In the Pennsylvania House of Representatives, the Northeast is divided into nine districts.
Incredibly, only one of those districts has a contested race in November.
In the 173rd Legislative District, it’ll be Republican Mike Tomlinson against Democrat Mike Driscoll. Democratic Rep. Mike McGeehan is not seeking another term.
Driscoll is a business development administrator for the Philadelphia Federal Credit Union. He served as deputy secretary for the state Department of General Services under Gov. Bob Casey.
The two candidates have a respect for each other, having shared a stage at a recent East Torresdale Civic Association meeting.
Driscoll’s top issues include jobs, noting the potential of City Councilman Bobby Henon’s Manufacturing Task Force; more funding for education, especially in the early grades; public safety, particularly the fight against drugs; and strengthening the Pennsylvania Lottery to keep proceeds going to senior citizens.
Driscoll worries that too many smart, hard-working young people cannot afford a college education.
“That’s troubling,” he said.
Driscoll is a board member of the Delaware River City Corporation, and he believes the parks and trails being created are the first steps toward a transformation of the area.
“All of a sudden, it changes neighborhoods,” he said.
Driscoll said he will work hard on the campaign trail until the polls close on Nov. 4.
“I’m going to run up until 8 o’clock,” he said.
Tomlinson, a former CPA and high school teacher, ran for the state Senate in 2012. He’s long coached youth sports and is active with the Tacony/Holmesburg Town Watch, Holmesburg Civic Association and Friends of Holmesburg Library.
Tomlinson would abolish the School Reform Commission and replace it with a board that includes parents, teachers and corporate citizens. He backs other education reforms.
“I support vouchers. I support charter schools,” he said.
The Republican favors tort reform to curb frivolous lawsuits. As a way to save money, he wants to cut the number of state senators from 50 to 38 and representatives from 203 to 150. He’d also eliminate taxpayer-funded mailings from lawmakers.
“That would be one helluva start,” he said.
As for methadone clinics, he maintains they are not effective. He thinks addicts would be better served in drug treatment facilities. He also worries about an increase in crime at the two clinics poised to open in Holmesburg.
“I’m extremely against the methadone clinics,” he said.
The 173rd district has a lot more Democrats, but Tomlinson believes a lot of them are independent minded or even Republican leaning, such as police officers and firefighters who register as Democrats to vote in primaries.
Tomlinson has knocked on about 8,000 doors since mid-May, and the House Republican Campaign Committee follows up by mailing postcards.
“It’s going good,” he said. “People like when you come to their door. I believe if I talk to a person, I’ll get their vote.”
At present, Republicans hold 13 of the 18 seats allotted to Pennsylvania in the U.S. House of Representatives.
“Come Nov. 4, 14 are going to be represented by Republicans,” predicted Lt. Gov. Jim Cawley.
Cawley appeared last week at Knowlton Mansion in Fox Chase at a fundraiser for businessman Dee Adcock, the Republican candidate in the 13th Congressional District. Adcock faces Democrat Brendan Boyle, a state representative.
Cawley described Adcock as the embodiment of the American dream, citing his family, successful business and charitable giving. He also noted that Adcock is a former baseball and fast-pitch softball player.
“Dee Adcock is gonna hit it out of the park on Nov. 4,” he said.
Among those at the fundraiser were state Rep. John Taylor; former congressman Jon Fox; and Joe Rooney, the GOP’s candidate in 2012 in the 13th Congressional District. The Greater Kensington String Band provided entertainment.
Sandy Adcock, the candidate’s wife, described him as a man whose charitable endeavors have helped the homeless, youths and the USO.
If elected, Adcock will donate his salary to charities in the Northeast and Montgomery County.
Adcock blasted President Barack Obama for foreign policy blunders, inaction on illegal immigration and the scandals at the IRS and Department of Veterans Affairs. He faulted the president for the near-doubling of the federal debt since taking office.
Adcock is pro-life, supports term limits and backs construction of the Keystone XL Pipeline to create jobs. He is in favor of school vouchers and expansion of charter schools.
In 2010, Adcock took 44 percent of the vote against Democratic Rep. Allyson Schwartz, who did not run for re-election this year to make an unsuccessful bid for governor. He thinks he’ll do better this time because it’s an open seat and he has better name identification.
However, it’s a new district, with a stronger Democratic tilt. And 2014 will probably not be as strong a year for Republicans as 2010, when the GOP shellacked Democrats across the country. Adcock acknowledges he has an “uphill battle,” but remains confident because he said he has a winning message.
“I honestly believe we can win this thing,” he said.
At the Adcock fundraiser, Cawley also addressed the campaign for governor. Republican Gov. Tom Corbett is in an uphill battle against Democrat Tom Wolf, a wealthy York County businessman.
Cawley cited Corbett’s elimination of a $4.2 billion deficit and an unemployment rate that’s dropped from 8.2 percent to 5.6 percent since the governor took office. More than 180,000 private sector jobs have been created in that time. Cawley said Wolf is not the right man for the job.
“If you like what you see out of the Obama administration, you’re gonna love Tom Wolf,” he said. ••