Northeast Times

State rep kicks off re-election campaign

State Rep. Mark Co­hen

State Rep. Mark Co­hen kicked off his re-elec­tion cam­paign on Sat­urday at Daly’s Ir­ish Pub in Wissi­nom­ing.

Co­hen (D-202nd dist.), a Castor Gar­dens res­id­ent who has been in of­fice since 1974, faces civic lead­er Jared So­lomon in the May 20 primary.

In Har­ris­burg, Co­hen is minor­ity party chair­man of the House State Gov­ern­ment Com­mit­tee.

One is­sue he has long cham­pioned is a high­er min­im­um wage. He wants the wage to rise from $7.25 an hour to $11.50 by 2016, with an­nu­al cost-of-liv­ing in­creases there­after.

“We will prob­ably not be vic­tori­ous this year, but we will ul­ti­mately win more money for low- and mod­er­ate-in­come work­ers at a state and fed­er­al level,” he said. “Work­ers should not be flirt­ing with poverty or in poverty.”

Co­hen said that, while many neigh­bor­hoods are not the same as they used to be, a lot of res­id­ents are liv­ing in the finest com­munit­ies of their lives.

“They have a strong stake in build­ing our neigh­bor­hoods up, not tear­ing them down,” he said. “We can work with our neigh­bors old and new to build a bet­ter place for all of us.”

The in­cum­bent also sup­ports anti-dis­crim­in­a­tion le­gis­la­tion for gays; an ex­pan­sion of Medi­caid to in­clude more middle-class people; an ex­pan­sion of phar­ma­ceut­ic­al cov­er­age for seni­or cit­izens; leg­al­iz­a­tion of marijuana for med­ic­al pur­poses; in­creased fund­ing for SEPTA and re­pairs to roads and bridges; ad­di­tion­al fund­ing for pub­lic edu­ca­tion; and cre­ation of an elec­ted school board in Phil­adelphia.

Among those in at­tend­ance were ward lead­ers Bill Dol­bow and Janice Sul­man.

“Every time I call Mark about a situ­ation, he’s al­ways there,” said Dol­bow, Demo­crat­ic lead­er of the Lawndale-based 35th Ward.

Labor uni­ons will spon­sor a fun­draiser for Co­hen Thursday night at the Chick­ie’s & Pete’s loc­a­tion on Rob­bins Av­en­ue.

••

Jared So­lomon, founder and pres­id­ent of the Castor Gar­dens-based Take Back Your Neigh­bor­hood civic as­so­ci­ation, an­nounced that he would forgo tax­pay­er-fun­ded per-diem re­im­burse­ments for per­son­al ex­penses, travel or food for state busi­ness.

This pledge was made to con­trast him with Demo­crat­ic primary op­pon­ent Mark Co­hen, who is usu­ally one of the top law­makers in col­lect­ing per diems.

“In 40 years in of­fice, Rep. Co­hen has only led the 253 le­gis­lat­ors in one thing — tax­pay­er-fun­ded per­son­al ex­penses,” So­lomon said. “When elec­ted, I’ll put the brakes on the gravy train lead­ing to Rep­res­ent­at­ive Co­hen’s door­step, and start di­vert­ing it to res­id­ents of the North­east.”

••

Demo­cracy for Amer­ica last week en­dorsed state Sen. Daylin Leach in the Demo­crat­ic primary in the 13th Con­gres­sion­al Dis­trict.

“We can de­pend on Daylin Leach to lead the fight in Con­gress against in­come in­equal­ity on day one, be­cause wheth­er it’s as a law­yer, pro­fess­or or state sen­at­or, he’s al­ways stood up and fought for the work­ing poor and middle class,” said Charles Cham­ber­lain, ex­ec­ut­ive dir­ect­or of Demo­cracy for Amer­ica.

Leach has spent his time in the le­gis­lature tak­ing on the NRA on gun con­trol le­gis­la­tion; stand­ing up to Gov. Tom Corbett on school fund­ing and ac­cess to wo­men’s health care; work­ing to de­feat voter iden­ti­fic­a­tion laws; spon­sor­ing same-sex mar­riage le­gis­la­tion; and vot­ing to pro­tect the en­vir­on­ment.

Demo­cracy for Amer­ica is a pro­gress­ive or­gan­iz­a­tion foun­ded by former Ver­mont Gov. Howard Dean. Leach has already earned the en­dorse­ment of Philly for Change, a DFA af­fil­i­ate, and the DFA’s Mont­gomery County chapter.

,,••

U.S. Rep. Allyson Schwartz, a Demo­crat­ic can­did­ate for gov­ernor, pro­posed a $100 mil­lion prop­erty tax re­bate.

“Pennsylvania seni­ors de­serve a se­cure re­tire­ment, the abil­ity to re­main in their homes and com­munit­ies as they age, and ac­cess to qual­ity long-term care,” Schwartz said.

Schwartz will raise the in­come ceil­ing un­der which seni­ors can qual­i­fy for re­bates. And she will raise the max­im­um dol­lar amount of the ac­tu­al re­bates, which has not been ad­jus­ted since 2006.

Through these changes, Schwartz will add $100 mil­lion to avail­able seni­or prop­erty tax and rent re­bates, which amoun­ted to $282 mil­lion in 2012-13. This rep­res­ents a 35-per­cent in­crease.

Schwartz will fin­ance these ad­di­tion­al be­ne­fits by re­du­cing the Corbett ad­min­is­tra­tion’s di­ver­sion of Pennsylvania Lot­tery funds to pay for seni­ors’ nurs­ing home care un­der Medi­caid.

••

Former Vice Pres­id­ent Al Gore an­nounced his en­dorse­ment of his “great friend and trus­ted former col­league” Katie Mc­Ginty for gov­ernor.

Mc­Ginty, a Demo­crat who grew up in Rhawn­hurst and at­ten­ded St. Hubert High School, served in the Clin­ton/Gore ad­min­is­tra­tion as chair­wo­man of the White House Coun­cil on En­vir­on­ment­al Qual­ity.

Pri­or to that, she was an ad­viser on then-Sen. Gore’s staff, work­ing on cli­mate and en­vir­on­ment­al is­sues. Mc­Ginty also served as an ad­viser to Gore’s 2000 pres­id­en­tial cam­paign.

“I strongly en­dorse Katie Mc­Ginty for gov­ernor. She shares my be­lief that we can build a bet­ter coun­try and im­prove the lives of hard-work­ing fam­il­ies. Katie has al­ways viewed en­vir­on­ment­al chal­lenges as eco­nom­ic op­por­tun­it­ies. She knows how to cre­ate jobs while pro­tect­ing the en­vir­on­ment. And she has the in­tel­lect, lead­er­ship skills and op­tim­ist­ic, can-do at­ti­tude to build a bet­ter and more pros­per­ous Pennsylvania,” Gore said.

In 2003, Mc­Ginty was nom­in­ated by Gov. Ed Rendell as the first wo­man to head the state De­part­ment of En­vir­on­ment­al Pro­tec­tion.

“Wheth­er as head of the Pennsylvania De­part­ment of En­vir­on­ment­al Pro­tec­tion or chair of the White House Coun­cil on En­vir­on­ment­al Qual­ity, Katie has al­ways be­lieved that we can cre­ate jobs and eco­nom­ic growth, while pro­tect­ing our en­vir­on­ment. And she has the re­cord to prove it,” Gore said.

“She at­trac­ted clean en­ergy com­pan­ies to Pennsylvania, bring­ing a bil­lion dol­lars in new in­vest­ment and cre­at­ing 3,000 jobs. Un­der Katie’s lead­er­ship, Pennsylvania be­came No. 1 in the coun­try in wind en­ergy jobs, No. 2 in sol­ar and a pi­on­eer in en­ergy ef­fi­cient tech­no­logy and sys­tems. She knows that good en­vir­on­ment­al policy is also good eco­nom­ic policy. I strongly urge oth­ers to join me in sup­port­ing Katie Mc­Ginty for gov­ernor of Pennsylvania.”

••

Mean­while, Mc­Ginty be­came the first Pennsylvania gubernat­ori­al can­did­ate to call for elim­in­at­ing the sub­min­im­um wage paid to tipped work­ers and in­creas­ing the min­im­um wage to $10.10 an hour for all work­ers.

The fed­er­al min­im­um wage for tipped work­ers has been frozen at $2.13 for the last 21 years, while the gen­er­al min­im­um wage has ris­en to $7.25 an hour.

Mc­Ginty sup­ports pay­ing tipped work­ers 100 per­cent of the hourly wage paid to oth­er work­ers.

“This is­sue has a par­tic­u­lar im­pact on wo­men, who rep­res­ent 67 per­cent of res­taur­ant work­ers. It’s time that tipped work­ers re­ceive the same min­im­um wage as every oth­er work­er in Pennsylvania. While em­ploy­ers are sup­posed to en­sure that con­sumer tips bring every em­ploy­ee to the over­all min­im­um wage, too of­ten that does not hap­pen. Tipped work­ers, who of­ten work sev­er­al jobs to sup­port their fam­il­ies, should be paid at least a min­im­um wage for the hard work they do,” she said.

••

The Corbett ad­min­is­tra­tion has launched a re­vamped web­site for Pennsylvani­ans to view the cam­paign fin­ance re­ports of can­did­ates for state le­gis­lat­ive and statewide of­fices.

The new site of­fers vis­it­ors a vari­ety of can­did­ate fil­ings from which to choose. Without the user se­lect­ing an­oth­er type of fil­ing, the site auto­mat­ic­ally de­faults to show­ing cam­paign re­ports, which con­tain the most com­pre­hens­ive in­form­a­tion on what a can­did­ate or cam­paign com­mit­tee raised and spent. The site also de­faults to the cur­rent year, un­less a user chooses a spe­cif­ic past year, or all years for which a giv­en can­did­ate has filed re­ports.

The cam­paign fin­ance web­site is avail­able by vis­it­ing www.dos.state.pa.us, and un­der the head­ing “Most Fre­quently Re­ques­ted Ser­vices,” click­ing on “Cam­paign Fin­ance Re­port Search.” ••

You can reach at twaring@bsmphilly.com.

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