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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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