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Hispanic Republican Coalition of Pennsylvania Courts Lawmakers in Harrisburg

Grassroots organizers and activists with the Hispanic Republican Coalition of Pennsylvania (HRCP) recently gathered in Harrisburg meet with legislators and hold a fundraiser.  Their message: Latino voters are willing to vote GOP but the party has to GOTV. (Get Out The Vote)

“It was very successful,” said Chair Jennie Dallas, a business owner from Dauphin County. Members from around the state attended.

“The amount of support our organization has received in Harrisburg from our elected representatives and state senators is overwhelming,” Dallas said. “Our coalition is energized and excited to move forward vigorously to win over Hispanic voters in the state of Pennsylvania, a group that Republicans must engage in order to win elections locally and statewide. We are proud to have elected officials like Senate President Pro Tempore Kim Ward, Sen. David Argall, Sen. Scott Martin, Sen. Ryan Aument, state Treasurer Stacy Garrity, as well as a number of other elected officials and candidates for office who are supporting our movement.”

Sen. David Argall receives the “El Jefe” award from HRCP Chair Jennie Dallas and consultant Albert Eisenberg, for his leadership in helping share the GOP message with Pennsylvania’s right-trending Hispanic communities.

Ward spoke to the gathering, and Argall received an award for his leadership and support of efforts to appeal to Hispanic communities in Pennsylvania.

“With more Latinos calling Pennsylvania home, it is important that we work alongside the Latino community, as they are the fastest growing population in the commonwealth,” said Ward (R-Westmoreland).

Argall (R-Carbon/Luzerne/Schuylkill), who chairs the Pennsylvania Senate Republican Campaign Committee, said, “We, as Republicans, need to reach out to all people. If we truly want to represent everyone, this is an important constituency that deserves our attention and support. I’m honored to receive the award from the Hispanic Republican Coalition of Pennsylvania.”

During the 2022 election cycle, the coalition was the only group to run radio and billboard ads in Spanish to support the Republican ticket, spending in the high five figures, said Albert Eisenberg, a political strategist with BlueStateRed, who is working with the HRCP.

“Hispanic voters in Pennsylvania are crying out to hear a GOP message as they are facing the reality of Democratic rule in communities across the commonwealth (including) increases in petty and violent crime in their communities, stagnation in public schools and weird social issues injected into the classroom, and stalling economic opportunity,” said Eisenberg. “The Hispanic Republican Coalition of Pennsylvania is doing the work that the GOP has needed to do for decades, and we are proud of our growing support at both the grassroots and elected levels.”

The Spanish language ads ran in the most heavily Hispanic regions in the state, including parts of Philadelphia and the Lehigh Valley.  Areas where the ads ran were the “only areas [in the state] that did not shift to the Left,” said Eisenberg.

In recent years, many Hispanics have moved from New York and settled in parts of Pennsylvania, especially the Lehigh Valley, where crime is lower, and there are jobs in logistics and agriculture.

He noted that the values of the Republican party, including patriotism, prosperity, strong families, and the American dream, resonate with Hispanics.

Republicans just need to reach out to them, he said.

Sen. Kim Ward (right) speaks to the Hispanic Republican Coalition as Chair Jennie Dallas looks on.

“These are working-class voters who’ve been left behind by the Democrats and haven’t heard from Republicans yet,” he said.  Republican ideas are “really compelling to conservative-leaning people and will bring them to the table.”

Dallas agreed, saying that grassroots volunteers will be doing just that this year, “working our grassroots,” talking to and registering Hispanic voters.

She added, “Our biggest focus will be n our grassroots and building our volunteer base.”

The Hispanic voting trend toward the GOP is a nationwide phenomenon, with former President Donald Trump winning 29 percent of Hispanic voters in 2016 and 32 percent in 2020, although the majority of Latino voters remain Democrats. And last year Mayra Flores (R-Texas) because the first Republican to win a Congressional seat in the Rio Grande Valley in 151 years. She is also the first Mexican-born woman in Congress.

“The future of the Republican Party was pictured at our event: a diverse, working-class party that reaches regular people across Pennsylvania and responds to their needs,” Eisenberg said. “I could not be more excited and proud to ‘be the change’ in conceiving and launching this group last year and continuing the needed work in the cycles ahead.”

“We’re trying to create infrastructure that doesn’t exist in the state, but exists in Florida and Texas, to flip the state House back,” said Eisenberg. Democrats hold a one-seat majority in the Pennsylvania House.

“It’s really needed. If we can get the word out, we can do a lot in 2023 and ’24,” he added.

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Ward Elected First Woman to Lead PA Senate

Sen. Kim Ward was elected by her colleagues on Tuesday as the first woman Senate President pro tempore, or leader of the Pennsylvania Senate.

She will also serve as lieutenant governor until Democrat Rep. Austin Davis is inaugurated on Jan. 17. (Davis resigned from the House last month to prepare for his new position.)

Ward (R-Westmoreland) noted in her remarks to senators that more women are now serving in the Senate than ever before, eight Republicans and eight Democrats. While the House is nearly evenly divided, with Democrats likely to take control after three special elections to fill vacancies are held, the Senate retains a Republican majority.

Democrat Josh Shapiro will become governor this month.

Asked what she believes the legislature can accomplish with a Democratic governor and House, Ward told the Delaware Valley Journal that bills that are “good for the people of Pennsylvania” will be passed.

Her number one priority is a constitutional amendment requiring voter identification.

“That’s probably the most important thing we want to get done,” she said. Polling shows most Pennsylvanians, regardless of party, agree that voters should show their ID to vote.

“It’s a popular issue,” she said. “It’s 100 percent common sense.”

Asked what she can do to stop the state’s continued population loss (about 40,000 people from July 2021 to July 2022), she said the newly decreased corporate income tax should help.

“I think it’s important in that it is businesses bring jobs, right?” said Ward. The legislature passed “a big package. It’s going to help everybody in Pennsylvania.”

She also wants to unleash the energy sector and promote Marcellus Shale gas.

“We should choose to use the vast natural resources that we’re sitting upon,” she said. “And we don’t need to be pounding negatively on other energies and other energy sources do not need to pound negatively on fossil fuels.”

Using that natural gas will bring more jobs and more people to the state, she said.

And she’s hopeful that Shapiro will keep to his campaign commitment to take Pennsylvania out of the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) that Gov. Tom Wolf entered despite legislative denials.

She asked why Pennsylvania should be “negatively impacted” by RGGI, which will increase electricity costs, because “New York and these other northeastern states don’t have what we have (natural gas).”

The DVJournal wondered whether Republicans in Harrisburg and the rest of the state think the Delaware Valley is now hopelessly Democratic.

Ward said, “We’re never going to give up. We’re going to come back and get all of you to come back to our side.”

Asked her advice for other women who aspire to leadership positions, Ward was straightforward.

“Stay focused. Keep your eyes on where you’re to be. Work hard as you can and don’t let anybody tell you, you can’t do something because yes, you can.”

At her swearing-in ceremony, Ward said that in addition to reducing the corporate net income tax, they increased education spending and g, created the Pennsylvania Edge Tax Credit program to increase energy production. They also created a childcare tax credit, a home repair program, and a health care prior authorization change to help people access needed procedures. And these improvements were done in a bipartisan way.

“As we look forward, I’m hopeful that we can, together, put Pennsylvania on a greater path to prosperity,” she said.  “By tapping into our state’s energy abundance, we can fuel our state’s economy, create, and maintain good family-sustaining jobs and create energy independence, not only for our commonwealth but for our nation.”

Ward also wants to promote “earlier detection of breast cancer and greater access to a BRCA gene test for women.”

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Sen. Ward to Krasner: Constitution Says You Must Face Impeachment Trial

Impeached Philadelphia District Attorney Larry Krasner filed a lawsuit earlier this month urging the courts to block the state Senate from trying him on the charges levied by the Pennsylvania House.

On Friday, the GOP-controlled Senate fired back with a lawsuit of its own, arguing the state constitution requires them to try the progressive district attorney.

Krasner’s lawsuit, targeting interim Senate President Kim Ward (R-Westmoreland) and the as-yet-unnamed members of the Senate committee overseeing the impeachment, argued his trial would be unprecedented.

“Never before has the legislature exercised its power to impeach and remove someone duly elected twice for things that do not come close to a crime,” Krasner’s lawyers told the court. “And never before has the statewide legislature exercised its power to impeach a locally elected officer like District Attorney Krasner.”

Ward responded in Commonwealth Court and also filed a “Cross-Application for Summary Relief” arguing the Court cannot hear this matter without the Senate as a party, given that the suit seeks a declaration and order as to the rights of the Senate as a body.

In November, the House voted 107-85 to impeach Krasner, a progressive Democrat, who has presided over skyrocketing crime in Philadelphia. Under his watch, there have been 470 murders this year (as of Dec. 11) and 562 homicides in 2021. The city has seen more than 1,000 carjackings in 2022 as well.

The Senate set Jan. 18 as the date for the impeachment trial.

Krasner argues that as the duly elected district attorney, he is not subject to impeachment by the House and that the impeachment should not cross over to a new session that will begin on January 3.

In response to the House impeachment vote, Krasner said on Twitter: “Philadelphians’ votes, and Philadelphia voters, should not be erased. History will harshly judge this anti-democratic authoritarian effort to erase Philly’s votes – votes by Black, brown, and broke people in Philadelphia. And voters will have the last word.”

In the filing, Ward told the court the Senate is obligated to act upon the articles of impeachment according to Pennsylvania’s constitution.

“In commanding the Senate to try ‘all’ impeachments, the state constitution reflects a deliberate intent to ensure that the Senate’s impeachment function exists independent of its legislative powers,” according to the filing.

Ward also notes there were at least five prior impeachments in Pennsylvania. And if an impeachment is not permitted to go into the next session, a person who committed offenses would be able to walk away on a technicality based on timing rather than being held to account for their actions, Ward argued.

And Krasner, although he claims he is not bound by the legislature’s jurisdiction, “is in a position of public trust and is entrusted with exerting the power of the Commonwealth within Philadelphia County,” Ward’s filing noted.

Republicans said the definition of “misbehavior in office” was left vague so the drafters of impeachment in the House can “define its contours.”

“The context and the whole design of the impeachment clauses show that these acts were to be official, and the unlawfulness was to consist in a violation of public duty which might or might not have been an ordinary indictable offense,” the filing states.

And, conversely, Ward argued that since the Senate has not formed its impeachment committee, Krasner’s lawsuit is too early to be “ripe” for the court to act on.

The House committee that recommended impeachment heard from crime victims who said Krasner’s progressive policies that tilt toward the criminal rather than the victim had, in some cases, led to the deaths of their loved ones by those very criminals.

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PA Republican Sen. Kim Ward Elected First Woman President Pro Tempore

Senate Republicans Tuesday elected Sen. Kim Ward to serve as president pro tempore. She is the first woman to serve in that position, which is the third highest office in the state. It was among the Senate Republican leadership positions for the 2023-24 legislative session chosen on Wednesday.

“We think this is going to be pretty challenging in the next year or two,” said Ward (R-Westmoreland) at a Harrisburg press conference afterward. “The landscape has changed a little bit. We’re not sure really what’s happening in the House. That’s still up in the air. We have a new governor. All I know is this: We need to be the best we can to serve the people of our commonwealth.”

Ward had previously served as the Senate Majority Leader.

“I am incredibly proud to elect Kim as the first female pro tem. Her leadership and experience will be critical as we potentially lose the majority in the house. I am looking forward to working with Kim and the rest of the Senate leadership team,” Rep. Tracy Penncuick (R-Harleysville), who was just elected to the Senate 24th District, to serve parts of Montgomery and Bucks Counties.

The president pro tempore is responsible for appointing the chairpersons and members of the 22 standing committees of the Senate and serves as an ex-officio member of all committees. She will preside over the Senate floor when the lieutenant governor is unavailable and fills the position of lieutenant governor if the office becomes vacant. The office also refers bills and resolutions to the appropriate Senate committees for consideration.

“To all members of the Senate, Democrat and Republican, I look forward to working with you to chart a path forward that requires us to selflessly work together advocating for all Pennsylvanians and their families by putting the principles and respect for this institution and our Commonwealth above all,” Ward said. “Together we have done big things for Pennsylvania, and they should be acknowledged in the bipartisan manner in which they were achieved. It is proof we can be diverse and unified at the same time and a kind reminder of the work we must continue to do on behalf of our commonwealth and its citizens.”

The Senate Republicans also elected Sen. Joe Pittman (R-Armstrong) as Senate Majority Leader. His duties include overseeing the legislative agenda, developing policies and strategies for the Senate Republican Caucus, and playing a key role in floor debates officials said. He also has a major role in negotiating issues with the administration and House of Representatives and in coordinating action on the Senate floor. Pittman previously chaired the Senate Urban Affairs and Housing Committee.

“To serve as the majority leader of the Senate Republican Caucus in the upcoming session will be a great honor,” Pittman said. “I am flattered to have the support of my colleagues and am committed to advancing a positive, pro-growth agenda for the citizens of this entire Commonwealth. The constituents of the 41st Senatorial District who have elected me to represent them as their senator will always be my top priority and focus, and I will use my voice to represent them and their interests.”

Others elected to leadership included Sen. Ryan Aument (R-Lancaster) as Majority Whip. Sen. Scott Martin (R-Lancaster) will chair the Senate Appropriations Committee, which plays a major role in developing the state budget.

Also, Sen. Kristin Phillips-Hill (R-York) will serve as Majority Caucus chair for the 2023-24 legislative session. The chair presides over Republican caucus meetings to discuss bills and amendments and to develop caucus strategy. And Sen. Camera Bartolotta (R-Beaver) was elected Senate Majority Caucus secretary to oversee all executive nominations submitted to the Senate for confirmation.

Ward was first elected in 2008. Previously, she had served as a Westmoreland County commissioner and was on the Hempfield Township Board of Supervisors, where she was chair.

Ward worked in a bipartisan way to address the COVID-19 pandemic.

She led efforts to ensure the people’s voice was not lost by advancing a constitutional amendment giving the people a say through the introduction of Senate Bill 2, which instituted the largest transfer of executive power since President Herbert Hoover, according to her online bio.

She’s also been active in regulatory reform and tax relief.

Ward advanced efforts to reduce the Corporate Net Income Tax (CNIT) for Pennsylvania, taking it from one of the highest in the nation to phasing it down to one of the most competitive rates among states. She also helped to provide more certainty for businesses through regulatory reform and make tax code adjustments for small- medium-sized businesses, her website said.

Ward is a member of Our Lady of Grace Catholic Church in Hempfield Township, the Italian Sons and Daughters of America, and the NRA. She is a southwestern Pennsylvania native who grew up in Meadowlands in Washington County. She attended The Community College of Allegheny County Respiratory Therapy program, the University of Pittsburgh, and Middle Tennessee State University.

Before entering politics, Ward worked as a board-certified respiratory therapist at Allegheny General Hospital, Vanderbilt University Hospital, and Hershey Medical Center.

She and her husband, Dr. Thomas Ward, have three sons: Tom, Michael, and Matthew, and six grandchildren.

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