Marjorie Margolies believes too many politicians vote for or against a bill based on how it will affect their re-election chances.
“That was never my concern,” she said.
Margolies represented the 13th Congressional District in 1993-94, losing re-election in large part because she voted for President Bill Clinton’s economic plan, which raised taxes. Democrats argue that the plan led to economic expansion.
“I know that vote for the Clinton budget made a huge difference. I’m very much willing to do it again,” Margolies said.
Last week, Margolies, 70, announced she was running in next year’s Democratic primary in the 13th Congressional District. The incumbent, Democratic Rep. Allyson Schwartz, is running for governor.
Others seeking the Democratic nomination are state Rep. Brendan Boyle, state Sen. Daylin Leach and Dr. Valerie Arkoosh, a health-care reform advocate.
A former television journalist, Margolies worked at Channel 10 and as a correspondent for the Today show.
Now, she is on the faculty of the Fels Institute of Government at the University of Pennsylvania. She is founder and CEO of Women’s Campaign International, which provides advocacy training for women throughout the world.
In 1992, she was elected to Congress in a close race against Republican Jon Fox.
On Aug. 5, 1993, she voted for the Clinton plan, which passed 218-216. It was unanimously opposed by Republicans and 41 Democrats.
In the 1994 elections, Republicans clobbered Democrats all across the country, and Fox narrowly ousted Margolies.
In 1998, she was the Democratic candidate for lieutenant governor. She and Ivan Itkin were crushed by the Republican ticket of Gov. Tom Ridge and Lt. Gov. Mark Schweiker.
Margolies is divorced from Ed Mezvinsky, a former Iowa congressman. Their son, Marc, is married to Chelsea Clinton.
Bill Clinton loves campaigning on behalf of former political allies. Will he appear in the 13th district or television commercials on behalf of the woman who helped secure passage of his economic plan?
“We are a year away,” Margolies said.
When she served in Congress, the 13th district was located exclusively in Montgomery County.
At present, the district is about evenly divided between Philadelphia and Montgomery County. Seventy percent of the Northeast is in the 13th district, which also includes Olney and Feltonville.
Margolies said many of the district’s needs are the same for people from Bustleton to Bridgeport and Pennypack Park to Paper Mill Road.
The public is annoyed at the contentiousness in Congress, she said, and she wants to work in a bipartisan manner. She’ll begin discussing specific issues in the near future.
Margolies attended a recent Democratic City Committee event, and said she was warmly received. Some of the guests recalled the 1993 vote that made her a one-termer.
“A dozen people came up to me and said, ‘Thank you for that vote,’ ” she said. “It has shelf life. It made a deep impression.”
Daylin Leach has won the endorsement of the United Automobile, Aerospace and Agricultural Implement Workers of America.
“Since he was first elected to the Pennsylvania legislature in 2002, Daylin has demonstrated unmatched support for working families in southeastern Pennsylvania,” said Scott Adams, director of UAW Region 9. “In countless instances, he has led the fight in Harrisburg to protect the middle class and preserve workers’ rights, while spurring economic development and creating more jobs. Our members know that he will bring the same fight to Washington that he’s known for in Harrisburg.”
Allyson Schwartz has criticized Gov. Tom Corbett for what she sees as his failure to fix Pennsylvania’s roads, bridges and infrastructure.
Schwartz cited a survey by TRIP, a transportation research group, that showed Pennsylvania has 5,540 bridges that are structurally deficient. The survey showed that 37 percent of Pennsylvania roads are in poor or mediocre condition.
“Gov. Corbett’s failure to maintain the safety of Pennsylvania’s bridges and highways is detrimental to Pennsylvania’s economic growth and a threat to the safety of our citizens. It is time for the governor to recognize the need for action,” Schwartz said.
John Hanger, another Democratic candidate for governor, has outlined an eight-point job plan.
In general, the plan makes investments in public education, transportation, health care, alternative energy resources and innovation.
The funding comes from accepting Medicaid expansion; taxing natural gas drilling, smokeless tobacco and cigars; and closing the “Delaware loophole,” which allows Pennsylvania companies to transfer money from subsidiaries to Delaware, which has no corporate taxes.
In addition, Hanger would defund poorly performing charter schools, saving more than $931 million. And he would place management of the Turnpike Commission within PennDOT.
Hanger, a former state Public Utility Commission member and secretary of the state Department of Environmental Protection, said he implemented policies in those roles that created jobs and attracted businesses to Pennsylvania.
“As governor, I can do more with this plan,” he said. ••