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Delco DA Jack Stollsteimer Touts Union Support in Attorney General Race

In his quest to become the next attorney general, Delaware County District Attorney Jack Stollsteimer received some major union support.

Stollsteimer, 60, who was just reelected as DA in November, recently announced he is running for state attorney general in 2024.

His campaign sent a press release saying Stollsteimer was endorsed by:

The Pennsylvania Building & Construction Trades Council, representing 92 separate construction unions in Pennsylvania;

The Philadelphia Building Trades Council, representing more than 50 separate building trades unions in Southeastern Pennsylvania;

The Eastern Atlantic States Regional Council of Carpenters, representing two local carpenters unions, including in Pittsburgh, Philadelphia, Allentown, Scranton, and Lebanon;

and Teamsters Joint Council 53, located in Philadelphia, which represents more than 53,000 members.

Robert S. Bair, president of The Pennsylvania Building Trades Council, said Stollsteimer was the first DA in the state to prosecute big construction contractors for wage theft successfully.

“Jack’s support for construction workers has distinguished him from among his colleagues and saved millions for countless workers in Pennsylvania,” said Bair.

Sproule said, “Jack’s never forgotten his working-class roots. He’s a true champion for our members, and we’re proud to support him for attorney general. We know he’ll keep fighting to protect good union jobs in Pennsylvania.”

“My dad was a union bus driver, so I know how a good union job can support a family,” said Stollsteimer. “That’s why I am so thankful to have received all of this incredible support from within Pennsylvania’s labor community because they fight for good union jobs every single day.”

“When I’m attorney general of Pennsylvania, I will make damn sure that an honest day’s work results in an honest day’s pay for Pennsylvania workers,” Stollsteimer said.

Stollsteimer’s campaign listed his accomplishments as district attorney, including forming the Chester Partnership for Safe Neighborhoods. Three years in, it has helped reduce the gun violence homicide rate in the City of Chester by nearly 70 percent, Stollsteimer said.

He also pushed to put the for-profit Delaware County jail under government management and created diversionary programs for low-level offenders, reducing the number of inmates by 30 percent.

Stollsteimer touts the creation of an environmental crimes unit, and he sued opioid distributors to win millions to help those with substance abuse addiction.

Other Democrats running for the office include former Auditor General Eugene DePasquale; Joe Khan, the former Bucks County solicitor; Kier Bradford-Grey, a former public defender; and state Rep. Jared Solomon (D-Philadelphia). The state Democratic Party meets this weekend to vote on its 2024 endorsements.

On the Republican side, Kat Copeland, former Delaware County DA and federal prosecutor, York County DA Dave Sunday, and state Rep. Craig Williams (R-Chester/Delaware), previously a federal prosecutor and a military prosecutor, are vying for votes in the April 23, 2024 primary.

Copeland and Stollsteimer faced off for the Delaware County District Attorney job in 2019.

Stollsteimer worked his way through college and law school. His dad was a SEPTA driver, and his mother was born in Soviet-held Ukraine. His maternal grandparents were Ukrainians who were captured by the Germans during World War II and forced into slave labor camps. After the war, they immigrated to the U.S.

Stollsteimer was hired as an assistant district attorney in 2000 before becoming a policy analyst and special assistant U.S. attorney for the Project Safe Neighborhoods gun violence initiative in 2001. In 2004, he was appointed assistant U.S. attorney and assigned to lead a gun violence task force.

In 2006, Gov. Ed Rendell appointed Stollsteimer as the state’s safe schools advocate for the Philadelphia School District. In that position, he publicly reported the school district’s failure to properly report violent crimes. He was appointed deputy state treasurer for consumer programs in 2017.

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Bucks County GOP Announces 2023 Recommended Candidates

The Bucks County Republican Committee announced its team of recommended candidates for the 2023 county elections.

The local Republican committee members held area meetings to screen candidates for Court of Common Pleas, county commissioner, register of wills, treasurer, clerk of courts, and coroner and then voted on their recommendations.

These regional votes were confirmed by a vote of the Executive Committee, made up of representatives from across Bucks County. The candidates listed below earned the overwhelming support of the Bucks County Republican Committee.

“We are proud to recommend to the voters of Bucks County this qualified, experienced, and dedicated team of candidates,” said Bucks County GOP Chair Patricia Poprik.  “Our strong ticket of candidates is ready to get to work protecting our community, supporting our families, and restoring fiscal discipline to county government.”

Republicans in Bucks County are hoping to repeat 2021’s elections, where the GOP candidates won all the open county races.  While Republicans in Delaware and Chester counties are struggling to keep those counties purple and Montgomery County is at this point solidly blue, Bucks County has been leaning Republican.

Back L to R): Charles Stockert, Matt Weintraub, Jeff Hall-Gale, Gene DiGirolamo (Front L to R): Sherry Labs, Pamela Van Blunk, Robyn Goodnoe

The party endorsed DA Matt Weintraub for Common Pleas judge.  Weintraub, who lives in Doylestown, is a Bucks County native with over a quarter-century of experience as a prosecutor. He has prosecuted more than 100 criminal cases, including the successful prosecution of the killers of teenager Grace Packer and musician Danny DeGennaro.  In another controversial case, he was also instrumental bringing Cosmo DiNardo to justice for murdering four young men in Solebury Township.

As district attorney, he has also worked with community partners to combat the opioid epidemic and to reduce the overall number of prosecutions by diverting more offenders into treatment programs at the earliest stages of their involvement with the justice system.

Poprik called Weintraub “exemplary.”

His clear mission is the relentless pursuit of justice and keeping Bucks County families safe, Poprik said.

Gene DiGirolamo has served as Bucks County Commissioner since his election in 2019. During his first term, Commissioner DiGirolamo delivered results for Bucks County families on the issues that matter most, said Poprik.

Continuing his decades-long advocacy on behalf of drug treatment and prevention programs, the Bensalem resident was selected to represent Southeastern Pennsylvania on the Pennsylvania Opioid Misuse and Addiction Abatement Trust.

Additionally, DiGirolamo was instrumental in providing security at the county’s election drop boxes, she said.  By championing the policy that each drop box is monitored by a camera and staffed by ballot clerks, DiGirolamo has helped to protect the integrity of our local elections, she said.

DiGirolamo has also been a voice for fiscal responsibility on the Board of Commissioners, fighting to protect taxpayer dollars, she said.

Before he was elected county commissioner, DiGirolamo served as Bensalem Township auditor and spent 25 years representing the 18th Legislative District in the Pennsylvania House of Representatives.

The Bucks GOP also endorsed Pamela Van Blunk for commissioner.

Van Blunk currently serves as Bucks County controller acting as the fiscal watchdog. Van Blunk, a Doylestown resident, said that she believes that Bucks County families deserve someone fighting for them every day.  As the controller, she has seen firsthand the challenges the county faces.

From holding county government accountable and promoting responsible economic growth to combating the opioid crisis and keeping our streets safe, Van Blunk promised to make Bucks County an even better place to live, work and raise families.

Before taking office, she was, and is, an experienced litigation attorney. Van Blunk attended law school as a single mother with three young children, graduating cum laude from Widener University’s Delaware Law School. She received her B.S. from Rutgers University Newark College of Arts and Sciences.

For treasurer, the Bucks GOP endorsed Sherry Labs.

Labs, of Plumstead Township, has served as tax collector for her community for the past 26 years. A leader both in the County and State Tax Collector Associations, Labs has worked diligently for the taxpayers of Bucks County, Poprik said.  Labs previously served as the second deputy in the county Treasurer’s Office and will bring experience and professionalism to the office, Poprik added.

The Bucks County Republicans tapped Robyn Goodnoe for register of wills.

Goodnoe brings to the race nearly a decade of experience in county government, including five years working in the Register of Wills Office. During a routine audit of the department by the Pennsylvania office of the Auditor General, the report found that “Robyn’s records are superb.” Goodnoe, a Richland Township resident, will bring this professionalism and attention to detail to the position of register of wills, said Poprik.

Jeff Hall-Gale is the endorsed candidate for clerk of courts. A Lower Makefield resident, he is a licensed attorney in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and New York.  After graduating from Villanova University School of Law, Hall-Gale clerked for a Franklin/Fulton County Court of Common Pleas judge, where he learned how Pennsylvania’s court system operates.  Hall-Gale is a former investigator for the New Jersey Supreme Court’s Office of Attorney Ethics and currently works in private practice at an area law firm.

The GOP endorsed Hilltown resident Charles “Chuck” Stockert, for coroner. A former deputy coroner in the Bucks County Coroner’s Office, Stockert earned numerous state and national certifications.  Stockert has spent his life serving our community, including as a local fire Chief, EMT, and police officer in Telford and Franconia said Poprik.

She said he also has experience working for Steeley Funeral Home providing compassionate care for grieving families.

“Chuck will bring an intimate knowledge of the County Coroner’s office, as well as decades of public service,” said Poprik.

These recommended candidates will be joined on the ballot by statewide candidates Judge Carolyn Carluccio for Pennsylvania Supreme Court, Judge Harry Smail Jr. and Maria Battista for PA Superior Court, and Megan Martin for Commonwealth Court.  The candidates for statewide office were endorsed at a meeting of the Republican State Committee in early February.

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Chester County Democrats and Republicans Endorse Candidates for May Primary

This year local races for positions like county commissioners, judges, and school board members are in contention, along with statewide judgeships, including a state Supreme Court justice. With the primary fast approaching on May 16, the county political parties are vetting candidates and making endorsements.

Both the Chester County Democrats and Republicans endorsed candidates on Feb. 15.

With Democratic County Commissioners Marian Moskowitz and Josh Maxwell running for re-election, they garnered their party’s endorsement for spots on the three-seat board.  On the Republican side, Commissioner Michelle Kichline is not running again, so Dave Sommers, a teacher, and former state Rep. Eric Roe received the GOP nod.

“I’m honored to have the support and confidence of the Republican Party, and I’ll run a campaign that our Republican voters can be proud of,” said Roe. “I am running on my track record of open space preservation, fiscal restraint, and empowering those in the shadows. That’s what I did as a state legislator, and that’s what I’ll do in the county courthouse.”

Sommers said, “I am humbled to receive the committee’s endorsement to be one of your next county commissioners. The faith committee members have placed in me and our entire slate of candidates representing conservative, common-sense approaches to governing is greatly appreciated. ”

Maxwell said, “I’m excited to be running for reelection in a community I’ve called home my entire life. This is a special county, and I look forward to talking to neighbors throughout the year to try and earn their support.”

And Chairwoman Moscowitz added, “I’m running for re-election because I love this community, and I’m dedicated to building on the progress we’ve made in our first term. As the first Democratic majority in the history of our county, we’ve shown that Democrats can govern and deliver.

“We now have the lowest unemployment rate in the region, we’re restoring access to public transportation, we have begun increasing affordable/attainable housing, and we’ve made historic investments to preserve our open space. There is so much more work to be done, and I’m ready to continue serving the place I’ve called home for nearly 40 years,” she said.

Chester County Democratic Committee Chair Charlotte Valyo stressed the importance of the endorsement process, especially given that she expects cross-filing Republicans on the May 16 Democratic Primary Election ballot for non-political races. She also noted the recent election successes of Democratic candidates across the county, leading to several competitive primary races.

For statewide races, the Democratic committee endorsed Dan McCaffrey for state Supreme Court; Jill Beck and Judge Tamika Lane for Superior Court; and Judge Matt Wolf for Commonwealth Court.

Republican Chair Raffi Terzian said the Pennsylvania GOP endorsed the statewide judicial candidates, so the county committee does not vote on them. These are Judge Carolyn Carluccio for the State Supreme Court, Judge Harry Smail and Maria Battista for Superior Court, and Megan Martin for Commonwealth Court.

For Chester County Common Pleas judgeships, Republicans selected: David Black, Donald Kohler, Judge Lou Mincarelli, PJ Redmond, and Andy Rongaus.  The Republicans also endorsed candidates for District Court Magistrate: District Court 15-3-01 Judge John Hipple; District Court 15-3-04 Peter Mylonas; District Court 15-3-05 Judge Scott Massey; District Court 15-3-06 Timothy Arndt; and District Court 15-4-03, Joe Denham.

For Common Pleas judge, the Democrats are backing: Sarah Black, Judge Nicole Forzato, Sheriff Fredda Maddox, Tip McCabe, and Deborah Ryan, the current district attorney.

Voters will also decide who holds the county row offices.

The CCDC endorsed: Prothonotary Debbie Bookman and Register of Wills Michelle Vaughn, along with district attorney candidate Chris de Barrena-Sarobe, recorder of deeds candidate Diane O’Dwyer, and Kevin Dykes for sheriff.

“The Chester County Democratic Committee has successfully endorsed a full slate of candidates to run for Judicial and County seats in the 2023 election,” said Valyo. “The Democratic slate is representative of Chester County, the candidates are highly qualified, and will continue the Democrats’ record of governing responsibly for all Chester County residents.”

The GOP endorsed: Roy Kofroth for sheriff, Michael Taylor for prothonotary, Brian Yanoviak for recorder of deeds, and Shawn Mullen for register of wills.

The RCCC is continuing “to vet candidates for district attorney,” Terzian said.

At the beginning of the meeting, Terzian called for unity.

“We must come together and unite as one Republican Party in Chester County. Unity does not require complete concordance. Instead, it requires recognizing and embracing the goodwill of everyone.”

He noted that the upcoming election would be important for the quality of life in Chester County.

“The New Republican Party of Chester County is moving forward with renewed energy, fresh ideas, and an optimistic vision for the future. We aim for highly-qualified candidates who offer a solutions-oriented and common-sense approach to the challenges we face in our county,” he said.

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Police Union Representing Braddock Cops Backs Oz Over Former Mayor Fetterman

In his stump speech, Democratic Senate candidate John Fetterman likes to brag about his work with the Braddock police during his time as mayor.

“I’m running on my record on crime,” Fetterman told a Bucks County audience earlier this month. “I ran for mayor of Braddock, a community that has significant gun violence, to be mayor and fight that, and because of our working with the police and funding the police and working with the community, we went more than five years without a murder. It never happened before and never since I’ve been mayor.”

But on Tuesday, those officers gave their endorsement to his Republican opponent, Dr. Mehmet Oz.

“Many times, I was called to assist in Braddock when Mr. Fetterman was mayor. I know he says that he’s a law-and-order candidate. I have to disagree with that,” said Vincent Dicenzio, Jr., president of the Allegheny County Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 91, which includes the Braddock police officers.

Fetterman “was always good to show up for a photo opportunity. But as crime was going on in Braddock, you did not see Mr. Fetterman. Instead, you saw other police departments there assisting Braddock Police Department. I had the opportunity to sit down with Mr. Fetterman when he ran for lieutenant governor, and as the mayor of Braddock, he had no idea what their officers made. They didn’t even have a contract or benefits. They were one of the lowest paid police departments in Allegheny County.”

Fetterman’s campaign did not respond to a request for comment about the Braddock police officers’ endorsement of his opponent.

Oz, who is also endorsed by the Philadelphia Fraternal Order of the Police, the EP Jermyn FOP Lodge 2 in Scranton, and the Pennsylvania Sheriffs’ Action PAC, used the opportunity to return to his campaign’s law-and-order theme.

“We have seen a tragic increase in crime in Pennsylvania. As senator, I will work across the aisle to ensure we are keeping our communities safe from criminals and cartel organizations and preventing the flow of illegal drugs like fentanyl across our borders. The Pennsylvania FOP has unanimously endorsed me because they know that I will put the safety and security of officers and law-abiding citizens first. Together, we will return safety and security to our commonwealth,” Oz said.

Oz added Fetterman “supports releasing murderers, decriminalizing heroin, and open borders, while I will secure our border, fund our police, and support critical local services that provide help to addicts.”

A day earlier, Oz was also endorsed by a coalition of local unions in the Council of Prison Locals, a national group representing more than 30,000 federal corrections officers across the country. That endorsement followed the Pennsylvania State Corrections Officers Association’s endorsement earlier this week.

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State Police Back Oz in PA U.S. Senate Race

With crime rising on Philadelphia streets and as a political issue, Dr. Mehmet Oz embraced the Pennsylvania State Troopers Association’s (PSTA) endorsement Wednesday.

Oz, the GOP nominee for U.S. Senate in Pennsylvania, is in a tough battle with Lt. Gov. John Fetterman. Republicans have identified crime as a potential vulnerability for the Democrat. The troopers gave Oz their wholehearted support.

“The PSTA is proud to endorse Dr. Mehmet Oz for U.S. Senate,” said the group’s president David Kennedy. “Dr. Oz has shown that he is, and will continue to be, a strong champion for law enforcement officers and their families in Pennsylvania. At a time when the law enforcement community is facing its greatest challenges, we need people who will advocate for the tools and resources that will keep the men and women of the Pennsylvania State Police safe as they serve our commonwealth.”

The PSTA represents 4,440 state police officers.

“I am honored by this endorsement, and in the U.S. Senate I will continue to advocate for policies that meet these ends and build the relationships we need to forge ahead as one Pennsylvania with our common goals for peace, security, and justice for all,” Oz said in response. “Through their selfless actions, Troopers help us in our times of greatest need and they risk their own lives to make our streets safer. We owe these brave men and women, as well as their families, our deepest gratitude and our enduring commitment to work together with law enforcement to ensure they have the tools and resources they need to uphold the law and save lives.”

Oz was previously endorsed by the state Fraternal Order of Police and the Philadelphia Fraternal Order of Police, burnishing his credentials on the crime issue. At the same time, he has hammered Fetterman for his role in pushing for pardons, including those charged with second-degree murder, as chairman of the state Board of Pardons. Fetterman has said one-third of the prisoners now held in Pennsylvania’s prisons could be released without harming public safety.

According to The New York Times, “under Fetterman’s leadership [on the Board of Pardons], the number of inmates serving life sentences who were recommended for clemency and release has greatly increased.” That included Lee and Dennis Horton, convicted in a robbery and fatal shooting in Philadelphia. Once Fetterman’s board released them, he gave them jobs as field organizers for his campaign.

“If John Fetterman cared about Pennsylvania’s crime problem, he’d prove it by firing the convicted murderers he employs on his campaign,” Oz spokeswoman Brittany Yanick said.

On Wednesday, Oz also received the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s endorsement.

“Oz is a proven leader and will work tirelessly to address the challenges facing job creators, the workforce, and families in Pennsylvania,” said Ashlee Rich Stephenson with the Chamber. “There is no greater divergence on issues than in this election here in the Keystone State. Fetterman would raise taxes, has flip-flopped on his energy position, and would ruthlessly work to drop the filibuster.

“Dr. Oz, on the other hand, will support and defend Pennsylvanians by not raising taxes a single dime, advancing America’s energy independence, and standing in defense of the filibuster to be sure bipartisanship remains in the U.S. Senate. The U.S. Chamber is proud to endorse pro-business champion, Dr. Oz, in his campaign for U.S. Senate, and we look forward to working with him in the next Congress,” Stephenson said.

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Dr. Oz Endorsed by PA GOP Congress Members

From a press release

Dr. Mehmet Oz, the Republican candidate for the U.S. Senate, announced Monday that he was endorsed by all the GOP members of the U.S. House of Representatives.

“I’m grateful for the support of the Pennsylvania delegation and look forward to working with them to create a stronger and more prosperous Pennsylvania. Together, we will protect this critical U.S. Senate seat to ensure it does not fall into the hands of radical liberal John Fetterman,” stated Dr. Mehmet Oz.

“Our entire Republican Congressional Delegation knows how critical it is to unite behind Dr. Oz to defeat radical liberal John Fetterman in November. Under Joe Biden and one-party control of the House and Senate, American families are facing skyrocketing prices, a crisis at our border, and rising crime. Retaking control of the Senate and getting our country back on the right track starts with Dr. Oz winning Pennsylvania’s Senate seat. We are proud to endorse his campaign and are committed to working with him to ensure victory in November,” stated the Pennsylvania Republican Congressional delegation.

Dr. Mehmet Oz has been endorsed by Congressmen Brian Fitzpatrick (PA-01), Dan Meuser (PA-09), Scott Perry (PA-10), Lloyd Smucker (PA-11), Fred Keller (PA-12), John Joyce (PA-13), Guy Reschenthaler (PA-14), Glenn Thompson (PA-15), and Mike Kelly (PA-16).

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Republican Gubernatorial Candidate Lou Barletta Picks Up Key Endorsements

Trailing in the polls with the primary just days away, gubernatorial candidate Lou Barletta picked up a handful of coveted endorsements Thursday from establishment Republicans. They include those of former Pennsylvania Gov. Mark Schweiker and former U.S. Sen. Rick Santorum.

The former congressman touted the “major announcement” ahead of a news conference in Levittown at the American Legion Post 960, where he was joined by Schweiker and former Lt. Gov. Jim Cawley, whom he called the “greatest leaders that I know.”

The news came after state Senate leader Jake Corman announced he was dropping out of the nine-candidate race to throw his support behind Barletta.

“I am proven, road-tested, and ready to serve as the 48th governor of Pennsylvania,” Barletta said.

There is concern inside the GOP that state Sen. Mastriano (R-Franklin) is too far right-leaning and would get clobbered by Attorney General Josh  Shapiro (D) in November’s general election. Republicans who share those concerns are rallying around Barletta, who they believe is the Republicans’ best chance at taking back the governor’s mansion.

Schweiker called Barletta the “most competitive candidate,” touting his experience as a mayor in Hazleton and a former lawmaker, equipped to run the Keystone State’s sprawling government.

“He’s got the right perspective,” Schweiker said. “He’s a fighter. He’s got big stones … For this candidate, this isn’t going to be just a once-in-a-while interest. This is going to be an everyday preoccupation. He’ll see to it as an everyday assignment, not an afterthought.”

As mayor of Hazleton, Barletta commanded the national spotlight for his restrictive immigration efforts, which he touched on again during the news conference, promising to eliminate sanctuary cities across Pennsylvania if he is elected governor.

In 2006, he backed an ordinance that would have prevented employers and landlords from hiring and renting to undocumented immigrants, The Philadelphia Inquirer reported.

Litigation ensued and the ordinance took effect, but such stark immigration policies were later embraced during the presidency of Donald Trump, whom Barletta supported early on in 2016.

Saying he had a “history of beating Democrats,” Barletta pledged that if he was elected he would remove Pennsylvania from the multi-state consortium Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) on his first day in office. He also pledged to repeal Act 77 (the controversial no-excuse voting law), block biological males who identify as women from participating in women’s sports, push for parents to have more say in their children’s school curriculum, and do away with “toxic critical race theory,” which he believes stokes division between Americans.

“We’re going to teach our children to love each other, not hate each,” Barletta said.

That messaging resonated with other Republicans as Barletta also picked up key endorsements from Santorum and U.S. Rep. Fred Keller. They came not long after media reports that Pennsylvania Republicans had discussed coalescing around a single candidate.

Cawley suggested Barletta is the “only candidate” who can beat Shapiro. He referred to a TV attack ad from Shapiro many believe is actually designed to boost Mastriano among Trump supporters.

Democrats are “literally reaching in and trying to manipulate our votes,” Cawley said. “Well, folks, I have a message for Josh Shapiro. It’s this: Josh, you’re just not that clever, and your shenanigans are just not going to work. Pennsylvania Republican voters are pretty smart, and they are not going to allow you to pick their candidate for governor. … Josh is pretty sure he can beat Doug Mastriano, but he’s absolutely confident he will lose to Lou Barletta.”

Focused on his own campaign, Barletta refused to take shots at Mastriano. However, he stressed the importance of the GOP embodying a unified front heading into next week’s primary, adding the endorsements were another step toward achieving equanimity in the party.

“The best thing for Josh Shapiro is for us to come out fractured,” he said. “I have been a unifier. I haven’t run one negative ad against any of my opponents. This is not in any way a reflection on Doug Mastriano or any of the other candidates. What I’m doing is making my case in the final five days that I am not only the one who can unify our party but I am the only one who can beat Josh Shapiro because of my history.”

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PA Green Groups Back Shapiro Despite Stance on RGGI, Fracking

Environmental activists may say climate change is an existential threat, but it is not enough to keep some of Pennsylvania’s most prominent green organizations from backing Attorney General Josh Shapiro for governor.

Shapiro, the only major Democratic candidate in the governor’s race, has carefully navigated a more moderate stance on energy politics than green groups advocate. He’s refused to call for an end to fracking or support Gov. Wolf’s attempt to push Pennsylvania into the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI), a multi-state cap-and-trade carbon emissions compact.

Asked by the Delaware Valley Journal where he stands on RGGI, Shapiro said, “We need to take real action to address climate change, protect and create energy jobs, and ensure Pennsylvania has reliable, affordable, and clean power for the long term. As governor, I will implement an energy strategy which passes that test, and it’s not clear to me that RGGI does.

“Ultimately, that is a determination I will make as governor, in close consultation with workers and affected communities. I refuse to accept the false choice between protecting jobs or protecting our planet – we must do both, and my priority will be ensuring Pennsylvania has a comprehensive climate and energy policy that will move all of us forward.”

While Shapiro has filed high-profile court cases against energy companies like Sonoco/ET and individual drillers, he has not joined the green activists’ calls to end all fossil fuel infrastructure development.

But that didn’t cost Shapiro the endorsement of several environmental groups at a press conference at Morris Arboretum in Philadelphia on Thursday.

The Conservation Voters of Pennsylvania, National Wildlife Foundation Action Fund, PennEnvironment, the Clean Air Action Fund, and Clean Water Action all offered praise and support for Shapiro.

Much of the press conference focused on his record before becoming attorney general.

As a state representative for his hometown of Abington, the first bill Shapiro worked on was Growing Greener II, an open space preservation law. While chair of the Montgomery County Board of Commissioners, he added to the trail system and reduced the county’s energy use by half, he said. And also bought electric cars for the county’s fleet of vehicles.

As governor, Shapiro promises to take Pennslyvania from 8 percent renewable energy consumption to 30 percent by 2030 and put the state on the path to “net zero emissions” by 2050. He also promised to remedy lead pipes in older cities, and make sure kids who live near factories can “play in their backyards.”

“I played a lot of defense in the Office of Attorney General,” said Shapiro. “But I’m ready to play some offense.”

Shapiro derided the nine Republicans running for governor as “cut from the same cloth.”

“They have no plans to be able to address public health and public safety. If anything, their plans exacerbate the problem,” he said. “They want to give industry a free pass. I’ve been very clear. I don’t give industry a free pass. We hold the powerful accountable, those powerful, well, they’re the ones backing their candidacies. How are we ever going to be able to have faith in them to ensure our safety and wellbeing in Pennsylvania?”

Asked where he stands on fracking, Shapiro does not oppose it but would require companies to adhere to laws.

“We cannot accept the false choice of choosing between environmental justice and the dignity of work and energy opportunity,” said Shapiro. “I think we can have all of those things and we should have all of those things in Pennsylvania. We can be a leader in energy and not just with natural gas but with renewable energy…making sure we have responsible fracking in the commonwealth.”

Asked about high gasoline prices, Shapiro proposes giving a $250 rebate per car to residents, at an estimated cost of around $2 billion, though Shapiro’s campaign disputes that figure.

He also proposes capping abandoned wells to cut methane emissions, which he claims would create jobs.

Asked why they endorsed Shapiro rather than Christina “PK” Digiulio, the Green Party candidate for governor, Katie Blum with the Conservation Voters said, “We were proud to stand with Pennsylvania’s leading environmental advocates and offer a historic joint endorsement for Josh Shapiro to serve as our next governor. Josh is the only candidate in the race with a proven track record of holding polluters and corporate special interests accountable. And his platform is focused on protecting Pennsylvanians’ rights to clean air, pure water and open space while building a clean energy economy that creates union jobs and powers us into the future. We need a champion who can win and who, once in office, will fight for Pennsylvania families and not the special interests. And that person is Josh Shapiro.”

Nathan Benefield, senior vice president with the Commonwealth Foundation, a free-market think tank, was not impressed.

“Embracing environmental extremists and their radical agenda is another poke in the eye to Pennsylvania workers, especially those relying on family-sustaining jobs in our energy sector, and a slap in the face to consumers already struggling to pay their bills because of rising energy costs,” said Benefield. “These radical environmental groups, funded by out-of-touch liberal endowments, work to shut down pipelines and LNG facilities, preventing Pennsylvania natural gas from reaching markets, and enriching Russia and Putin.”

He added, “Attorney General Shapiro needs to rethink how he seems to be using his office for political gain rather than protecting Pennsylvania families.”

Dave Taylor, president of the Pennsylvania Manufacturer’s Association, was not surprised that those organizations would endorse Shapiro.

“Gov. Wolf is doing the bidding of the radical Greens. Attorney General Josh Shapiro could have stopped it and didn’t.”


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Chester County Political Committees Endorse Candidates as Primary Nears

Chester County Democrats and Republicans have endorsed candidates in the May 17 primary.

Last week, the Republicans gave their nod to congressional candidates Ron Vogel and Guy Ciarrocchi.  Vogel had a significant lead over Ciarrocchi in the ultimate round of votes—190 to 137. But because Vogel received 58 percent rather than 60 percent, the party recommended both men.

Ron Vogel

“It’s an honor to have earned the most votes in Chester County,” says Vogel, a real estate agent. “I intend to win the endorsement from the Berks County GOP, and I look forward to winning this primary and taking on Chrissy Houlahan in the fall. I think the members of the Republican Committee saw that I am genuine in my desire to make this great country even better. I’m admittedly new to politics, but that seems to have been an asset – not a liability. The Republican Party is forward-thinking, and its members trusted me to build coalitions with the next generation of voters, grow the party, and expose Congresswoman Houlahan’s feckless liberalism. That’s why I came out on top as the highest vote earner with 58 percent of the vote.”

The Republican Committee of Berks County, which also covers a significant portion of the 6th Congressional District, will make its endorsements later in April.

“For two years, I have been leading an effort to reopen the economy, to help small businesses and their employees, to put parents in charge and get kids back in school and to restore our liberty,” said Ciarrocchi, who is on leave from his position as president and CEO of the Chester County Chamber of Business. “(Last week) I launched a campaign for Congress to make sure that Washington hears that message—and stops making things worse. It’s humbling that the Chester County GOP officially ‘recommended’ me to our voters. It’s based on the fact that they know my record as a leader, a fighter, and someone who makes a difference.  I’ll do my best to earn their trust in me.”

Guy Ciarrocchi

Meanwhile, the Democrats unanimously endorsed incumbent Houlahan. In her remarks, Houlahan mentioned some of her recent legislative successes that included passage of family leave for federal employees, simplifying forgiveness of Paycheck Protection Program loans for qualifying small businesses, supporting the bipartisan infrastructure bill that will result in $18 billion in projects for Pennsylvania, and expanding support for veterans.

Her re-election pitch included “ensuring rights to affordable healthcare, an economy that works for all, and energy policies to combat climate change.” She noted her race is ‘targeted’ and the new district map will make the race harder to win. She closed by thanking the Chester County Democrats for their past support.

Rep. Chrissy Houlahan

The Chester Democrats also endorsed Attorney General Josh Shapiro for governor and state Rep. Austin Davis for lieutenant governor.

However, the Democrats’ vote was too close for party members to endorse in the race for the U.S. Senate seat. None of the three nominated candidates- Lt. Gov. John Fetterman, state Rep. Malcolm Kenyatta, and U.S. Rep. Conor Lamb– reached the 65 percent threshold for endorsement.

On the Republican side, the state committee did not endorse anyone for governor and Senate.

However, Chester County members of the state committee met on Saturday and endorsed former U.S. Attorney Bill McSwain for governor, according to Felice Fain, vice chair of the Chester GOP.

“I’m a native son of Chester County. I’ve lived there my whole life. I met my wife, Stephanie, when we were in elementary school in our hometown of West Chester, where we raised our four children and still live today,” said McSwain. “I coached little league and soccer teams in Chester County. I know the families of Chester County and they know me.

“Chester County is ready for change, and ready for a conservative leader who will fight to protect them from government overreach, intrusive regulations, and burdensome tax increases. I am proud to see my home county coming together to demand better for themselves, their neighbors, and their children, and am honored to receive the endorsement of the Chester County delegation of the Republican State Committee of Pennsylvania. Together, we will work towards victory in November and a freer, safer, more prosperous Commonwealth for years to come,” he said.

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