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PA SRCC Leadership Team Appointed

Senate President Pro Tempore Kim Ward (R-West Moreland) announced the Pennsylvania Senate Republican Campaign Committee’s (PA SRCC) Leadership team for the 2023-24  election cycle.

State Sen. Dave Argall (R-Luzerne/Carbon/Schuylkill) has been reappointed as cycle chairman. Senator Argall worked closely with Ward to oversee the PA SRCC’s successful 2022 election cycle where Republicans won key swing districts and maintained their Senate majority.

In addition, Senator Greg Rothman (R-Cumberland/Dauphin/Perry) will join the PA SRCC as the deputy chairman for the 2023-2024 campaign cycle. In this role, Rothman will provide key support to the Republican Caucus in efforts to maintain and build their majority in 2024.  Twenty-five Senate seats will be up for reelection in 2024, and more if there are special elections needed.

“With the support of Dave Argall I feel confident that the PA SRCC will remain focused on maintaining and growing our Senate Majority through 2024,” Ward said. “His leadership was vital last year, and he will be a key Member for our success going forward. And with Sen. Rothman’s strong record as a campaigner and fundraiser he will be an important resource for our caucus heading into 2024. The SRCC Leadership team is ready to hit the ground running to strengthen our majority next year.”

Argall told the Delaware Valley Journal that he enjoys the extra assignment working to help keep the Senate in Republican hands. Unlike the House, which narrowly flipped to Democrat control in2022 with redistricting and other headwinds, the state Senate retained a Republican majority.

“Our goal is to protect and expand our Senate majority,” said Argall.
Asked how he plans to do that, Argall said they “work very, very hard to find good candidates.”

Candidates either come to the SRCC or the organization goes out and finds them.

“There is nothing more important in this business than having a qualified, hardworking candidate,” Argall said.

“If they are well-known in their communities, that is always a plus,” said Argall. But that is not always needed. “Are they willing to roll up their sleeves and knock on a lot of doors and make a lot of phone calls?”

And, the vet their candidates so there are “no surprises.”

In addition to good candidates, there is also the need for adequate financing.

The SRCC raised $3.2 million in 2022 and Argall said they hope to raise even more for 2024.


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O’DONNELL: Opening Day for the Pennsylvania House of Representatives Will Be Packed With Uncertainty

This article first appeared in Broad + Liberty

On Jan. 3, 2023, the Pennsylvania House of Representatives will meet and determine if our state will show the potential for effective governance or vindicate the current cynicism about democracy.

The arithmetic is simple but the human dimension of the problem is much more difficult.

Legislative bodies are governed by majorities. They are organized by the majority party, and passing legislation requires a majority of those elected.

The voters have selected 101 Republican House members and 102 Democrats. However, one of the Democrats — Tony DeLuca — died before the election, reducing their numbers to 101. Two more Democrats — Austin Davis and Summer Lee — were also elected to other offices (Lt. Governor and U.S. Congress). Those two will likely be persuaded to take office, however temporarily, in the Pennsylvania House, creating a 101-101 tie.

The options before the Pennsylvania House of Representatives then become:

1. One or more switchovers. 

A dissident member of either party might be induced to switch and thereby create a durable majority for the receiving caucus. This would enable the organization of the House and the election of the Speaker but would be a cumbersome structure and may be disrupted by the results of the special election to fill the vacant seats.

2. Stalemate

Assuming both caucuses remain cohesive and insist on their positions, the House cannot organize, adopt rules, or elect a Speaker. However, the Democratic membership will drop to 99 when Davis and Lee resign to take up their new seats. (Congress convenes on Jan. 3 and the Lieutenant Governor will be sworn in on Jan. 17.) This will result in a total membership of 200, and a constitutional majority now would be 101. The Republicans would then elect the Speaker and proceed.

Among the first orders of business would be the setting of the date for the special elections to fill the vacancies. Since the Democrats are strongly favored in those seats, they would be in position to reorganize the House and elect their candidate for Speaker when and if they are successful. It is therefore likely that the Republican Speaker would set the date as far as possible into the future, which would be at the primary election in May.

3. Chaos

The frustration and tension that would result from the failure to govern would likely produce behavior that would increase unpredictability. The boundless ingenuity of lawyers would be brought into play and every nuance and obscure rule and practice would be exploited. For example, a Speaker can not be removed, except by a Majority of the Elected Members, but a Speaker can be elected by a Majority of those Members present and voting.

This raises the possibility that during the stalemate a Speaker could be elected by whoever happened to be in the House Chamber.

4. Power sharing

The bottom line is that the state Constitution requires that legislation be passed by a majority of those elected, and the reality is that a stable majority will not be available for either party during this term.

Power sharing arrangements can be structural, such as Committee membership, and authority, a shared Speakership, rules governing the legislative calendar and debate, etc. They could also be informal rules of engagement enabling housekeeping, determining what issues will be considered and a mechanism for resolution of conflicts and misunderstandings.

Any such arrangements require the forbearance of the members of each caucus and significant deference to their respective leaderships.

The support of the incoming Governor, Josh Shapiro, for an arrangement would be very helpful. He is politically skilled and coincidentally the architect of such an arrangement when he was a House member in 2007–2008.

If the special elections confirm a durable majority, the successful implementation of power sharing could potentially yield a positive experience across party lines that would create better communication going forward.

The reality in Harrisburg is divided government: divided by party, divided by ideology and divided by those who would substitute passion for principle.

Someday, reasoned debate in a transparent forum, by those of good will, observed and instructed by an informed electorate, will change that. Meanwhile, I suggest that the business of government needs to be pragmatically done.

It will not be perfectly done. It never has been. But it can be done and has never been more important.

Dr. Raffi Terzian Vies for Chester County GOP Chair

The Tredyffrin Republican Committee chairman wants to become chairman of the Chester County Republicans, replacing current chair Dr. Gordon Eck.

Dr. Raffi Terzian told Delaware Valley Journal that “it’s time for new leadership.”

He plans to unify the party and also work to bring in more independent voters.

“We’ve had a leadership model that is top-down,” said Terzian. “And I intend to bring in a team-oriented approach to managing the party.”

Terzian sent an email with his resume and plans to revitalize the county GOP to party members, saying he would like to be elected chairman. The county committee is scheduled to meet Tuesday to reorganize and will vote on whether to elect Terzian or keep the current chairman.

Eck did not respond to requests for comment.

“It is time to chart a new course for the Republican Party of Chester County,” Terzian wrote to committee members. “We must unify and restore confidence in our party with the residents of our county. We cannot allow our opponents to define who we are; we must clearly articulate our shared values, and which resonate with our community. We must leverage the many talents and abilities of this committee in a team-oriented, collaborative approach and lead with integrity, transparency, and consistency.”

He is also proposing a new slate of officers as well: Executive Vice-Chair John Emmons; Vice-Chair Paula Tropiano; Treasurer Norman MacQueen; Financial Secretary Barbara Spall; Secretary Ann Marie Franciscus; and Assistant Secretary Trish Milanese.

Some political observers say they believe the Chester County GOP may be ripe for a change.

“Given the election results over the last few cycles in addition to the swing in voter registration numbers now favoring Democrats for the first time since the Civil War, the challenge to Chester County’s current Republican leadership is not surprising,” said Jeff Jubelirer, vice president with Bellevue Communications Group. “The political winds seem to be pointing to Republican gains across the state and nation in 2022, but recent results in Chester County elections don’t necessarily portend for a similar outcome locally.

“As the general election approaches with open seats for governor and U.S. Senate – a seat that could determine the balance of power in the chamber – this is an opportunity for Chester County Republicans to reset in advance of such a critical time,” Jubelirer added.

There are about 5,000 more Democrats than Republicans in Chester County and the Democrats took control of the county commissioners in 2019, along with the district attorney’s office.

An ER doctor, Terzian is married to Roseanne Terzian and has four children. The family has lived in Chester County for 19 years.

He wants to “foster a grassroots effort that involves all our committee people and has them invested in what it is we’re doing.”

Terzian believes fundraising is essential so the committee will be able to get its message out.

“We will adopt a multifaceted approach to fundraising” and “have a clear communication strategy” that “involves a multimodal approach.”

“We have to have a robust get-out-the-vote effort that includes outreach not only to our voters but to new residents of the county, along with folks who may be unaffiliated,” he added.

He plans to keep in closer touch with voters and constituents not just via emails or text messages.

“We want to meet them where they are,” said Terzian.

He plans to talk to voters about Republican solutions to their problems and listen to their issues. Republicans ran the county well for a long time, he noted. And, Republicans are fiscally responsible, and for smaller government, he added.

“I think economic issues are first and foremost on people’s minds at the moment,” Terzian said.

But they have to get their message out to voters and Terzian believes that he is the person to do that.

“We’ve allowed our opponents to define who we are,” he said.

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BARR: It’s Time U.S. Energy Policy Stops Empowering Russia

Russian President Vladimir Putin has plunged Europe into crisis with his invasion of Ukraine. His stated goals are to destabilize the country to bring the nation back under Russia’s control. In response, it’s time we hit Putin where he knows it will hurt – through the energy sector. Unfortunately, there’s been a raft of bad policy decisions at the state and federal levels that need to be reversed to make this happen.

The United States and the European Union are discussing economic sanctions against Russia for its violations of international order. But at the same time, due to a lack of pipeline infrastructure and regulatory pressure to reduce domestic production from the Biden administration, the U.S. has dramatically increased the volume of imported Russian oil. Federal energy regulators note that in 2021, imports of Russian oil doubled year-over-yearto the highest level in a decade. Russia is now, unfathomably, the second-highest exporter of oil to the United States. Oil is by far Russia’s biggest and most profitable export – and it’s time to shut that off. In the meantime, America and its neighbors in Canada and Mexico have abundant supplies of oil to replace this resource. But we need leadership in Washington.

Instead, due to litigation from environmental groups, exploration of new resources on federal lands has stalled. Just days ago, the Biden administration announced it was pausing any new drilling on federal lands. At the same time, federal officials have revoked the permit for the Keystone XL pipeline, which would have brought in much-needed energy from our biggest trading partner, Canada. The Biden administration has also waffled on whether or not to oppose Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer’s attempts to vacate another critical pipeline, Line 5, which brings in oil that supplies the Great Lakes region, including to the Pittsburgh Airport.

Shutting down Russian imports in exchange for North American energy wouldn’t just hurt Russia – it would be a net win for the environment. Russian energy production is notoriously lax on environmental standards, with Biden’s Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm going so far to say their production is “the dirtiest on earth,” with fugitive emission rates orders of magnitude above US standards. Despite this, Russia has been granted permission under the Paris climate accords to increase its greenhouse gas emissions by a whopping 34% by the end of the decade. In contrast, America and Canada have among the most stringent production standards globally – not to mention that the United States has led the developed world in reducing greenhouse gas emissions over the past two decades.

Pennsylvania has helped the United States achieve those reductions through its competitive markets and leadership production in shale gas. Our state is now the number two producer of natural gas and the leader in energy exports to other states. Unfortunately, neighboring states like New York and New Jersey have blocked new pipeline construction, to the applause of environmental groups. The result? Power prices and emissions have skyrocketed, and New England has infamously imported Russian gas into its terminal near Boston to keep the lights on in the winter. New England has also had to turn to fuel oil to prevent blackouts, resulting in a 44% increase in greenhouse gas emissions this past winter.

There are economic consequences to shutting down pipelines. Look no further than Germany announcing this week it is suspending the operating permit for the Nord Stream 2 pipeline that would have imported Russian gas into Europe, in response to Putin’s aggression. As European foreign policy analyst Bruno Macaes once said, pipelines are the continuation of war by other means. Yet Pennsylvania has been hamstrung in its ability to deliver reliable energy to its neighbors and abroad. We have enough natural gas to grow markets here (and reduce emissions) while also exporting more clean-burning fuel to allies in Europe, India and Asia. But the Biden administration has not greenlit any new LNG export or pipeline infrastructure. Domestic LNG cargoes are also forbidden, by the perverse consequences of the protectionist Jones Act, from being delivered to other domestic ports – meaning we can export LNG from Houston and the Gulf for $4.50 per million cubic feet but New England has to import it from much more emissions-intensive locales – like Russia – for seven times more.

Let there be no doubt – private industry in the United States is deploying billions of dollars into low- and zero-carbon energy technologies every year as they execute sustainability plans. In the meantime, there is a great and growing international demand for fossil fuels. Putin knows responsibly produced North American energy reduce revenues for his war machine. That’s why he said in 2013 that shale is a danger and must be stopped, and why NATO Secretary General Rasmussen announced in 2014the defense consortium had intelligence Putin was funding anti-fossil fuel environmental groups (which Hillary Clinton herself confirmed in the run-up to the 2016 election).

Putin’s aggression cannot be left unchecked. To help keep the peace and to build a more sustainable global future, America’s prolific energy resources must be leveraged to the maximum. We can no longer afford state and federal energy policy that accommodates and enriches Russia.

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