Five of the six candidates in the 13th Congressional District attended a forum on Sunday at Congregations of Shaare Shamayim in Bustleton.
Appearing were Republicans Dee Adcock and Beverly Plosa-Bowser and Democrats Daylin Leach, Brendan Boyle and Val Arkoosh. Democrat Marjorie Margolies did not attend.
The candidates answered questions from media members and the audience. Ruth Horwitz and Myles Gordon were the moderators.
Adcock touted his 30 years running a swimming pool company that employs 120 people. He’s outraged at the nation’s $17 trillion debt. He proposes term limits of 12 to 18 years and favors construction of the Keystone XL pipeline. He also gave away free copies of Charles Krauthammer’s book Things that Matter. Adcock took 44 percent of the vote in a 2010 challenge to Democratic Rep. Allyson Schwartz, who is running for governor.
Plosa-Bowser spent 30 years in the U.S. Air Force, retiring as a colonel. She served in combat in Baghdad, Iraq. She opposes a hike in the minimum wage and favors 12-year term limits, a limit on campaign spending and a balanced budget amendment. She supports Illinois Sen. Mark Kirk’s Small Business Bill of Rights.
Leach, a lawyer and state senator who grew up in the Northeast, favors a minimum wage of $12 an hour. He wants a “livable” wage, not a “scraping-by” wage. He was among the first in the state to propose legalization of same-sex marriage. He opposes term limits and a balanced budget amendment and favors public financing of campaigns. He railed against “xenophobic” legislation dealing with illegal immigrants.
Boyle, a state representative from Somerton who enjoys support from labor unions, is running to represent the “forgotten middle class.” He lamented the growing income gap between the richest 1 percent of Americans and everyone else. He wants to raise the minimum wage above $10 an hour to lift people out of poverty. He favors a path to legalization for illegal immigrants. He opposes a balanced budget amendment.
Arkoosh, an anesthesiologist with a focus on obstetrics, said she is the problem-solver who can stop the fighting in Congress. She’s been a leading proponent of the Affordable Care Act. She told voters she will be their “ally,” not just their representative. She supports a minimum wage increase, term limits and a pathway to citizenship for illegal immigrants, particularly children. She opposes a balanced budget amendment.
The candidates were asked which current or former members of Congress from Pennsylvania they’d like to emulate. Adcock selected Jon Fox, Plosa-Bowser chose Mike Fitzpatrick, Leach went with Joe Hoeffel, Boyle cited Bob Borski and Arkoosh named Allyson Schwartz.
The public is invited to attend the Abington-Rockledge Democratic Committee’s 13th Congressional District forum, set for Monday at 7:30 p.m. at Penn State Abington. Participating will be Brendan Boyle, Daylin Leach, Marjorie Margolies and Valerie Arkoosh.
The moderator will be WHYY senior reporter Dave Davies. Doors open at 6:30 p.m. The forum will take place in the Sutherland Building. The campus is at 1600 Woodland Road in Abington.
Boyle released a list of endorsements from Philadelphia elected officials.
The list consists of state Sen. Mike Stack, state Reps. Ed Neilson, James Clay, Mike McGeehan and Kevin Boyle, City Controller Alan Butkovitz and City Councilmen Bobby Henon, Bill Greenlee and Jim Kenney.
“Those who are endorsing my candidacy are all great advocates for Northeast Philadelphia, and I look forward to continuing to work together on behalf of the communities we serve in Congress,” Boyle said. “These endorsements are yet another example of how our campaign continues to build momentum, and of our shared vision for how to make Northeast Philadelphia, from Mayfair to Somerton, a better place to live and work.”
Neilson said, “As the only Philadelphia candidate in this race, Brendan has the experience to be the advocate for Northeast Philadelphia that we need in Congress.”
The University of Pennsylvania Democrats have endorsed Leach in the 13th Congressional District primary.
The race includes Penn professors Margolies and Arkoosh.
“Only one candidate, however, has proven his ability to boldly and intelligently fight for the causes we believe in and against the rampant inequality facing Pennsylvanians and all Americans,” the group wrote in a guest column in the Daily Pennsylvanian.
The group will supply campaign volunteers for Leach.
Jared Solomon, who is challenging state Rep. Mark Cohen (D-202nd dist.) in the primary, unveiled a plan to assist seniors living in the Northeast.
“The Northeast has long been a great place to retire, and I want to keep it that way,” Solomon said.
Solomon said he’ll host regular retirement planning seminars and work to lower property taxes, provide resources for the District 10 Health Center and Jeanes Hospital, strengthen elder abuse laws, and secure funding for SEPTA to provide doctor’s office visits for seniors and the disabled.
Katie McGinty, a Democratic candidate for governor, is calling on the Pennsylvania Legislature to enact a total ban on all gifts to elected officials and staff to restore the public’s confidence in state government.
McGinty’s call for a ban on all gifts comes on the heels of reports of legislators allegedly receiving cash payments. Under current law, legislators are able to receive cash and other gifts as long as they are reported.
State Attorney General Kathleen Kane, a Democrat, has been criticized for not prosecuting the alleged crimes. She cited the dropping of all charges against the informant in an unrelated case, along with what she saw as a targeting of black lawmakers.
“Pennsylvanians are losing faith in state government, and one way to remedy that is to enact a ban on all gifts to elected officials and their staff – with no exceptions,” McGinty said. “There will always be a gray area and distrust by the public as long as lobbyists are permitted to provide gifts to the people they are lobbying. The Legislature must act now to ban all gifts immediately because the people of Pennsylvania deserve a government they can trust.”
McGinty, a Rhawnhurst native and St. Hubert High School graduate, also pledged that if the Legislature doesn’t act, as governor she would ban all gifts to administration officials and staff under her jurisdiction.
Allyson Schwartz, who is also seeking the Democratic nod for governor, unveiled an economic plan called InvestPA. The proposal would spend $30 million to help manufacturers grow, hire and stay in Pennsylvania. It would also invest in the state’s biotechnology, life sciences and high-tech industries.
“Our hard-working and determined people, vast energy resources, manufacturing base, top universities, life sciences and agricultural strength all provide opportunity,” Schwartz said. “As governor, I will push Harrisburg to think differently, be innovative and take advantage of our assets to grow our economy and create new, good-paying jobs for working families.”
In addition, she would require that, by 2030, 30 percent of electricity must come from clean, renewable sources.
To pay for some of her initiatives, she would enact a 5-percent tax on natural gas drilling.
Meanwhile, Schwartz announced a plan to give tax incentives to companies to hire, train and retain about 10,000 new employees.
Schwartz faults Gov. Tom Corbett for Pennsylvania being among the bottom 10 states for job growth.
As governor, she would, among other things, reinvest in community college and vocational training initiatives. She’d like to double the number of worker-trainees enrolled in registered apprenticeship programs from 10,000 to 20,000.
“We must bridge the gap between those who want jobs and the employers who need skilled workers,” she said. “By making real investments in creating partnerships between government, industry and our universities, we can allow employers to take advantage of the greatest asset Pennsylvania has - our workers.”
Jay Paterno, a former Penn State assistant football coach, dropped out of the Democratic primary for lieutenant governor in the midst of a challenge to his nominating petitions.
“I thank everyone who has supported our campaign. I know we entered this race late and I alone bear responsibility for that and for any shortcomings in our efforts,” he said. ••