Northeast Times

McGeehan will not seek another term in ’14

State Rep. Mike McGee­han an­nounced on Fri­day that he will not seek an­oth­er term in 2014.

“It’s not a re­tire­ment. I’m mov­ing to an­oth­er chapter of my life,” he said.

McGee­han (D-173rd dist.), 53, was first elec­ted in 1990.

The law­maker in­dic­ated that he will likely pur­sue op­por­tun­it­ies out­side of gov­ern­ment.

In ad­di­tion, he noted that next year’s elec­tion will be the first one in the newly drawn 173rd dis­trict, which has long been based in Ta­cony and Holmes­burg, but has moved north.

“I thought it was the right time for me. It’s time for a new per­spect­ive,” he said.

McGee­han de­clined to en­dorse a suc­cessor.

“That’s up to the people,” he said. “You can’t sup­plant the wis­dom of the people. I will help make the trans­ition for who­ever they choose as the new rep.”

McGee­han re­called work­ing with City Coun­cil­wo­man Joan Kra­jew­ski and state Rep. John Perzel in 1999 to help res­id­ents of Wissi­nom­ing who were ordered out of their homes when the city de­term­ined the houses were sink­ing and in danger of col­lapse.

In 2001, he worked in a bi­par­tis­an way to pass a bill re­quir­ing sprink­ler sys­tems in col­lege dorm­it­or­ies.

“Not a single per­son has died in a col­lege dorm­it­ory fire in 12 years,” he said.

McGee­han said he en­joyed the co­oper­a­tion needed on the sink­ing homes is­sue and sprink­ler bill.

“Sadly, a lot of that is miss­ing today,” he said.

McGee­han’s dis­trict of­fice will re­main open throughout 2014, and he said his aides can help people on any state is­sues.

“I couldn’t ask for a finer staff,” he said.

McGee­han, who serves as Demo­crat­ic chair­man of the House Trans­port­a­tion Com­mit­tee, spent 18 years on the House Labor Re­la­tions Com­mit­tee, spear­head­ing fire safety and pro­tec­tion ini­ti­at­ives.

Also, he served as ma­jor­ity chair­man of the House Pro­fes­sion­al Li­cen­sure Com­mit­tee, which con­siders le­gis­la­tion and reg­u­la­tions deal­ing with 29 boards and com­mis­sions that fall un­der the De­part­ment of State.

As Demo­crat­ic chair­man of the House Trans­port­a­tion Com­mit­tee, McGee­han said he takes par­tic­u­lar pride in last month’s House pas­sage of Pennsylvania’s first com­pre­hens­ive trans­port­a­tion fund­ing pack­age in dec­ades.

McGee­han won a hard-fought race in 1990, re­pla­cing Re­pub­lic­an Fran We­st­on, who did not seek an­oth­er term. He cruised to vic­tory every two years, some­times without op­pos­i­tion. Re­pub­lic­ans came after him hard in 2006, spend­ing a lot of money, but he rolled to vic­tory with 76 per­cent of the vote.

“I want to say how grate­ful I am to the people of the dis­trict,” he said. “I’m look­ing for­ward to serving out the year.”

••

Two bills to re­duce the size of the Pennsylvania House of Rep­res­ent­at­ives and the Sen­ate passed the House on Dec. 17. Both bills now head to the Sen­ate for con­sid­er­a­tion.

House Bill 1234 would re­duce the House of Rep­res­ent­at­ives to 153 mem­bers from 203. It passed by a vote of 148-50. House Bill 1716 would re­duce the Sen­ate to 38 mem­bers from its cur­rent 50. It passed by a vote of 150-48.

To change the size of the le­gis­lature re­quires an amend­ment to the state Con­sti­tu­tion, which means the same bill must be de­bated and passed in two con­sec­ut­ive ses­sions, and sub­sequently ap­proved by ref­er­en­dum vote of the people of Pennsylvania.

The meas­ures were sup­por­ted by Reps. Tom Murt, Ed Neilson, Brendan Boyle, Kev­in Boyle, John Sabat­ina Jr. and John Taylor.

Vot­ing against the bills were Reps. Mike McGee­han, James Clay, Mark Co­hen and Dwight Evans.

••

Jared So­lomon, a Demo­crat­ic can­did­ate in the 202nd Le­gis­lat­ive Dis­trict, re­spon­ded to a re­cent study that showed a 62-per­cent growth in poverty since 1999 in the Lower North­east.   

So­lomon, who is chal­len­ging long­time Rep. Mark Co­hen in the primary, pro­posed the fol­low­ing: cre­ate re­source hubs for com­munity mem­bers, es­tab­lish a Lower North­east Com­munity De­vel­op­ment Cor­por­a­tion, cre­ate a loc­al anti-poverty col­lab­or­at­ive, make food stamps more avail­able, and bet­ter edu­cate and train the work­force.

“We can’t just sit idle and talk about the growth in poverty, we must re­spond — and re­spond fast,” So­lomon said. “Today, I’m call­ing on our loc­al, state and fed­er­al of­fi­cials to act — be­fore suc­cess be­comes un­at­tain­able. “For those on the ground floor, this shouldn’t take any of us by sur­prise. What we now need is for the civic, busi­ness, faith-based and polit­ic­al com­munit­ies to unite to come up with some ser­i­ous strategies across the Lower North­east.”

So­lomon foun­ded the com­munity group Take Back Your Neigh­bor­hood.

••

U.S. Rep. Allyson Schwartz, a Demo­crat­ic can­did­ate for gov­ernor, re­ceived en­dorse­ments from Team­sters Loc­als 249 and 926, based in Pitt­s­burgh, on Dec. 19.

“Allyson Schwartz is far and away the strongest can­did­ate to help work­ing fam­il­ies across Pennsylvania,” said Joe Rossi, Team­sters Loc­al 249 pres­id­ent. “She will be a gov­ernor we can count on to fight for us and leave no one be­hind in Pennsylvania.”

Schwartz has also re­ceived en­dorse­ments from Rep. Bob Brady and the Phil­adelphia Demo­crat­ic City Com­mit­tee. 

••

John Hanger, a Demo­crat­ic can­did­ate for gov­ernor, is call­ing on his op­pon­ents to lim­it their spend­ing in the primary to $3 mil­lion to $5 mil­lion.

“That lim­it would al­low can­did­ates to reach the voters with their mes­sages, but pre­vent any one can­did­ate from buy­ing the elec­tion,” he said.

Hanger is a former sec­ret­ary of the state De­part­ment of En­vir­on­ment­al Pro­tec­tion. ••

You can reach and at twaring@bsmphilly.com.

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