teacher in the Philadelphia School District, has served as a certified public accountant, and has 30 years experience in accounting and finance.
Regarding tort reform, Tomlinson said that due in part to high medical malpractice costs, many emergency rooms throughout the city – like Northeastern Hospital in Port Richmond – have closed their maternity wards.
Tomlinson cites the cost of medical malpractice as the reason for such closures. He said in the past, he was shocked to learn that many doctors, he said, need to earn over a million dollars in insurance to cover malpractice costs before they can make a profit.
“A maternity ward needs to cover one million dollars or more before they make any money in the city of Philadelphia,” he said. “That’s just to cover the insurance.”
He’d like to see tort reform in order to cut down on “frivolous lawsuits,” which, he said, are “driving up the cost” of medical care.
Yet Tomlinson described himself as “a fiscal conservative and social moderate,” meaning he didn’t always agree with how elected officials spent money.
In fact, he said that, if elected, he’d hope to bring a sense of compromise to state government in Harrisburg.
“We need to do more common sense things,” he said, adding that money spent elsewhere could be directed toward the city’s schools.
ldquo;Our education system is in chaos…it’s like a circus,” he said.
In order to bring business – and jobs – to the city and state, Tomlinson suggested tax credits for larger companies in order to bring them back to the city.
“My first initiative would be to ensure valid job growth and a pro-business environment,” he said. “We did it with Comcast and now we have Comcast, and it now employs thousands of people.”
Tomlinson reiterated the importance of his presence in the community.
He’d plan to create satellite offices all over the district and would make sure his office works to support the district.
Tomlinson said that he’d consider it a function of his office to support community groups, like town watches and civic associations, and help them grow to strengthen neighborhoods.
“People want to be able to talk to you. They want you to be their neighbor. They want you there,” he said. “They want their State Senator to do more than just march through the neighborhood in the Memorial Day parade.”
Star Staff Reporter Hayden Mitman can be contacted at 215-354 3124 or firstname.lastname@example.org.