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DelVal GOP Senate Candidates Face Off in DVJ Debate

During a one-hour forum hosted by the Delaware Valley Journal at the Radnor Memorial Library, four GOP U.S. Senate candidates made their case to Republican primary voters as they vie for retiring Sen. Pat Toomey’s seat.

Kathy Barnette, Jeff Bartos, George Bochetto, and Sean Gale discussed issues ranging from local attitudes about energy policy to the international crisis in Ukraine as they took questions from DVJournal’s News Editor Linda Stein and conservative columnist Christine Flowers. Managing Editor Michael Graham moderated the debate.

The debate was broadcast by the Pennsylvania Cable Network (PCN).

On a majority of issues, like Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson’s U.S. Supreme Court nomination, all four candidates agreed on policy. The real differences were on style.

Bartos, the 2018 GOP nominee for lieutenant governor, focused on Jackson’s crime stance.

“It’s clear that Judge Jackson is an activist and has a record of being soft on crime,” he said. “We see first-hand how weak leaders in Philadelphia have let us down on this issue. You can’t have that on the U.S. Supreme Court.”

Barnette, a Fox News regular, was more adamant about Jackson’s claim not to be able to define the word “woman,” in the debate over public policy regarding LGBT issues.

“If she can’t define a woman, how can we trust her to uphold the Constitution and the rule of law?” Barnette, a political commentator, and veteran, said.

While Gale, a business and healthcare attorney, agreed with his fellow candidates on voting against Jackson’s nomination, he was more concerned about Republicans on the court and how they had let him down–a theme of his anti-establishment campaign.

“We have a 6-3 majority in the court, yet it seems like we can never win any cases,” he added. “It’s important that we hold these Republicans accountable and make sure they hold up the Constitution.”

Bochetto, an attorney and former Pennsylvania State Boxing Commissioner, took a lawyerly approach to the questions. He also noted his concern about identity politics and the high court.

“The entire nomination process is about nominating the person for that position, and I don’t believe Judge Jackson is the right person for that position,” he said.

The candidates also discussed abortion. All said they are pro-life.

Jeff Bartos, Christine Flowers, Kathy Barnette and George Bochetto

“Abortion is my number one issue and is one of the main reasons I got into politics,” Gale said. “It’s truly a stain on this country which is why I will be the most pro-life senator in the U.S. Senate.”

Bartos blasted Democrats for their stance on this issue and how they do not care about the sanctity of life.

“When you have 47 Democrats who voted for legislation on late-term abortion, they will have to answer many questions come election time this November,” he added.

Barnette and Bochetto said they realize the importance of voting against pro-choice legislation.

Bochetto shared the fact that he was abandoned as an infant and raised in an orphanage. “I wouldn’t be here today if Roe v. Wade were a law during my birth which is why I’m forever grateful that I could survive and thrive in the way I did,” Bochetto said.

Barnette discussed how her mother became pregnant after being raped at age 11. “Based on my experience, I truly believe that life begins at conception, and I will make sure to fight for that when I’m in the Senate,” she said.

When it came to discussing other issues, all the candidates agreed the Biden administration’s withdrawal from Afghanistan emboldened Russian President Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine and has weakened the U.S. on the world stage.

However, criticism of the Biden administration did not stop there, as the candidates also attacked his border, energy, and infrastructure agendas. They raised their concerns that Biden has gone too far left and that his policies hurt families across the commonwealth.

A last-second topic was interjected after YouTube took down a video of last week’s GOP gubernatorial debate hosted by the Pennsylvania Family Institute. All four candidates agreed conservative speech is being targeted by Big Tech, though they disagreed on what the public policy response should be.

Gale was reluctant to see direct government control of private social-media companies, but he noted how tech companies were trying to have it both ways on the issue.

“The biggest hypocrisy we saw was with Donald Trump. (He) was sued for banning people from his own Twitter page. And they said, ‘You can’t do that. It’s a public forum.’ But then Twitter can ban the president of the United States from its entire platform. So there’s a major inconsistency there,” Gale said.

Barnette, on the other hand, urged aggressive federal action. “The overwhelming majority of our [exercise of] free speech, which is a constitutional right, takes place on social media. So for tech companies to be able to tell people, ‘Shut up, sit down, and do as you’re told’ doesn’t cut it. We need to be very firm on that.”

During their final remarks, the candidates told Delaware Valley GOP primary voters why they should be the Republican nominee.

“Our country is at a crossroads, and this November is when all Democrats will have to answer for their failures,” Bartos said. “I’m running to save Main Street and will be the only GOP candidate that can win.”

“I believe that the American family is the main focus of our campaign,” Barnette said. “If it’s good for the American family, I want to work on legislation that benefits them.”

“When I’m elected to the Senate, I will be a disruptor to the system and hold both sides accountable,” Gale said.

“This country is heading towards a terrible direction, and I have 45 years of experience in finding solutions in Pennsylvania,” Bochetto said. “I can bring those skills that are desperately needed in Washington.”

The Republican Senate primary will be held on May 17.

Follow us on social media: Twitter: @DV_Journal or Facebook.com/DelawareValleyJournal

DVJ Presents: A US Senate Debate By DelVal Candidates, for DelVal Voters!

Mark your calendars: The Delaware Valley Journal will host a debate for the U.S. Senate candidates from the Delaware Valley from 7 to 8 p.m. tonight March 29.

Four candidates who call the Delaware Valley their home have accepted our invitation to discuss issues of particular interest to Republican primary voters in Bucks, Chester, Delaware and Montgomery Counties: Kathy Barnette, Jeff Bartos, George Bochetto and Sean Gale.

Managing Editor Michael Graham, News Editor Linda Stein and conservative writer Christine Flowers will moderate the debate.

If you have a question about life in the Delaware Valley you’d like these candidates to answer, please send it to [email protected]

While the debate is not open to the general public, it will be broadcast and live-streamed by PCN. There will be a live link here at DelawareValleyJournal.com. Please tune in!

Delaware Valley Journal Hosts GOP Lt. Governor Candidates’ Debate

The Delaware Valley Journal hosted an online debate for the Republican lieutenant governor candidates on Thursday.

Among those vying for the position in the May 17 primary are John Brown, Jeff Coleman, Mayor Chris Frye, James Jones, Clarice Schillinger and Jesse Streeter participated in the forum. Rep. Russ Diamond was unable to join due to technical difficulties.

While the group agreed in many areas, there were differences in style, background, and solutions to the state’s problems.

 

CLICK HERE TO WATCH THE LT. GOVERNOR DEBATE.

Brown, who has served as county executive for Northampton and mayor of Bangor, emphasized his government experience and leadership. He said the Wolf administration mismanaged the COVID pandemic, adding the problems facing the state from inflation to joblessness are “problems that I’ve been working on my entire life.”

Coleman founded Churchill Strategies, a communications firm in Harrisburg. He is a former state representative who also worked for the Commonwealth Foundation. He says he believes there is a “loss of civility” in public life and a need for the new governor to enact their policies swiftly, working with the state legislature.

Frye, the mayor of New Castle, said he would build relationships, connect with people and be “a servant leader.” He has a background in social work and nonprofit organizations.

Jones, a Hatboro resident, said he is a businessman rather than a politician. He has a “three to five-year plan” to help the new governor get the state back on track and has worked with labor unions and emergency management. Jones is also a Navy veteran who served in Vietnam, Beirut, and the First Gulf War.

Schillinger, an education advocate from Horsham who co-founded Back to School PAC, said the governor is the chief executive officer of the commonwealth, and she has learned to be a CEO from “the man who trained Steve Jobs.” She wants to be “truly the voice of the residents of Pennsylvania.”

Streeter, a businessman who owns hotels and restaurants, would bring a “Six Sigma” management approach to Harrisburg. During the pandemic, the Wolf administration “used COVID for their own advantage” and “abused their power” when it deemed thousands of businesses nonessential, he said.

One duty of the lieutenant governor is to chair the Board of Pardons, and the candidates were asked what metrics they would use to decide who should receive pardons or commutations.

Jones and Brown emphasized the need for a case-by-case approach.

Schillinger said she would “back the blue” and be an advocate for crime victims’ rights. Streeter spoke about young men who “run with the wrong crowd,” get in trouble, and are imprisoned at a young age.

Coleman said there has been a “growing bipartisan consensus” that once people have paid their debt to society, they should be rehabilitated. But convicts also need “strong support” outside prison to do well once released.

Asked about the Pennsylvania Turnpike, which raises tolls yearly while losing money, Brown called it “a broken system.” Money from tolls is funding the State Police, instead of being used for infrastructure as originally envisioned.

The Turnpike issues need debate, and the Turnpike has been plagued by patronage, corruption, and failure to modernize, said Coleman.

But Jones countered there have already been “years and years” of debate, and it was time for action.

Schillinger, meanwhile, said she has been avoiding the Turnpike while traveling around the state for her campaign.

“Not every Pennsylvanian can ride on that road,” she said. “It takes a second mortgage to do so… It’s the most expensive road in America.” She also noted the Turnpike eliminated numerous toll taker jobs while paying millions to contractors.

Streeter, of Beaver County, said most of the state is small towns.

“We are taxed to support these urban cities,” he said.

Asked about Donald Trump and his impact on the Republican Party, most of the candidates spoke highly of Trump’s policies. Coleman was the notable exception, distancing himself from the Trump populism. To be a Republican is to be for “limited government, lower taxes, personal responsibility, dignity, freedom and the value of human life,” Coleman said.

Follow us on social media: Twitter: @DV_Journal or Facebook.com/DelawareValleyJournal

Please Join DVJournal for GOP Lt. Governor’s Debate!

The Delaware Valley Journal will host an online debate for the Republican candidates for lieutenant governor at 7:00 p.m. on Wednesday, Feb. 23. Five candidates will be participating:

  • Jeff Coleman
  • Russ Diamond
  • Chris Frye
  • James Jones
  • Clarice Schillinger

The event is open to the public and the press.

The hour-long debate will be moderated by Managing Editor Michael Graham and News Editor Linda Stein.  To watch the debate online please use this link: https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/7173668379104231180

Delaware Valley Journal Is Looking For Santa’s Biggest Lil’ Helpers! 

Across the Delaware Valley this December, kids will be making someone’s season brighter — and Delaware Valley Journal wants to help!

We’re looking for kids (18 and younger) who are volunteering with charities, church groups, Scout troops, etc. — or just putting the Christmas spirit into action all on their own! Send us a photo of your favorite Santa’s helper in action, and information about the charity they’re supporting, and you might just see it featured at DVJournal.

 

PLUS: We’ll pick one of the highlighted charities and make our own $1,000 donation to the cause!

 

Just send your photo (with names and ages) of the kids you spot helping others — ringing the Salvation Army bell, collecting for Toys for Tots, working at a local food bank, whatever! — and email it to [email protected].

If possible, please include a link to the charity’s website, too, so we can encourage others to support the cause.

In our December 23rd edition of the DVJ Newsletter (sign up here), we’ll announce which one of the highlighted charities will receive a donation of $1,000 from Delaware Valley Journal!

Happy Holidays!

 

 

Follow us on social media: Twitter: @DV_Journal or Facebook.com/DelawareValleyJournal.