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Regina Mauro: Chester County Voters Should Send a Conservative Woman to Congress

Republican Regina Mauro is running in the May 17 primary against three men. But she says she believes she is the best person running and will go on to knock off Democratic incumbent Congresswoman Chrissy Houlahan in November. Houlahan (D-Chester/Berks) has been named one of the most vulnerable Democrats in the country and is being targeted by the Republican National Committee.

Mauro prides herself on being politically aware. That motivated her, in part, to seek the Republican nomination in the 6th Congressional District.

“I’ve always been very, very engaged and informed for years,” she said. “That’s how I was brought up.”

This isn’t Mauro’s first try for elective office. The Devon resident lost a bid for Chester County Controller last fall.

A lifelong Republican, Mauro sees a need to boost the number of conservative women in Congress. Her three opponents in the GOP primary race are men.

“I was concerned because I didn’t see any women candidates,” she said. “(The Republicans) definitely have an abundance of very qualified women.  So, seeing that and recognizing it was very important that we do have one in the race, I did my due diligence and I decided that I was ready for it.

“I’m also very concerned that the most underrepresented group in Congress is conservative women. Conservative women comprise just seven percent of Congress. All else being equal, you have to increase the representation of conservative women in Congress.

“I knew that I was equipped to be able to step in and not just be able to compete against the incumbent, but that I would be a very effective member of Congress.”

The daughter of Cuban immigrants, Mauro is passionate about education issues.

“Education is huge for me,” she said. “I grew up in a household where education was king. It was paramount. I’m really concerned that there is an inequality of quality in instruction in the 6th District.”

Mauro says adequate funding for education is an issue in some school districts but “that is not a universal problem.” She compared the academic performance of two school districts — which she did not name — located within the 6th District within approximately 20 miles of each other.

“When I looked at these two school districts, one spent slightly more on instruction and services than the other,” she said. “However, the one that’s spent slightly more performed at the bottom 20 percent academically in reading writing, and mathematics. The other performed in the upper 20 percent. So, that tells you there is a deficiency there.”

Mauro says she believes children should be able to attend the school that best meets their needs and bring their parents’ tax dollars with them.

“I do believe that tax dollars should follow the child,” she said, “and not be attached to the school they’re zoned for. That’s only step one; giving the parent the option of taking that money and transferring it to another school of their choice.

“In the meantime, we cannot abandon our local schools. At the end of the day, these local schools are part of the community. They’re a lot more accessible to the family and if given a choice, I think most parents, if the school was up to the standard they need for their child, would leave the kid there. So, while they have the option, we have to make sure that we bring those schools up to standard so those families can actually go back to that school.”

At a time when American politics is deeply divided, Mauro cites the need to get people of divergent political views to simply talk to each other.

“The first thing we have to do is lower the temperature,” she said. “We have to find things we have in common. We have more in common than not. But we have become so tribal. Everybody is so in their tribe, in their corner that we’re not talking to each other.

“We need to stop this. Most of us, Democrats and Republicans, are sort of in the middle. We need to stop grouping people by single ideas.”

Asked about her reaction to January 6 both before and after the events that occurred at the U.S. Capitol, she said,  “It was horrible that some lunatics, some were excited. Some were just following, whatever the participation. They absolutely felt it was okay to go (into the Capitol). Not all of them did obviously, you’ve seen plenty of videos where people are walking in like a tourist in line.

“But there are those who actually broke in. And that’s insanity to me,” she said. “What I regretted was the media portrayed everybody who attended that rally as being insurrectionists.”

Mauro was asked if she believed the result of the 2020 presidential election was legitimate.

“Do I think there was manipulation? Yes,” she said. “Do I think that was what caused the final result? Partly. Do I think this is new? No. There has been manipulation of elections forever.”

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PA Politicians Push ‘Abortion On Demand’ Legislation After SCOTUS Leak

In the wake of a leaked U.S. Supreme Court opinion that would overturn Roe v. Wade, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer is expected to bring the Women’s Health Protection Act (WHPA) back to the Senate floor. However, he is almost certain to lack the 60 votes needed for cloture — allowing the bill to come to the Senate floor for a vote — or even 50 votes to pass it. On Feb. 28,  Sen. Manchin (D-W. Va.) voted with the Republicans to block it.

In February, Sen. Bob Casey (D-Pa.), who is sometimes described as prof-life, voted to advance the bill with the rest of his Democratic colleagues. His office did not respond to a request to comment on whether he will vote that way again next week.

Casey’s stance on abortion issues has been fluid. Until recently, he said he supported a ban on abortions after 20 weeks — a position in line with a majority of Americans according to Gallup polling. However, he also refused to block changes to Obamacare in 2010 to provide taxpayer-funded elective abortions.

“Casey’s voting record in Congress aligns significantly with abortion-rights groups such as Planned Parenthood and NARAL. He has voted along with Planned Parenthood 75 percent of the time since 2011,” Politico reported in 2018. “And he voted with NARAL Pro-Choice America 100 percent of the time in 2016 and 2017.”

Supporting the WHPA, however, is a new level of pro-abortion politics.

According to an analysis by John McCormack who covers abortion legislation for the conservative National Review magazine, the WHPA creates a federal right to abortion through nine months of pregnancy in all 50 states; overrides nearly all state abortion laws, including parental-consent laws like Pennsylvania’s; weakens “conscience exemptions” to keep healthcare workers from being forced to participate in abortion procedures that violate their religious beliefs; and creates a right for non-doctors to perform abortions.

“WHPA will essentially legalize abortion throughout all nine months of pregnancy and undo every state law that has protected children in the womb,” according to the group Democrats for Life America.

While most Americans say they oppose overturning Roe v. Wade, polls consistently show fewer than 20 percent of Americans support unlimited abortion up to the day of birth. However, that is exactly the position every Democrat in the Delaware Valley’s congressional delegation took when they voted to pass the WHPA last fall.

Congresswoman Madeleine Dean (D-Montgomery) tweeted after voting for the bill, “The Women’s Health Protection Act will: Codify Roe v. Wade. Create federal protection against state laws that restrict women’s health. Prohibit unwarranted restrictions that single out abortion services or providers. Beyond proud to serve in this House that passed #WHPA.”

“Like many of you, I was outraged by the leaked draft opinion of the Supreme Court regarding Roe v. Wade – and what this extreme Supreme Court may do to our country,” Dean said in an email.  “Predicting this, in September, the House passed the Women’s Health Protection Act to codify Roe v. Wade. Since then, it’s been stalled in the Senate because of the filibuster.

Rep. Madeleine Dean with abortion protesters at Independence Hall.

“It’s time the Senate carve out a filibuster exception to pass WHPA, as they’ve recently done with our debt ceiling,” she said. “Women must remain free to fulfill their right to privacy, legal and safe abortion, contraceptives, and full healthcare treatment.”

Congresswoman Mary Gay Scanlon (D-Delaware County/Philadelphia) tweeted after the SCOTUS  leak earlier this week, “Women were called hysterical for sounding the alarm about abortion rights. We were told Roe and Casey were settled law. This leaked opinion shows we were right to be terrified. The Senate must move NOW to pass the Women’s Health Protection Act.”

And Rep. Chrissy Houlahan (D-Berks/Chester) said this on her campaign website, “A woman’s health care decisions should be made between her, her doctor, and her faith – not politicians. I am very concerned by state-level laws that inject politics into that decision, as well as the dangerous Supreme Court challenges to Roe v. Wade. That’s why I am taking action by supporting the Women’s Health Protection Act, standing against efforts to defund Planned Parenthood, and working to improve maternal health care access through the Maternal Health Quality Improvement Act.”

Abortion is also on the table in the state legislature. State Senate Republicans are putting forward a bill that would add a constitutional amendment to maintain the status quo of no right to or funding for an abortion.

“Federal courts have long held that the federal constitution does not require taxpayer funding of abortion. The Pennsylvania Supreme Court held in 1985 that the state constitution also does not require such taxpayer funding,” said state Sen. Judy Ward (R-Blair/Cumberland/Franklin/Fulton/Hunterdon).

“If approved, Senate Bill  956 will prevent taxpayer dollars from funding elective terminations and will preserve the authority of elected officials – not the judicial branch – to enact future abortion laws.

“To no one’s surprise, this issue has elicited consternation from abortion rights activists who wield passionate and misleading rhetoric to convince the masses that my bill will lead to widespread bans. Nothing could be further from the truth,” Ward said.

“Currently, Medicaid covers both non-elective abortions and voluntary abortions involving cases of rape or incest but still withholds funding for elective abortions,” Ward added.  “If the state constitutional amendment is approved by the voters, this won’t change. The Abortion Control Act will remain the law, as well. The language does not ban abortions, but rather ensures that abortion policy in Pennsylvania comes from the people’s elected representatives.”

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Guy Ciarrocchi Switches Candidacy From Governor to Congress

Republican Guy Ciarrocchi, the affable former president of the Chester County Chamber of Industry, suspended his campaign for governor last month and is now running for Congress. He is in the 6th District GOP primary for the chance to challenge incumbent Democratic Rep. Chrissy Houlahan in November.

“My message is focused on helping our local businesses, employees and communities. We must empower parents—and end the threats of the FBI attending school board meetings. We must weaken the control of government in our lives, and restore it to us,” said Ciarrocchi.

“Thankfully, that is now the message of most candidates running statewide. Yet, this is not the message here in our community—a message we need to take to Washington,” he said.

The Republican governor’s race remains crowded, with former Congressman Lou Barletta leading in an early poll over state Sen. Doug Mastriano by 4 points.

Delaware County Councilman Dave White attended the recent Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC 2022) and snared a meeting with former President Donald Trump. Ric Grenell subsequently endorsed White. Grenell served as Trump’s ambassador to Germany and was acting director of national intelligence.

Another local candidate, Bill McSwain, former U.S. Attorney for southeastern Pennsylvania, received the endorsement of the Commonwealth Partners Chamber of Entrepreneurs, a group with $20 million to spend. McSwain subsequently announced $6.2 million in ad buys leading up to the May 17 primary.

And a formidable contender for governor is state Senate President Pro Tempore Jake Corman, who made a splash with a push to impeach Philadelphia District Attorney Larry Krasner over skyrocketing crime rates.

The GOP congressional primary has a crowd of its own. Steven Fanelli, Regina Mauro, Ron Vogel, and Bob Kennedy are running to unseat Houlahan. They all are vying for the Chester County Republican Committee’s endorsement on Thursday.

But Ciarrocchi, a frequent guest on area talk radio shows, says he believes his message and higher profile will carry the day.

A South Philadelphia native now living in Chester County, Ciarrocchi is known in Pennsylvania political circles for his work behind the scenes. He played a key role, for example, in the successful push last year to pass ballot questions limiting the governor’s emergency powers.

Ciarrocchi, who holds degrees from St. Joseph’s University and Villanova Law, worked as a deputy attorney general and served as chief of staff for state Sen. Melissa Hart, U.S. Representative Jim Gerlach, and Lt. Gov. Jim Cawley. He also was executive director of the Pennsylvania Coalition of Public Charter Schools, regional director for the Bush-Cheney ’04 campaign, and regional director for the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).

Ciarrochi and his wife, Chris, have three adult children.

“Everything in government is broken,” he told Delaware Valley Journal. “We feel society is falling apart. We need hope. We need a leader to take this common-sense conservative message in Washington—we are done having Washington dictate to us.”


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Four DelVal Republicans in Fight for Shot at Houlahan in November

Four GOP candidates are vying for the nod from Republican voters for the chance to unseat Democrat U.S. Rep. Chrissy Houlahan in this year’s midterm elections.

The field includes business owners, a chemical engineer and a real estate agent, all of whom have little or no political experience.

And while they may be relative unknowns, the politics of the pro-GOP environment may be on their side. In fact, the National Republican Congressional Committee has Houlahan on their list of potential pick-ups in November.

“Republicans are on offense all across the country,” NRCC Chairman Tom Emmer said. “Every House Democrat is facing an uphill battle having to defend their toxic socialist agenda that prioritizes trillion-dollar tax hikes on the middle class, opens our borders, closes our schools and defunds the police.”

Still, Houlahan remains a formidable foe. First elected to the seat in 2018, she’s an Air Force veteran and heavy-hitting fundraiser who sits in a congressional district that tends to slightly favor Democrats, notes political analyst Alan Novak.

Novak believes the race comes down to “money and messaging.”

And with more than $4.5 million in her campaign coffers and a more centrist image, she currently has a considerable edge over challengers Steven Fanelli, Regina Mauro, Ron Vogel and Bob Kennedy.

Fanelli has so far outstripped his fellow GOP challengers with more than $700,00 in his campaign account, according to federal election records.

Independent swing voters are likely to decide the outcome, so Novak says Houlahan’s success depends on her ability to tap into her “purple” roots – her father was a Republican, her mother a Democrat – in appealing to those undecided voters, some of whom are dissatisfied with Democratic President Joe Biden. His approval rating is just 41 percent, according to the latest survey from the Pew Research Center.

“This is a fascinating race,” said Novak, the former Chester County GOP chairman who previously supported Houlahan. “I believe this is going to be all about the independents. Independents are breaking hard against the president and Democrats. The challenge is separating herself as Chris Houlahan from the generic Democrat or the socialist-leading Democrat. She’s good enough that she can figure out a way out of that box.”

The sitting congresswoman’s opponents are already attacking her voting record as they cast her as a “Pelosi Democrat” in the bag for Biden.

Bob Kennedy

“Houlahan has voted with President Biden literally 100 percent of the time,” said Kennedy, a 29-year-old chemical engineer who lives in Thornbury Township. “Our country is headed in a bad direction. If we do nothing, I think our constitutional order will break down in the coming decades.”

Here’s a look at the Republican candidates:

Fanelli, a Villanova graduate, is a married outdoor fencing business owner and father of three who lives in West Chester.

He appears as the de facto frontrunner by virtue of the amount of money he’s amassed so far.

When he announced his candidacy, Fanelli claimed he would be a leader “who stands up and fights for workers and families – not an extreme, partisan agenda.”

He touted his acumen as a successful entrepreneur, growing his business, first started in 1987, from three employees into more than 40.

Calling Democrats “uncompromising” in their pursuits, Fanelli cited opposition to liberal policies such as the “Green New Deal,” defunding the police and packing the U.S. Supreme Court.

Steve Fanelli

But his ability to reach voters is in question as he declined multiple interview requests from the Delaware Valley Journal, questioning how a reporter obtained his email by saying, “I don’t know you.”

Fellow businesswoman Mauro, 59, touts her proud roots as a first-generation American born to immigrants with a motto of “Cuban blood, American heart.”

The wife, mother of two and cancer survivor has a bit more political experience than the rest of the GOP field as she ran unsuccessfully for Chester County controller.

She has a master’s degree from Georgia State University and speaks five languages with “varying degrees of fluency.”

Regina Mauro

Despite her Cuban roots, she favors tougher immigration policies that “vet” those coming across the U.S. borders, calling illegal immigration a “slap in the face” to people like her parents who invested time and money to become citizens.

She says she has seen an intrusion of socialist and authoritarian practices in America, centered around so-called “cancel culture” and coronavirus vaccine mandates that, she says, are reminiscent of communist regimes in Cuba.

Mauro wants to see a return to “civil discourse” where people can explain their views without fear of being ostracized.

“I think that what concerns me is the accelerated pace of policies that are intrinsically socialistic. The Democrats are creating a new normal,” she said. “If you impact one generation, the following generations are the easy ones to take. … There is a mechanism to do mass indoctrination with the internet. You end up silencing those who go against your agenda. You put it on hyperdrive.”

Kennedy, a chemical engineer with a bachelor’s degree from the University of Delaware, said he promised himself he would run for office six years ago. Little did he know that calling would lead him to quit his job to campaign full-time in this bid for Congress, on his first try for public office.

He says he views his youth as a potential coup for voters as he understands issues faced by millennials, having paid off about $30,000 in student loans once he finished college.

Just like other generations fed the “American Dream,” young people are also worried about having enough money to afford to buy homes and support their families, he said, in light of “reckless” government spending that has increased inflation.

“We, as a party, need to have to uniquely persuasive campaign to reach the swing voters,” he said. “I am called to do God’s will and serve my country.”

As an engineer, Kennedy said his job requires him to “follow the science.” He is pro-vaccine but against government mandates, believing people should be free to choose what is best for them.

“We need more conservative scientists, and we need to have those voices when they talk about ‘the science,'” he said. “The Democrats have used language appealing to ‘the science’ that’s really just saying, ‘obey authority.'”

Vogel, 36, put a successful real-estate agency career on hold to dip his toe into politics.

Ron Vogel

Since announcing his candidacy, his days have been a whirlwind of meetings, stumping, responding to emails and only about five hours of sleep a day.

“I said to myself I can step up and I can help,” he told Delaware Valley Journal. “It’s humbling to have strangers put their trust in you.”

His real-estate career taught him the importance of building strong relationships and negotiating deals — in his case between buyers and sellers.

That skill transfers to politics, and he says he feels Houlahan has lost trust with voters as Democrats push “further and further to the left.”

“America has become so divided,” he said. “I remember, as a kid and as a teenager, Republicans and Democrats had their different viewpoints, but they were kind of closer to the middle. Now, neighbors can’t get along. I want to try to bridge that gap. We all love America. We have more in common than our differences.”


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Houlahan Leaves for Ukraine with Bipartisan Congressional Delegation

With a potential Russian invasion of Ukraine in the offing, U.S. Rep. Chrissy Houlahan is joining a congressional delegation to visit that country.

The Pentagon put 8,500 U.S. troops on heightened alert Monday as President Joe Biden considers his options. Russian President Vladimir Putin has increased the presence of Russian troops at the Ukrainian border sparking international concerns.

“As a member of both the House Foreign Affairs and Armed Services Committees, it is my responsibility to conduct oversight on matters of national security,” said Houlahan (D-Chester), in a press release. “This trip will enable the Congress to strengthen relationships with our allies—I look forward to the valuable insight meeting with senior Ukrainian officials will provide.”

In Brussels, the congressional delegation will meet with representatives from NATO, the European Union, and NATO and EU member states to discuss the security situation in Eastern Europe and the buildup of Russian troops along Ukraine’s border and in Belarus.

In Kyiv, the delegation will meet with senior Ukrainian officials to discuss the security situation and reinforce U.S. support for Ukrainian sovereignty and territorial integrity, according to the release.

Joining Houlahan are House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Gregory W. Meeks (D-N.Y.), David Cicilline (D-R.I.), Ami Bera (D-Calif.), Colin Allred (D-Texas), Tom Malinowski (D-N.J.), Sara Jacobs (D-Calif.), Mark Green (R-Tenn.), August Pfluger (R-Texas), Mikie Sherill (D-N.J.), and Victoria Spartz (R-Ind.).  

Houlahan is an Air Force veteran, engineer, entrepreneur, educator, and nonprofit leader. She also serves on the House Armed Services Committee, the House Foreign Affairs Committee, and the House Small Business Committee.


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DelVal Dems Have Holiday Season Headache as Inflation Hits 39-Year High

Delaware Valley Democrats, some already facing a tough electoral environment next year, got hit with more bad news Friday: Inflation reached a 39-year high, and voters believe the federal spending in Washington is part of the problem.

Friday morning, the Labor Department reported the consumer-price index jumped to its highest rate in 39 years, rising to 6.8 percent in November. It is the sixth consecutive month inflation was higher than 5 percent. That is a blow to Democrats like U.S. Reps. Chrissy Houlahan and Madeleine Dean, who voted for trillions in new federal spending and likely face serious challenges in the 2022 midterms.

Hours later, a new Congressional Budget Office analysis of the Biden administration’s Build Back Better spending plan found the bill would add $2.8 trillion more to the national debt than originally projected. Despite claims by President Joe Biden and Dean that the CBO found the BBB spending plan is “fully paid for,” the agency has always said the proposal will add between $160 billion and $367 billion to the deficit.

“This holiday season Pennsylvania families are having to empty their wallets for gas, groceries, and gifts—and some of them can’t afford all three. Prices have skyrocketed to a 39-year high and consumer prices in the Northeast are up a costly 6 percent,” said Pennsylvania Republican Party Chairman Lawrence Tabas. “Next November, Pennsylvania Democrats will be held responsible for Joe Biden’s reckless policies, which are hurting Main Street businesses, eating up workers’ gains, and crippling our economy.”

The cost of a frozen turkey for this past Thanksgiving was up 20 percent from last year, and the entire meal cost the average family 10 percent more.

Sen. Pat Toomey (R-Pa.) said, “Today’s jaw-dropping inflation report should alarm every single American, but especially policymakers. Hardworking American families are suffering as a direct result of the Biden administration’s reckless borrowing and spending and anti-energy policies. If the message wasn’t clear enough before, it’s crystal clear now. Democrats should immediately halt plans to advance their nearly $5 trillion spending spree and the Fed should quickly normalize monetary policy before it falls further behind the curve.”

Guy Ciarrocchi, a Republican running for governor who is on leave from his job as president of the Chester County Chamber of Commerce, said, “Inflation is the cruelest of all taxes. It eats away at a family’s savings each week, each month. The good news is that bad government policies created this; so good policies can fix it. Step one and two: Time for almost everyone to get back to work and let’s get Pennsylvania energy out of the ground.”

Some Democrats are pushing back and claiming costs are actually going down in December and contending their policies are working so the Christmas ham won’t be as pricey as the Thanksgiving gobbler.

“As we head into the holiday season, I recognize that the pressure of increased costs is weighing heavily on many Americans,” said Rep. Mary Gay Scanlon (D-Delaware Co.). “My colleagues and I are working hand-in-hand with the Biden administration to get people back to work, address supply chain issues, and lower prices — and there is good news on those fronts.

“Americans, on average, have about $100 more in their pockets each month than they did last year, even after adjusting for inflation, thanks to rising wages and the Child Tax Credit passed as part of the American Rescue Plan,” said Scanlon. “In December, costs have also been falling for gas, used cars, and other goods that are driving inflation; these changes aren’t reflected in the latest Consumer Price Index report. I know the past several months have been tough, but we’re moving in the right direction.”

But consumers and business owners are holding onto their wallets as polls consistently show voters believe federal spending is making inflation worse, not better.

Maryann Brown, a pharmacist living in Warminster, said gas prices are down a bit, but other items are up.

“Grocery prices are high so I shop at Aldi or a grocery outlet,” said Brown. “Electricity is going up so I turn off all unused lights. Stamps are up, so I’m sending out fewer cards this year. I use coupons like at Old Navy or Kohl’s ‘cash’ since the prices are up.”

Wendy Klinghoffer, executive director of the Eastern Montgomery County Chamber of Commerce, said, “Obviously, it’s a major issue because the cost of goods and services went up for both purchasing as well as personnel.”

“For small businesses in particular, this is problematic,” said Klinghoffer. While business owners are reluctant to pass costs along to consumers “at some point they have to in order to stay in business. They have to recoup their costs.”

Meanwhile, the restaurant sector was particularly hard hit during the pandemic shutdowns and is still struggling with food and wages now increasing due to inflation, she said.

Pennsylvania Chamber of Business and Industry President and CEO Gene Barr noted inflation is the highest since 1982.

“Our economy is already overwhelmed with supply-chain issues, a workforce shortage, and an increase in consumer demand, particularly during the holiday season,” Barr said. “A high inflation rate hampers economic recovery and can be particularly painful on small businesses as they are less able to withstand challenges to their financial goals. As products and services get more expensive, there is no doubt that consumption will continue to fall.”

Barr called on Congress to drop the pending tax and reconciliation bill that would add “another $150 billion in transfer payments and tax cuts, plus additional spending will be a recipe for disaster for more inflation over the next year. We must continue to prioritize rebuilding our economy, and this bill is a roadblock to long-term economic recovery.”


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