State Rep. John Sabatina Jr. last week endorsed former congresswoman Marjorie Margolies in the Democratic primary in the 13th Congressional District.
Sabatina credited Margolies with running a grassroots campaign in the Northeast. He noted that she has the endorsement of four Northeast ward leaders — Bill Dolbow, Janice Sulman, Mike McAleer and John Sabatina, his dad. And he said she had a reputation for providing good constituent service when she was in Congress in 1993-94.
“I look forward to working with Marjorie to continue to deliver a high level of constituent service for the Northeast and to fight for the working families of my district,” he said.
Margolies said the endorsement is an affirmation of the inclusive nature of her campaign, which she described as being as “comfortable speaking to the needs of those in Rhawnhurst as those in Rockledge.”
“I will work hard each day of this campaign to continue to earn John’s support and look forward to working closely with him when I get to Washington to bring federal support to the working families of the 174th Legislative District and across the Northeast,” she said.
Dr. Valerie Arkoosh, who also is seeking the Democratic nomination in the 13th Congressional District, is pleased with the results at last week’s conclusion of the Affordable Care Act’s first enrollment period.
Arkoosh, who lobbied for the healthcare reform law, said the ACA, which passed in 2010, “is the Medicare and Medicaid of our time.”
The candidate, who once served as president of the National Physicians Alliance, pointed to data showing that at least 9.5 million previously uninsured Americans now have health care coverage.
“The Affordable Care Act is the start, not the end, of health care reform,” she said. “Instead of running away from the conversation, we need to continue paving the path forward. We need leadership in Congress so that access to quality and affordable health care can be a reality for all Americans.”
State Rep. Brendan Boyle, another Democratic candidate in the 13th Congressional District, blasted a budget proposal by Republican Rep. Paul Ryan, of Wisconsin.
Ryan has proposed balancing the budget by 2024, largely with spending cuts.
Boyle called the plan “nothing short of a declaration of war on working families across the 13th Congressional District.”
Boyle cited cuts to Medicaid, food stamps and grants for low-income college students.
U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders, an independent from Vermont, has endorsed state Sen. Daylin Leach in the Democratic primary in the 13th Congressional District.
Sanders cited Leach’s focus on expanding Social Security benefits, raising the minimum wage, making college more affordable and shrinking the gap between the rich and the poor.
“At a time when our country has more income and wealth inequality than any other major country on earth, and when the gap between the very rich and everyone else is growing wider, it is imperative that we send candidates like Daylin Leach to the U.S. Congress,” Sanders said.
There is one fewer Democratic candidate in the Democratic primary in the 173rd Legislative District.
Arlen Curtis LaRue was removed from the ballot for an insufficient number of nominating petitions, leaving Mike Driscoll, Dennis Kilderry and Paul DeFinis in the race. The Republican candidate is Mike Tomlinson, who invites the public to attend a town hall meeting on Tuesday at 7 p.m. at Holmesburg Recreation Center, at Rhawn and Ditman streets.
Jeffrey Voice, who is challenging state Rep. Kevin Boyle (D-172nd dist.) in the primary, will remain on the ballot after surviving a challenge to his petitions.
Voice said the challenge was an affront to military veterans.
“I want to thank all the volunteers who put in the time, played by the rules and stood by my side in the face of this well-funded challenge by the political insiders,” he said.
Katie McGinty, a Democratic candidate for governor, is proposing a series of ethics and voting reforms to restore confidence in state government, saying, “It’s time to clean up Harrisburg.”
“We need a government as good as the people of Pennsylvania. We need to implement an absolute ban on gifts to public officials and public employees,” said McGinty, a former secretary of the state Department of Environmental Protection.
McGinty, a Rhawnhurst native and St. Hubert High School graduate, is also calling for an independent reapportionment commission to draw up legislative districts.
“I support a fair, independent, non-partisan reapportionment process. Not only do gerrymandered districts fail to present a reasonable community of interest in each legislative district, but the gerrymandered districts too often guarantee the re-election of incumbents, which fosters the very partisan bickering that has created inertia and incivility in our political process,” she said.
McGinty would also repeal the voter identification law and add other reforms.
“To make it easier to vote and register, I propose extending the deadline for registration; allowing mail-in voting; allowing same-day registration and same-day absentee ballots; and creating more manageable and accessible voting precincts,” she said.
McGinty wants Pennsylvania to join with other states that are supporting the National Popular Vote Movement, which would have states cast their electoral votes for the candidate who wins the national popular vote. Eleven states have adopted this plan.
Allyson Schwartz, who also is seeking the Democratic nod for governor, spoke of an ethics reform plan during a debate sponsored by the Temple University College Democrats.
Schwartz would create a cabinet-level chief integrity officer to enforce state ethics rules and work with the General Assembly to enact a gift ban for all state employees and limits on campaign donations by individuals and committees.
State Treasurer Rob McCord, another Democratic candidate for governor, released a plan to invest more than $1.3 billion in early learning and K-12 programs.
“My plan not only invests in today’s students but it makes sure that we fully fund our classrooms – from pre-kindergarten through high school and every step in between – so everyone can take advantage of our world-class teachers, schools and early learning centers,” he said.
McCord’s education agenda includes special education, a review of charter and cyber charter school funding and standardized test reforms.
In other campaign news, McCord released a plan to create a drillers’ tax of 10 percent on the net value of natural gas after extraction.
At that rate, the plan would generate $1.63 billion in the first year, the most revenue of any plan under consideration.
“We’re sitting on top of one of the largest natural gas formations in the world,” McCord said. “And yet for the privilege of allowing drillers to make billions of dollars in profits from our resources, we receive less than any other state in the country. That makes no sense at all. These natural gas resources belong to the people of Pennsylvania, and the people deserve to be fairly and justly compensated for allowing drillers to profit from their resources.”
McCord would use the revenue generated by the drillers’ tax to protect the environment and to invest in education.
Since the first well was drilled in Pennsylvania in 2005, the state’s annual production of natural gas has increased more than 1,200 percent.
“The natural gas in the Marcellus shale isn’t going anywhere, and neither are the companies who are seeking to make billions of dollars in profit from it,” McCord said. “There’s no reason Pennsylvania families should not be fairly compensated for allowing these drillers to have access to this amazing resource. Nor is there any reason we should be timid or take half-measures on behalf of Pennsylvania’s families.”
Meanwhile, McCord received the endorsement of the Pennsylvania Professional Fire Fighters Association, which represents more than 10,000 active and retired professional firefighters, EMTs and paramedics.
“Rob is the only one, and I mean the only one in the race for governor, who has proven himself as a tireless champion of Pennsylvania’s working families,” said Art Martynuska, president of the PPFFA. ••