Northeast Times

Gov. Corbett attends fundraiser, pushes for sale of state liquor stores

Gov. Tom Corbett was in the North­east for a cam­paign fun­draiser last week, and he told sup­port­ers that he’ll con­tin­ue to push for the sale of state li­quor stores.

The state House of Rep­res­ent­at­ives last month passed a bill to al­low beer dis­trib­ut­ors and oth­er stores to sell wine and li­quor. The change would give con­sumers more con­veni­ence, sup­port­ers say, and pro­ceeds from the sale of the state store sys­tem would de­liv­er $1 bil­lion to pub­lic edu­ca­tion.

The bill’s fate in the state Sen­ate is un­cer­tain. Demo­crats seem un­an­im­ously op­posed, while a couple of key Re­pub­lic­ans are less than en­thu­si­ast­ic.

Pub­lic opin­ion polls in­dic­ate Pennsylvani­ans fa­vor clos­ing the state stores.

“I think it’s im­port­ant we get out of the busi­ness,” Corbett said. “This is what the people of Pennsylvania want.”

The $250-per-per­son fun­draiser took place on March 28 at Fraternal Or­der of Po­lice Lodge 5’s new headquar­ters in the Far North­east. It was or­gan­ized by the Phil­adelphia Fu­ture Fund, headed by Tim O’Bri­en, who re­cently re­tired as city bail com­mis­sion­er.

Among those in at­tend­ance were city GOP bosses Vito Canuso and Mike Mee­han; former City Coun­cil­man Jack Kelly; Coun­cil­man Dav­id Oh; city elec­tions com­mis­sion­er Al Schmidt; Mu­ni­cip­al Court Judge Fran Shields; Terry Tracy, Re­pub­lic­an can­did­ate for city con­trol­ler; and ward lead­er Bill Pet­ti­grew.

O’Bri­en cred­ited Corbett, 63, with hav­ing an am­bi­tious first term.

“He stands tall with his agenda,” he said.

Polls show Corbett lag­ging in pop­ular­ity, and Mont­gomery County Com­mis­sion­er Bruce Castor has in­dic­ated some in­terest in chal­len­ging him in the primary in May 2014.

As many as 10 Demo­crats are also look­ing at the race.

When Corbett ran for gov­ernor in 2010, the side of his cam­paign bus read, “Less Taxes, More Jobs.”

“That’s ex­actly what we’re do­ing,” he said. “Com­pan­ies want to come to Pennsylvania.”

The gov­ernor cited suc­cesses such as adding about 111,000 private sec­tor jobs and work­ing with the loc­al and fed­er­al gov­ern­ments to keep the Sun­oco re­finery in South Phil­adelphia from clos­ing. He’s also ex­cited about growth op­por­tun­it­ies at the Port of Phil­adelphia.

Volvo, mean­while, is mov­ing its Amer­ic­an op­er­a­tions to Ship­pens­burg, and the state has elim­in­ated the in­her­it­ance tax on fam­ily farms.

Corbett has looked for job and trade op­por­tun­it­ies for the state dur­ing trips to France, Ger­many and the Sil­ic­on Val­ley in highly taxed Cali­for­nia. He’ll soon de­part for Brazil and Chile on a sim­il­ar mis­sion.

In the up­com­ing budget ne­go­ti­ations, Corbett hopes to in­clude more money for pro­grams for vic­tims of do­mest­ic vi­ol­ence and people with men­tal and phys­ic­al dis­ab­il­it­ies.

The gov­ernor also be­lieves his pro­posed trans­port­a­tion bill will put people to work fix­ing roads and bridges.

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A poll com­mis­sioned by EMILY’s List shows U.S. Rep. Allyson Schwartz with a lead in the Demo­crat­ic primary for gov­ernor.

EMILY’s List provides fin­an­cial sup­port for pro-choice Demo­crat­ic wo­men can­did­ates. The group has been a big sup­port­er of Schwartz over the years.

The poll, con­duc­ted by Glob­al Strategy Group, showed Schwartz with a nar­row lead in a nine-per­son field.

Schwartz had 18 per­cent, fol­lowed by former con­gress­man Joe Ses­tak (15 per­cent), state Treas­urer Rob Mc­Cord (5 per­cent), former state De­part­ment of En­vir­on­ment­al Pro­tec­tion sec­ret­ary Katie Mc­Ginty (5 per­cent), state Sen. Tim So­lobay (3 per­cent), Al­lentown May­or Ed Pawlowski (3 per­cent), former state De­part­ment of Rev­en­ue sec­ret­ary Tom Wolf (2 per­cent), state Sen. Mike Stack (1 per­cent) and former state DEP sec­ret­ary John Hanger (1 per­cent).

Max My­ers, a pas­tor, busi­ness­man and au­thor from Cum­ber­land County, was not in­cluded in the poll. He and Hanger are the only people who have of­fi­cially de­clared their can­did­a­cies.

The new­est name on the list is Mc­Ginty, a Rhawn­hurst nat­ive and St. Hubert High School gradu­ate who was an aide to former U.S. Sen. Al Gore Jr. and served as chair­wo­man of the White House Coun­cil on En­vir­on­ment­al Qual­ity dur­ing the Clin­ton ad­min­is­tra­tion.

Schwartz would enter the race with the biggest cam­paign treas­ury. The poll showed her do­ing es­pe­cially well among wo­men, minor­it­ies, lib­er­als and people liv­ing in the Phil­adelphia me­dia mar­ket.

Politico re­por­ted last week that Schwartz hired Reesa Kos­soff as her polit­ic­al com­mu­nic­a­tions dir­ect­or. Kos­soff handled press mat­ters for Pres­id­ent Obama’s re-elec­tion cam­paign last year in the key state of Ohio.

••

As­sum­ing Schwartz runs for gov­ernor, one likely can­did­ate for her seat is state Rep. Brendan Boyle.

Boyle on Monday an­nounced the hir­ing of Demo­crat­ic con­gres­sion­al strategists Nicole D’Er­cole and Bri­an Smoot, who are man­aging dir­ect­ors of 4C Part­ners and have back­grounds in rais­ing lots of money.

D’Er­cole has ties to House Minor­ity Lead­er Nancy Pelosi. Smoot worked for Pri­or­it­ies USA, the su­per PAC that as­sisted Pres­id­ent Barack Obama’s re-elec­tion.

••

Mi­chael Wil­li­ams last week dropped out of the Demo­crat­ic primary for city con­trol­ler.

Wil­li­ams an­nounced his de­cision on March 28 on his cam­paign Face­book page. His de­par­ture leaves in­cum­bent Alan Butkovitz and chal­lengers Brett Man­del and Mark Zecca in the primary. Terry Tracy is un­op­posed for the Re­pub­lic­an nom­in­a­tion.

In his mes­sage, Wil­li­ams said Butkovitz reached out to him, and their dis­cus­sion led to him en­dors­ing the in­cum­bent.

Wil­li­ams had harsh words for Man­del, de­scrib­ing him as “the god­fath­er of AVI,” re­fer­ring to the city’s Ac­tu­al Value Ini­ti­at­ive to cal­cu­late prop­erty taxes. He went on to say Man­del lacked clear and con­struct­ive ideas and that he was en­ga­ging in “base­less snip­ing” at rival cam­paigns.

••

Gary Grisafi is the new Re­pub­lic­an ward lead­er of the 53rd Ward, re­pla­cing the re­tired Len Amod­ei.

Grisafi has run twice each for state rep­res­ent­at­ive and City Coun­cil. 

The ward has a strong Demo­crat­ic voter-re­gis­tra­tion ad­vant­age, and Grisafi is look­ing for vo­lun­teers and com­mit­tee people.

More in­form­a­tion is avail­able at ht­tp://gop53rd­ward.homestead.com or on the Gop53rd­ward page on Face­book.

••

The dead­line to re­gister to vote in the May 21 primary is April 22.

In­di­vidu­als already re­gistered can also change their party af­fil­i­ations by that date. Re­gis­tra­tion forms are avail­able at the Com­mit­tee of Sev­enty’s web­site, sev­enty.org ••

You can reach at twaring@bsmphilly.com.

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