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PODCAST: Republican Liz Ferry Wants to Bring Fiscal Responsibility to Montco County Board of Commissioners

From enlisting as a Torpedoman’s Mate in the United States Naval Reserves to serving as a township commissioner in Upper Dublin, Liz Ferry believes she has the right stuff for the Montgomery County Board of Commissioners. She talks to DVJournal’s Linda Stein about her views on the best way to reduce taxes, protect open space, and find innovative ways to promote economic development.

Hosted by Michael Graham of

Hoping to Improve Education for All Kids, Aarati Martino Runs for Central Bucks School Board

She may be tiny, but she is a force to be reckoned with.

Aarati Martino, a Google software engineer for nearly two decades and the mother of two is running for the Central Bucks School Board District Six.

Martino, the wife of Paul Martino, the venture capitalist who recently opened a posh sports bar in Center City Philadelphia, said the couple moved to Doylestown from Silicon Valley so their children could live normal lives.

“California is a very liberal place,” said Martino. “When we had our kids, we said, we can’t raise them here. It was too expensive. There’s not the support. There’s not the values.”

In Silicon Valley, “There’s a huge divide. You either send your kids to a very expensive, elite private school with all the other well-compensated people’s kids, or you could send them into public school where your kids are going to school with gangsters.”

“There’s no middle ground,” she said. “It’s actually really sad. We wanted our kids to go to school with people from all walks of life because that’s life. That’s the American way.

“Paul and I purposefully moved here from Silicon Valley so our kids could grow up somewhere normal, with good schools and great hoagies. After COVID, I saw the learning loss, especially in mathematics, and felt compelled to help fix it. My parents are immigrants, and we have benefited so much from this country, so I must pay it forward.”

Martino added, “I’m pretty sure I can use my engineering and management skills to elevate the kids and get them back on track. From there, I want to enhance their education so they will be ready for the fast-paced technological world we live in.  With disruptive technologies like ChatGPT and social media, we have to prepare kids with the right skills so they can succeed, regardless of what the future holds.

“My background is in engineering,” Martino continued. “So, I appreciate any occupation that also creates and makes things better, including the wealth of artisans, hairdressers, writers, chefs, woodworkers…all living around us. We should build mentorships for our kids with these amazing experts at an early age while their minds are so fresh,” she added.

But some in Central Bucks have been protesting since a Republican majority was elected to the school board in 2021. Media coverage is routinely negative. Members of the education establishment are fighting the board on several issues, such as removing pornographic books from school libraries and banning flags that promote politics from classrooms.

“We saw in politics these things are happening in southern California, and now it’s coming to our doorstep,” said Martino.

Martino is already under attack, with people saying her husband is buying her a seat on the school board.

But Martino, who holds degrees from M.I.T. and a Ph.D. from Stanford, said she makes her own money.

“She said, ‘I feel it’s my responsibility to run,’ and I was like, ‘Yes. Let’s go. Let’s do it.’”

Martino is detail-oriented and believes she would be a great school board member.

While some think the minutiae that school boards deal with is dull, she explained, “I’ve actually gotten good at that kind of stuff. So when you’re talking about the boring stuff at school board meetings, it’s like, no, that’s actually the (important) stuff. If you know those tiny little details, if you understand, then you can put that stuff together and actually build something really good,” said Martino. “You just need to know how to do it and pay attention to it…And once you know how something works, this is how this works and how this money goes here, well, you know.”

“Bucks County is such fertile ground, and the district is already affording so many great opportunities for our kids, and I believe we can do even more. I would love to unite the community to do what we all agree upon, enriching our children so they can flourish as adults.”

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David Oh: Defying the Status Quo As He Considers Philly Mayor Race

Ten candidates are running to be Philadelphia’s next mayor. But David Oh, Republican councilman-at-large, said he believes there is room for an 11th.

Oh, who serves as the minority whip and chair of the Committee on Global Opportunities & the Creative/Innovative Economy, wants to be the change Philadelphia needs.

“I want to challenge the status quo of this city.” Oh said.

Growing up in southwest Philadelphia in an African American community, Oh has fought for justice on behalf of all Philadelphians. Running from Ukrainian events to visits with the Haitian community and functions with Chinese organizations, he is a ubiquitous presence in the community.

“He’s everywhere. He tries to help the citizens no matter how small the ask,” Yolanda Bryant, 47, an independent working for the advocacy group Faith said. Oh helped her family find justice after a criminal raped her granddaughter. “He will always make time to hear you out. He’s a man of honor,” she said.

During his tenure on city council, Oh has fought for many issues, with reforming the public education system at the top of his list.

“Frankly, what is going on in public schools is unconstitutional,” Oh said.

He acknowledges the need to emphasize the record-high crime that plagues the city.

“Crime is the number one issue,” Oh said. But there is a stark disconnect in this city between some neighborhoods and the criminal justice system.

“It is not the kid getting shot who is calling the shots,” Oh said. City officials must intervene to instill more faith in the criminal justice system.

“Who do politicians serve? Those who vote.”

He said he would seek to bridge the gap between different populations in Philadelphia.

Oh also pointed to job creation opportunities, highlighting other cities’ innovations. He sees no reason why that cannot be the case in Philadelphia. In Oh’s view, no area is more important than the arts and culture. It’s a $4 billion industry that brings in $224.3 million in state and local taxes. And it’s a segment of the economy that is overlooked.

“People want to be somebody and a city that doesn’t provide an opportunity is a city full of unhappy people,” Oh said.

Oh created PHL LIVE Center Stage as a city council member, a free platform for musicians who may not have enough means to earn a living.

“Sometimes you have to tell them they are not good enough, but that’s ok,” Oh said. He sees great value in this economic engine and this love of music which can provide a prosperous career.

Oh has shown resilience throughout his career. Losing his first two bids at city council in 2003 and 2007 did not deter Oh.

“Trying is running three times,” Oh explained. In 2011, the former U.S. army member narrowly defeated former mayoral candidate Al Taubenberger for the final seat, a historic win, becoming the first Asian American to be elected to the city council.

The United States has a complex history with Asian Americans, which Oh attributes to the beginning of the California Gold Rush and certain individuals scapegoating Asian Americans for the downturn of the U.S. economy. Although the COVID–19 virus has not helped alleviate the tension, Oh says it is nothing new.

“It is just new experiences. People have been vilifying Asian Americans for a long time,” Oh said.

Oh is not new to Philadelphia politics. He served on former Mayor Ed Rendell’s transition team, as an assistant district attorney, as well as on Gov. Tom Ridge’s trade mission to South Korea.

During his time as a city council member, Oh has fought the Department of Human Services (DHS) over what he deemed “inhumane removal of children,” trying to engage with the attorney general. As a veteran himself, Oh has also created legislation that would provide a tax credit for employers who hire returning veterans with $15,000 off their business taxes over three years.

Oh is a firm believer in the Republican Lincolnian philosophy of equal rights and having a government that does not dictate our lives. He acknowledges the party’s weaknesses in Philadelphia, classifying himself as an independent Republican.
“I’m not interested in political parties. Neither party is perfect,” Oh said.

Oh’s campaign may have to contend with a 2011 brouhaha in which he overstated his credentials by claiming he was a Green Beret, infuriating many military veterans. He apologized at the time and said he should have used the term “Special Forces” for the unit in which he served in the Army National Guard.

Though he has not formally announced a run for mayor, it appears he is ready to dive into the crowded race. Oh is aware it will take the support of people from all demographics if he is to win, as he vowed to support all Philadelphians.

Although Oh knows that people will oppose him,  he shrugs it off.

“That’s politics,” he said.

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GOP PA-04 Candidate Nascimento Takes Questions at Town Hall

About 30 people came to Blue Bell Tuesday for a town hall held by Republican congressional candidate Christian Nascimento.

Nascimento, 48, who is challenging incumbent Rep. Madeleine Dean (D-Montgomery), discussed help for American businesses and keeping the country safe.

“Small businesses are the life blood of the American economy,” he said. Supply chain issues are plaguing businesses, including Open Tier Systems, an IT service company that hosted the town hall.  That issue, coupled with inflation and the losses from COVID-19 shutdowns, has hit the U.S. economy hard.

“That’s the story I hear time and time again, whether it’s someone that works for a big national company or the barber shop down the street. Things have gotten more expensive.”

“There’s a common denominator to all of this, and it’s the failed policies of this administration and this Congress,” said Nascimento.  “The president has to be honest. This is not Vladimir Putin’s price hike. You can’t blame all of this on a mad dictator…And the Congress blindly goes along with (Biden). The representative that we currently have in this seat (Dean) votes with the president 100 percent of the time. So she owns this.”

“I believe we can develop a pro-growth agenda and a pro-growth economy,” said Nascimento.

“A lot of it is making sure the American people, whether they’re born in Norristown or Narberth, have a good job, and can build a good life.”

He called for reducing the regulatory burden on all businesses, particularly small businesses and for an increase in the R&D (research and development) tax credits.

“Just think of our government focused on things we need to solve for and that didn’t cede AI (artificial intelligence) to China and other folks who are our adversaries,” he said. Nascimento also called for increased oil production in the U.S. to ease “the pain at the pump,” while investing in renewables.

Instead of using our natural resources Biden canceled the Keystone pipeline and is begging for oil in the Middle East, putting America at the “economic moral and national security mercy of our adversaries.”

Nascimento is a Montgomery County native and first-generation American.  After a career with Comcast, the father of four is running for office to serve the country and “give back,” he told Delaware Valley Journal.

“I’m going to be an independent voice for the people of the 4th (District),” he said. “I am going to go toe-to-toe with Democrats and I’m going to buck Republicans sometimes. I’m going to vote for what I believe is right.”

Whitpain resident Brian McCarthy, who owns Open Tier, asked Nascimento about the cyber security problems the country faces.  Nascimento said the country needs to invest in our digital infrastructure.

“We are woefully unprepared for this digital economy,” he said.  Mentioning the nuclear power plant in Limerick, he said anything connected to the internet could be hacked. “Power plants, business, homes, they’re all at risk,” he said. “The amount of harm those cyberattacks can do is breathtaking.”

“There has to be a response,” he said. “You cannot allow foreign actors to hack into government, to hack into individuals living in this country and allow them to get away with it. Right now, Putin, Xi, none of those folks expect there is going to be any repercussions. Because President Biden has shown time and time again they’re right.”

America also needs to compete with China’s “Belt and Road” policy. This country needs to bring back manufacturing so “we are not dependent on the Chinese” for essential products.

“Peace through strength is the only way to deal with China,” said Nascimento.

Local resident Scott Miller asked, “After Friday (Supreme Court decision on Roe) the whole point of the Democratic initiative is going to be a wild-eyed attack on everything, because of federalism, sending things back to the states to be determined, to be debated and voted on…How do you intend to deal with a wild-eyed onslaught?”

Nascimento said he would stay calm.

“We’ve got to change the way we’ve been doing things in the last year and a half,” he said. “The damage that’s being done to the economy and by extension to American families and ultimately to the country is just unprecedented. You may call me naïve but I believe that people are looking for leadership. The screaming and wild-eyed, I think that will work against (Democrats). The country was built on federalism.”

Blue Bell resident Katie Wenger asked about Second Amendment rights and school safety.

Nascimento said Dr. Oz, who is running for the Senate, has a great line, which the Second Amendment is second because it protects the First Amendment.

“In my mind the constitution says you have the right to bear arms,” he said. “If you’re like me and you’re pro-life, it’s not just pro-birth. It’s making sure that a child has an opportunity to live a life and be safe.”

“I’m not in favor of red flag laws because I think it’s too dangerous for a person’s individual liberty and the constitution says you can’t have your liberty taken away by unreasonable search and seizure.

“The problem we have with guns is…is enforcing the laws we have,” Nascimento said.

“When someone commits a crime with a gun, you have to arrest that person, and after you arrest them you have to prosecute them. That seems pretty basic. But that’s not happening in Philadelphia and it’s not happening in a lot of places.”

A former Methacton School Board president, he said security doors and armed resource officers would help.

“The way you respect life is you help people that are struggling,” he said. “That young man in Uvalde had clearly been struggling for a long time and showed a lot of signs of it and the system failed him. The issue in Uvalde in particular was not a gun issue. It was a mental crisis issue.”

Nascimento believes education and jobs go a long way toward preventing crime.

“You don’t have rampant crime if you have prospects,” said Nascimento. “If you look at what’s happening just down the road in Philadelphia. There are really only three problems in Philadelphia: Kenney, Krasner and Outlaw.”


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PODCAST: George Bochetto Is Ready to Battle in U.S. Senate Primary

On this edition of the Delaware Valley Journal podcast, Philadelphia attorney George Bochetto talks about his fight to win the GOP nomination in the U.S. Senate primary. Bochetto tells DVJ News Editor Linda Stein about how growing up as an orphan has influenced his view of politics and leadership, and the life lessons he’s learned from boxing.

Bochetto believes the Pennsylvania GOP wants a nominee who’ll mix it up with the Democrats on political and cultural issues, and he explains why his fight to save the Columbus statue was about far more than a holiday.

Hosted by Michael Graham.



Dr. Oz Promises to Renounce Dual Turkish Citizenship If Elected to the Senate

Republican candidate Dr. Mehmet Oz announced Wednesday he will give up his Turkish citizenship if elected to the U.S. Senate.

Oz stepped into political quicksand this week when he said he would keep his dual citizenship as both Turkish and American if elected, even if that meant giving up access to classified briefings.

On Wednesday afternoon, Republican candidate Dave McCormick held a press call with Sen. Dan Sullivan (R-Alaska) calling out Oz on his position. Less than an hour later, the celebrity doctor reversed course.

“My dual citizenship has become a distraction in this campaign. I maintained it to care for my ailing mother, but after several weeks of discussions with my family, I’m committing that before I am sworn in as the next U.S. Senator for Pennsylvania I will only be a U.S. citizen,” Oz said.

“The bigoted attacks my opponent, Dave McCormick, has made against me as the child of immigrants is reminiscent of slurs made in the past about Catholics and Jews,” said Oz. “It is a sign of McCormick’s desperate campaign that he has resorted to this disgraceful tactic. It is completely disqualifying behavior for anyone aiming to serve in the United States Senate.”

During the Wednesday press call, Sullivan told reporters top-secret intelligence reports are vital to doing his job as a senator.

Sullivan, who is also a member of the Marine Corps Reserve, said he was “quite shocked” when he learned Oz had said he would keep his Turkish citizenship and do without the intelligence reports.

“So this is a huge part of the job. It’s actually a constitutional part of the job in terms of our focus in the Senate, national security issues, much more so than the House. And from my perspective…it’s just inconceivable that you would make a decision that somehow would limit your access to this kind of intelligence that you need to do the job. My view is you need full access to all the intel that the different intelligence agencies provide us senators, to do the job effectively.”

It is more important now than ever “given the Ukraine situation,” and that the senators have been given security briefing repeatedly in the past few weeks since Russia invaded that Eastern European country, he said. And senators are privy to the top-secret information whether they are on the Armed Services or Foreign Relations committees, or not.

Asked by the Delaware Valley Journal why Oz keeping his Turkish citizenship would make a difference given that Turkey is a NATO ally, Sullivan said it makes “a big difference.”

Even the other members of so-called Five Eyes-the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand—do not see everything the senators are privy to, Sullivan noted.

“There’s a whole class of intel and it’s usually at the top-secret level that’s called “non-foreign” that “we don’t share with foreigners from any country, including Five Eyes countries,” said Sullivan.

Another reporter asked why Oz would have to renounce his dual citizenship to receive classified intelligence information. Sullivan said the issue has never been tested.

Meanwhile, McCormick responded to Oz’s remarks about him via Twitter, taunting Oz to give up his Turkish citizenship immediately: “Do it now. Voters can’t trust Mehmet Oz. He has lied about his position on abortion, the 2nd Amendment, immigration, masks, and Fauci to name a few. Renounce your Turkish citizenship now. We won’t be fooled again.”

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GOP Rep. Tracy Pennycuick Runs for State Senate

State Rep. Tracy Pennycuick is running for the state Senate seat now held by Sen. Bob Mensch (R-Bucks/Berks/Montgomery), who is retiring.

Pennycuick (R-Harleysville) says she loves her current job serving her constituents, but since Mensch is retiring, she decided to run for the Senate “so there will be a continuity of services.”

Pennycuick wants to “maintain the integrity of the area, the values of our area. I really love the job.”

If she is elected to the Senate, Pennycuick says she would work to change Pennsylvania’s onerous tax laws that are causing senior citizens to lose their homes and driving businesses to other states.

Pennycuick grew up near Boston. An Army combat veteran, she initially enlisted as a medic. She earned a degree in business and a commission in the U.S. Army. She served as a Blackhawk pilot, including three combat tours in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Desert Storm where she was awarded the bronze star.

Pennycuick retired as a lieutenant colonel after 26 years of service. She was a platoon leader, operations officer, company commander, aviation group safety officer, brigade human resources officer, executive officer, Department of Defense efficiency expert, and foreign liaison to the UK Ministry of Defence.

Pennycuick and her husband, Rick, who also served in the armed forces, settled in Harleysville when he was in command of the Defense Contract Management Agency (DCMA) Philadelphia. The couple has four grown children, three of whom are serving in the military, and two grandchildren.

“I’m excited by the opportunity to expand my service to our communities in the state Senate,” said Pennycuick. “As state representative, I’ve focused on providing our front-line heroes, families, seniors, workers, and small businesses with the support they need through the pandemic while also pushing forward important legislation that protects some of our most vulnerable populations and vital government reform.

“Additionally, we’ve made sure our schools have the resources they need to provide excellent education, so our students succeed despite the adversity presented by the pandemic.  The outpour of support thus far has been humbling, and I look forward to campaigning for every vote this year,” she said.

Mensch, meanwhile, has endorsed Pennycuick.

“I’ve worked with Tracy in Harrisburg and her district over the past couple years, and when I decided to retire, I could think of no one who would work harder for the residents of the 24th state Senate District.  Clearly, Tracy is a fighter. Her years of service in the U.S. Army and work in the private sector have prepared her for this job which is why she has been so successful in the state House. I’m happy to lend my support to her for state Senate,” stated Mensch.

If she is elected, Pennycuick says she wants to make Pennsylvania “more attractive for businesses to come and do business.”

“We have a declining population,” said Pennycuick, noting the state has lost congressional seats. By making the state more attractive for business and manufacturers, it will be more likely that “our kids stay in the area,” she said.

She would also like to “fix the school tax and real estate taxes,” so that senior citizens can afford to stay in their homes.

“That’s a big issue,” she said, and something homeowners always complain to her about.

As for reducing school taxes, Pennycuick would like to have smaller districts join larger districts so there is “an economy of scale” and districts would not be paying so many administrators. There are currently 500 school districts in Pennsylvania, she noted.

Cuts to real estate taxes could be paid for through increasing the sales tax and the personal income tax, she said. But she would like the money to stay local, rather than going to the state.

“We can do it better and have great schools,” she said. “We owe it to our seniors.”

“We’ve got to think outside of the box and be more fiscally responsive,” said Pennycuick, who favors educational choice. “We need to give our kids an opportunity to be successful. No parent ever wakes up and says, ‘I want my kid to go to a failing school.”

She would also like to see more transparency in state government as well.

Pennycuick, who said she prioritizes constituent services, was elected in the House in 2020. She has supported first responders, workers, and victims of violence. She helped pass a budget that “fully funded” schools and for reforms in state lobbying practices. She also practices bipartisanship and tries to have a Democrat as a co-sponsor of her bills, when possible.

“I’m a firm believer in fixing problems,” said Pennycuick. “We have to work together.”

After the military, Pennycuick started a small business in the aviation services industry and employed 17 people. She learned firsthand the difficulties businesses face dealing with government red-tape and regulations. That was why she has worked to support small businesses in the face of the pandemic as they fight to survive and continue to meet payroll each week.

Pennycuick served as the director of Veterans Affairs for Montgomery County for three years and continues to serve on several veteran non-profit boards.

When she is not working, Pennycuick enjoys traveling, snowshoeing, refurbishing old furniture, and rehabbing houses. Most recently, she went to Alaska, where one of her daughters is stationed and “petted a moose.”

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Businessman, Veteran Dave McCormick Enters Race for GOP Senate Nomination

After weeks of warm and fuzzy introductory television ads, David McCormick made it official last week. He is a Republican candidate for the U.S. Senate in Pennsylvania.

The wealthy CEO of Bridgewater Associates, a Connecticut hedge fund, McCormick’s ads present him as a likable, regular guy.

McCormick has introduced himself to the public by mentioning his family’s Christmas tree farm in Bloomsburg and highlighting his military service. He attended West Point and served as an Army paratrooper in the 82nd Airborne in Iraq during the First Gulf War, where he received the Bronze Star.

His latest videos talk about hunting deer, bailing hay, playing football, and wrestling in high school. He also wrestled at West Point and was co-captain his senior year.

“Now I’m running to the U.S. Senate to fight the woke mob hijacking America’s future,” McCormick says in one video. “Saving the Pennsylvania we love means fighting for it. Now let’s go.”

“All Pennsylvanians are enduring the disastrous policies that Joe Biden and the Democrats have unleashed on our nation, and I cannot stand by and let it continue,” McCormick said in a press release. “As a combat veteran, I watched the Biden administration’s disastrous handling of our withdrawal from Afghanistan, and the way he has continued to project weakness to the world.

“At the same time, in my business career I’ve seen wokeness damage our great companies and hurt good people. Weakness and wokeness are on the march across all of society. They are threats to our country’s future and antithetical to who we are as Pennsylvanians.

“I am running for Senate to stand up to the movement of weakness. I owe all of my success to the American values I learned on my family’s farm in Bloomsburg. I know what it takes to win. I’m battle-tested, Pennsylvania true. And that’s how the people of Pennsylvania can rest assured that I will never let them down.”

After serving in the Army, McCormick earned a Ph.D. in international affairs at Princeton. He then joined and led a successful tech business in Pittsburgh before taking positions in the George W. Bush administration.

He served as U.S. Treasury Under Secretary for International Affairs and also on the National Security Council and in the Department of Commerce.

He was also CEO and president of two publicly traded software companies and was a consultant at McKinsey & Co.

In addition, McCormick has been a trustee for the United Service Organizations (USO), the Alexander Hamilton Society, and Carnegie Mellon University. He and his wife, Dina, also support a “wide range” of charities, according to the campaign website.

With Sen. Pat Toomey (R-Pa.) not running for reelection, McCormick joins a crowded field of contenders in the GOP primary. Two other wealthy candidates have moved to Pennsylvania to run for the seat, Dr. Mehmet Oz and former ambassador Carla Sands. Oz, who is well-known for his television show,  jumped into the lead, according to a December poll. However, that poll also showed nearly 51 percent of voters are undecided, so the race remains fluid.

“I’m not completely convinced that Pennsylvania voters, particularly Republican voters, are going to embrace these wealthy candidates who lack a decades-long relationship to the state. Still, the ability to self-fund a race makes these candidates theoretically viable. And every new candidate in the race means that the odds of needing to get a majority of the vote to win declines,” said Berwood A. Yost, director of the Floyd Institute for Public Policy and Center for Opinion Research at Franklin & Marshall College. “The smallest winning share of the vote in a primary for governor or Senate since 1926 was 31.2 percent in the 1994 Democratic primary. The lowest share in that time period for a Republican Senate primary was 36.4 percent in 1980 when there were eight candidates running.”

“The upshot is that a well-funded candidate may only need around a third of the primary vote to win, which improves the chances that one of these recent out-of-state candidates will win,” said Yost. “But in the end, what will probably matter most in this race is which candidate former President Donald Trump chooses to endorse.”

While Trump has not yet endorsed McCormick, bestselling author Sean Parnell endorsed his fellow veteran. Parnell, who dropped out of the Senate race due to accusations made by his estranged wife in a messy divorce case, had obtained the coveted Trump endorsement early on.

At least two of the other Republican contenders have disparaged McCormick, Oz, and Sands as outsiders. Kathy Barnette, an author and Fox News commentator who lives in Huntingdon Valley, called the three “carpetbaggers” during a recent rally for Sen. Doug Mastriano (R-Franklin), who is running for governor. Barnette repeated the accusation during a recent debate for Senate candidates in western Pennsylvania.

“Joe Biden phoned it in from his basement. These very wealthy people are going to phone it in from their penthouses. They have no intention of really spending time with you,” Barnette said.

Also at that debate, Montgomery County businessman Jeff Bartos quipped, “Being a lifelong Pennsylvanian is a distinguishing characteristic in this campaign for the United States Senate in Pennsylvania.”

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Philly Lawyer George Bochetto Joins GOP Race for U.S. Senate

Philadelphia lawyer George Bochetto, who was the Pennsylvania Boxing Commissioner from 1995 to 2002, did not pull any punches against his opponents during a recent interview about his decision to enter the crowded GOP U.S. Senate primary race.

The well-known local attorney is joining a field that includes a celebrity doctor, a former ambassador, a wealthy hedge fund executive, a Montgomery County businessman, and a Fox News commentator—and that’s just on the Republican side. Another large group has also lined up seeking the Democratic nomination.

Bochetto, 69, called Dr. Mehmet Oz “an individual who has gotten rich off selling magic coffee beans to little old ladies on daytime TV.”

Bochetto is putting up $1 million of his own money to launch his campaign. He says he will have enough money to “get my message out.”

“I don’t need to raise $30 million to run a primary campaign,” he said. “And if Oz and (David) McCormick and (Carla) Sands think they can just buy the election, they ought to go talk to Mike Bloomberg.”

Bloomberg, one of the wealthiest men in America, spent millions in a failed bid to win the Democratic presidential primary in 2020.

Bochetto most recently garnered headlines for his defense in court of Philadelphia’s Christopher Columbus statue from those would like to tear it down. He said one reason he is running is to prevent the country from falling to left-wing “woke” mobs.

“I’m all for an Indigenous People’s Day but not canceling Christopher Columbus Day to do it,” said Bochetto. “Why can’t we do both? We have St. Paddy’s Day.”

“I’m running to stand up to these crazy movements that are really tearing down the values and the cultures of our country,” he said.

“The woke mob and the left are truly taking this country on a disastrous course,” said Bochetto. For example, “The murder rates are sky high. We have George Soros-backed DAs who refuse to carry out their oaths of office.”

And since President Joe Biden took office, inflation has gotten out of control.

“Inflation hurts the middle class the most,” he said. “They’re the ones who have to go to the grocery store and buy their food. They’re the ones who have to pay for their own fuel at the filling station. They’re the ones who have to do their own home repairs and pay for them. And the skyrocketing inflation hurts them the most.”

“If we can get a Republican-controlled Senate we can start passing sensible legislation as a group,” he said. “We can start rejecting all these inflationary spending policies that the Biden administration and the Democrats are currently engaged in. Their solution to how to pay for $3.5 trillion in giveaways is to just print more money. Printing more money is highly inflationary. Paying people to stay home instead of working is highly counterproductive, highly inflationary. These are policies that must be rejected,” Bochetto said.

“And we’re only going to reject them if we elect people like myself to go to Washington and take control of the situation and make sure our fundamental values and our fundamental principles of American government are implemented.”

Asked about foreign policy, Bochetto said, “China absolutely represents the greatest existential threat to the United States. And we cannot be electing anybody to the Senate from Pennsylvania who is business partner with the Chinese Communist Party,” (a swipe at McCormick, who has been CEO of Bridgewater Associates, which has investments in Chinese businesses).

Temple University Professor Robin Kolodny, who chairs the political science department, said the large field of candidates with no decisive frontrunner tends to draw more people into the fray.

“As of now, our window for candidates to file petitions to get on the ballot (2,000 signatures) opens on February 15 and closes March 8,” she said. “It is one thing to put out a press release saying you are running.  It is another thing to have all the paperwork in by March 8. Candidates who do not win a major party nomination will still be able to petition to get on the ballot for November as an independent.”

A December poll found Oz 10 points ahead of Fox News commentator Kathy Barnette, who was in second place. However, that poll, by the Trafalgar Group, showed nearly 51 percent of Republican primary voters were undecided.

Kolodny pointed out the last time Republican voters nominated a celebrity it did not end well in the general election. That was in 2006, when Ed Rendell beat Pittsburgh Steelers football legend Lynn Swan and was re-elected governor, with 60 percent of the vote to Swan’s 40 percent.

“Here’s the issue with non-political celebrities: Are those who know them also consistent voters?  It turned out not to be that way for Lynn Swann who invested heavily in advertising on ESPN,” said Kolodny.

Local lawyer and pundit Christine Flowers praised Bochetto.

“Having grown up in the Philadelphia legal community and surrounded, as a child, by legendary lawyers (including my own father Ted Flowers), I have an instinctual sense of what greatness in the profession means,” Flowers said. “To me, there are very few living Philadelphia attorneys who are worthy of the title ‘Philadelphia Lawyer’ in the tradition of Andrew Hamilton, but I have no hesitation in saying that George Bochetto is one of them.

“He took on the City of Philadelphia with its bigoted crusade to silence the Italian American community and rob us of our history, in Columbus,” said Flowers. “He took on all of those who believe that certain cultures and communities can be silenced, at a time when silencing is a popular tactic. And he has been extremely successful. George Bochetto is everything a Philadelphia lawyer should be, and once was.”


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Horsham’s Clarice Schillinger Launches Lt. Governor Bid

Fresh off her wins with the pro-parent Back to School PA PAC, Horsham resident Clarice Schillinger is launching a campaign to be Pennsylvania’s next lieutenant governor.

While serving as executive director of the PAC, which supported school board candidates statewide who promised to keep schools open, Republican Schillinger helped raise and distribute some $700,000 to school board candidates statewide for the November 2021 election. Some 60 percent of the candidates the PAC funded won their races.

Schillinger, 34, who also founded Keeping Kids in School PAC, which backed school board candidates in the spring 2021 primary, said she plans to take an education reform agenda to Harrisburg.

“I plan to advocate for a total revamp of our education system,” she told Delaware Valley Journal.

“Clarice has established a powerful track record of achieving real change through her work at Back to School PA this past year,” said Paul Martino, a Bucks County venture capitalist who co-founded Back to School PAC. “Electing her will ensure that education is the top priority in Harrisburg for these next four years. Pennsylvania needs a lieutenant governor that is ready to work and fight for business owners, taxpayers, parents, and students.

“Clarice is a political newcomer who has already demonstrated she will put these everyday people first,” he said.

She says she also hopes to reduce regulations on businesses and improve public safety by “supporting our men and women in blue.” A priority is “making sure our communities are safe and attractive for people to want to come to Pennsylvania and live, and not move out of.”  The U.S. Census estimated Pennsylvania lost 30,878 residents in 2021.

“I created this groundswell of parents and it just seems appropriate to run for statewide office and take their voice to Harrisburg,” Schillinger said, adding that she believes voters want “someone who is not a polished politician.” She’s the mother of two: Lexi, 15, and Mike Jr., her stepson.

“I’ve worked in politics but I’m a mom and I care about our government. We have to take it back from special interest groups and lobbyists,” she said. “Sometimes it takes a mom to clean up a mess like that and that’s what I plan to do,” said Schillinger.

Schillinger started her public advocacy fighting to clean up the now-shuttered Willow Grove Naval Air Station where various chemicals leaked into the groundwater leading to cancer clusters in Horsham, Warminster, and Warrington.

“It’s a real problem,” said Schillinger.  The 1,200-acre property is now a Super Fund site.

Schillinger later worked for state Rep. Todd Stephens, (R- North Wales) helping him pass legislation to remove contaminants from people’s wells. While she knows her way around politics, this is her first run for public office.

Schillinger’s husband, Mike, who owns a carpentry business, is supportive of her political career. “He says, ‘Go save the commonwealth and do what you have to do,’” she said.  Her kids are also behind her campaign.

But Schillinger has the same concerns as every working mom. For example, she makes a week’s worth of meals on Sundays and freezes them so she knows her family will have good meals while she’s out campaigning.

Schillinger believes the state can do better than it has lately under Democrats Gov. Tom Wolf and Lt. Gov. John Fetterman. (Fetterman is running for the U.S. Senate).

Schillinger fought to keep schools open for her children so they could get their education and “access to the American dream.”

“When the schools shut down it really lit a fire under me,” said Schillinger. “The government came to each of our kitchen tables during the pandemic and said, ‘Your life is going to stop and education is going to stop and jobs and paychecks…I could not ignore it.”

“It’s just doom and gloom,” she said about the Wolf administration. “Everything is falling apart. And all these negative responses: ‘No, don’t open schools. No, don’t open businesses. No, don’t leave your house.’…Instead of using the tools and resources and science and solutions.”

“We’re Pennsylvanian. We’re Americans. We find solutions. We persevere. That’s what our nation was founded on,” said Schillinger.

Schillinger has also faced adversity and persevered in her own life through grit and determination.  The Montgomery County Community College graduate found herself pregnant at 18, but kept and raised her daughter, and prospered.

“While leading Back to School PA, I connected with thousands of parents across the commonwealth with the same mission as me – to make a better life for their children. The current administration has abandoned all of us, siding with special interests and lobbyists over our families. It is time we have a voice at the decision-making table to advocate for real people with real problems,” Schillinger said in a statement. “That’s why I’m running. I will be your advocate, the advocate for students and parents, the advocate for business owners and taxpayers.”

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