Three Democrats running in the 13th Congressional District generally agreed on most issues at a forum on Sunday afternoon.
Meanwhile, a fourth candidate skipped the event. Former congresswoman Marjorie Margolies, who is considered by many to be the frontrunner in the race, was a no-show.
Participating were state Sen. Daylin Leach, state Rep. Brendan Boyle and Dr. Valerie Arkoosh. In his closing statement, Boyle thanked “two of my three opponents” for taking part.
The event was held at the Upper Dublin Township Building, which is actually located in the 7th Congressional District. It was sponsored by the Montgomery County chapter of Democracy for America and the Area 6 Democratic Committee of Horsham and Upper Dublin townships. Will Bunch, of the Philadelphia Daily News, was the moderator. About 200 people attended.
Arkoosh, making her first bid for office, stressed her background as a health care reform advocate.
“We are sending way too many career politicians to Washington,” she said in her opening statement.
In his opening statement, Boyle pointed to his humble roots and noted he has the support of more than 20 labor unions.
Leach, a lawyer, told the crowd that he grew up on Kindred Street in Castor Gardens before being sent to a series of foster homes and attending eight elementary schools. He introduced a bill to legalize gay marriage when the issue did not enjoy wide support. He likes to take on tough issues, even if they are unpopular.
“That’s what I’ve done over the last 12 years,” said Leach, elected to the state House of Representatives in 2002 and to the Senate in 2008.
In the question-and-answer session, the candidates favored increases in the minimum wage and in spending on transportation needs and opposed any cuts to Social Security.
“It’s government investment that’s part of the answer, not part of the problem,” Boyle said.
The candidates disagreed in a couple of areas.
Leach has introduced a bill to legalize marijuana, arguing that it is too costly to crack down on people caught with small amounts of the drug. Minorities, he said, are more likely to be arrested and convicted of marijuana possession. He added that legalization will lead to increased tax revenue.
Leach said if lawmakers started from scratch, there would be a fierce debate over the dangers of alcohol vs. marijuana.
“We would never have the current system,” he said.
Boyle and Arkoosh would take a wait-and-see approach as two states, Colorado and Washington, recently legalized marijuana.
Arkoosh and Leach are strong opponents of vouchers for non-private schools.
“Money cannot come from the public school budget,” Arkoosh said.
“Fix the public schools. That’s the answer, not vouchers,” Leach said.
Boyle said parents of students in low-performing schools should have options. He said it is “hypocritical” for Main Line residents who send their children to private schools to oppose vouchers. Arkoosh and Leach live in Montgomery County and send their kids to private school.
Dee Adcock, a Republican candidate in the 13th Congressional District, said he is running, in part, to stop the ever-increasing national debt. He puts the figure at $17 trillion “and growing.”
Adcock owns a swimming pool company. He was the Republican candidate against Rep. Allyson Schwartz in 2010, taking almost 44 percent of the vote.
Other Republican candidates are John Fritz, an activist from the Far Northeast, and Beverly Plosa-Bowser, a retired U.S. Air Force colonel who was scheduled to announce her candidacy on Tuesday night at the Cpl. John Loudenslager American Legion Post 366 in Fox Chase.
Since running in 2010, Adcock has stayed active by serving as a Republican committeeman in Abington and assisting the U.S. Senate campaign of Tom Smith two years ago. He’s also joined Mayfair activist Milt Martelack, one of his key supporters from four years ago, in opposing the planned methadone clinic for Frankford Avenue and Decatur Street.
“There are far better locations than Frankford Avenue,” said Adcock, noting the site’s proximity to businesses, churches and schools.
Adcock describes the four Democrats running in the race as “somewhere between liberal and extremely liberal.”
“That’s normal operating procedure for the Democratic Party,” he said.
Adcock recalls President Barack Obama visiting Arcadia University in 2010 to promote his health care reform plan. Adcock spoke outside the event, calling Obamacare a “disaster.” Four years later, Adcock said his words ring true, noting that a couple of million people had their policies canceled. Obama repeatedly said, “If you like your health care plan, you can keep it,” a statement that PolitiFact named the “Lie of the Year” for 2013.
Adcock fears rising health insurance rates and potential bailouts of insurance companies. He thinks the health law needs to include tort reform, arguing that doctors worried about lawsuits are over prescribing medicine and ordering unnecessary tests. He’d also like to see individuals be permitted to buy insurance plans from other states.
U.S. Rep. Allyson Schwartz, a Democratic candidate for governor, wants to expand voting rights in Pennsylvania.
Schwartz would work to repeal any voter identification proposal that becomes law. She calls such proposals “Un-American.” She’d also establish same-day registration to increase participation. She’d permit online registration, like 12 other states do. She’d allow people to vote by mail. And she favors early voting to reduce lines and offer flexibility to busy Pennsylvanians. Thirty-two states have early voting laws.
Katie McGinty, another Democratic candidate for governor, has proposed a tax cut for working families.
McGinty is a Rhawnhurst native who served as secretary of the state Department of Environmental Protection. She is making her first run for office.
The candidate would increase the state’s income tax exemption to benefit more than 1.4 million people already covered by the exemption and as many as 200,000 newly eligible Pennsylvanians. She estimates the cost would be between $60 million and $70 million in the first year. She’d make up the money in increased sales tax revenue as the economy expands.
Meanwhile, McGinty announced she raised $2.4 million in the nine months since she announced her candidacy.
“We have always expected to be outspent by longtime elected officials like Allyson Schwartz and Rob McCord and by Tom Wolf’s mega millions,” said Mike Mikus, McGinty’s campaign manager. “But with Katie, we have the best candidate, the strongest message, policy proposals to improve the lives of hard-working families and the financial resources to not just win this election, but build a brighter Pennsylvania.”
The campaign of Gov. Tom Corbett raised $6.8 million in 2013 and has $7.5 million cash on hand.
“Gov. Corbett is thankful for the countless supporters of his campaign who recognize his ‘More Jobs, Less Taxes’ agenda is delivering real results and that he keeps the promises he makes to his constituents,” said Mike Barley, campaign manager for Corbett and Lt. Gov. Jim Cawley.
The Philadelphia Republican City Committee is looking for local college students to serve as interns.
Interested individuals can contact executive director Joe DeFelice at 215-561-0650 or firstname.lastname@example.org