Thursday, August 12, 2010
MERCER COUNTY, PENNSYLVANIA
Independent State Senate candidate Roberta Biros received verification from the Pennsylvania Department of State this afternoon that the nomination papers that she filed on Thursday, July 29, have gone unchallenged. According to Pennsylvania election law, all challenges to nomination papers were to be filed with the Department of State no later than 5 pm on Monday, August 9. As a result, her name will appear as an independent candidate for State Senate in Pennsylvania’s 50th District on the November 2nd General Election ballot.
To mark the closing of the nomination process, Mrs. Biros today proudly introduced the members of her campaign committee, Citizens to Elect Roberta Biros for State Senate.
Dr. Martha Moore of Sandy Lake serves as Committee Treasurer.
"Dr. Moore is a former CPA and a well-respected medical professional," Mrs.Biros said. "As the primary administrator of the committee, Dr. Moore is the lead for all campaign and committee activities. I am thrilled to have someone of her reputation and character working with me."
Mrs. Biros selected Joe Zentis of Hermitage to be her Committee Chairman.
“Mr. Zentis brings a high level of energy and creative thinking to the team,” Mrs. Biros said. “He is a well-known writer, author, and entrepreneur, and his level of commitment to my Platform of Good Government is unmatched. Mr. Zentis will be involved in campaign strategy, planning, and team building.”
As a hands-on candidate, Roberta will be working shoulder-to-shoulder with Dr. Moore, Mr. Zentis, and her entire team of volunteers during her campaign for State Senate in Pennsylvania’s 50th District. If you are interested in joining Roberta’s campaign team, please contact the campaign committee by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or access the campaign website at http://www.electbiros.com/ for additional information.
Friday, July 2, 2010
For the first time in his ‘reign’ as Governor, Ed Rendell has a budget that passed through the State House and Senate before the June 30th deadline. Congratulations Governor Rendell! Congratulations, too, to the 37 Senators and 177 Representatives that signed on to that “pile of garbage” that they called a State Budget.
Why is it a pile of garbage? . . . Because it is UNCONSTITUTIONAL
Our legislature is REQUIRED BY LAW to pass a balanced budget. The budget that passed the House and Senate yesterday is balanced on federal funds that don’t yet exist and a tax on the extraction of Marcellus Shale natural gas that has yet to be passed. In essence, “the budget stands for nothing” . . . which is appropriate since that is also the case with many of our legislators.
Who is to blame?
The opportunity to STOP the budget was in the Republican controlled Senate. The budget bill passed the State Senate by a vote of 37 to 13. There were only 13 Senators that did the right thing by voting NO to this example of fiscal irresponsibility. What about the Senate leadership? Here are their votes . . . for the record.
YES - Joseph B. Scarnati III (President of the Senate)
YES - Dominic Pileggi (Majority Floor Leader)
YES - Michael Waugh (Majority Caucus Chair)
YES - Robert Robbins (Majority Caucus Secretary)
YES - Jake Corman (Majority Appropriations Committee Chair)
YES - Patrick M. Browne (Majority Caucus Administrator)
YES - Edwin Erickson (Majority Policy Committee Chair)
YES - Roberta Mellow (Minority Floor Leader)
YES - Michael O’Pake (Minority Whip)
YES - Vincent Hughes (Minority Caucus Chair)
YES - Sean Logan (Minority Caucus Secretary)
YES - Jay Costa (Minority Appropriations Committee Chair)
YES - Christine Tartaglione (Minority Caucus Administrator)
YES - Richard Kasunic (Minority Policy Committee Chair)
THIS PROVES that the Senate leadership MUST change . . . one way or another!
The budget bill passed the State House by a vote of 117 to 84. This is not a shock seeing that the House is controlled by Rendell Democrats. What is shocking in this number, however, is that 16 Republicans voted WITH the Rendell Democrats in order to achieve a supermajority which was required to waive a rule requiring 24 hours’ notice before a bill is voted.
If you would like to see how your Senators and Representatives voted, please refer to the voting records below:
June 30 Budget Vote in Senate is HERE
June 30 Budget Vote in House is HERE
What about Northwest PA?
MOST of the legislators from our region in Northwest Pennsylvania agree with my views on the budget, and MOST of them voted against the budget bill yesterday. Specifically . . .
Mercer County Legislators
Representative Michele Brooks (R) - NO
Representative Dick Stevenson (R) - NO
Representative Mark Longietti (D) - YES
Senator Bob Robbins (R) – YES
Crawford County Legislators
Representative John Evans (R) – NO
Representative Brad Roae (R) – NO
Representative Michele Brooks (R) – NO
Senator Bob Robbins (R) – YES
Republican Representatives (and Conservatives) Michele Brooks, Dick Stevenson, John Evans, and Brad Roae all did the RIGHT thing and voted NO to the budget.
Rendell Democrats Bob Robbins and Representative Mark Longietti voted YES to the budget. Representative Mark Longietti did what his caucus told him to do . . . in the end he supported his Governor and his Caucus (right or wrong). Republican Senator Bob Robbins PROVED his allegiance to the Democrats that WROTE HIM IN in the Primary (all 800 of them) and he also supported his fellow Democrat Governor and his new Caucus.
As a Republican LEADER in the Senate, Bob Robbins should be ashamed of himself. Even more important, his CONSTITUENTS should be angry with him. It shows that he was more concerned with getting rid of the “budget problem” in an election year that he was with standing on principles of good government and fiscal responsibility.
In press releases that were sent out last night, Bob Robbins fellow legislators from this area made their thoughts about the budget clear . . .
Representative Michele Brooks stated:
“Although this budget was passed on time – as it should be – it falls short to earn my support. I have many serious concerns about funding allocations and the source of hundreds of millions of dollars in revenue.”Representative Brad Roae stated:
“Many of us have concerns regarding whether this budget is constitutionally balanced as it relies heavily on $850 million in funding from the federal government, which has not yet been approved by Congress and there are some doubts whether it will be approved. It also has a structural deficit of approximately $3 billion.”
“State budgets are about priorities,” Roae said. “This budget sets the wrong priorities for Pennsyvlania.”According to these statements, it seems to me that the conservative legislators that represent our area need help to fight for fiscal responsibility in Harrisburg . . . and they are not getting that from their own Senator. Hmmmmmm.
“This budget literally spends money the state doesn’t have,” Roae said. “This budget is based on the hope of a federal bailout for the state. If the federal government runs up the deficit to pay for this bailout, taxpayers will be paying for it for years to come.”
“This budget doesn’t reflect my priorities and it certainly doesn’t reflect the wishes
of the people I represent,” Roae said. “We needed to reduce spending due to the recession, but the cuts in this budget weren’t applied fairly. This budget sets up huge tax increases or painful spending cuts for next year. I simply could not support a budget that is this irresponsible.”
Where do I stand on the subject?
Anyone that voted FOR this budget made a conscious effort to pull the wool over the eyes of taxpayers. This is not a VALID budget . . . no matter how you look at it.
It is the responsibility of our legislators to make certain that the state government does not spend beyond its means. If we don’t have the money, we ought not to be spending it. Federal dollars that simply aren’t there should not be considered in the calculations, and tax revenues from Marcellus Shale should NOT be considered in the equations either. IF the tax on Marcellus Shale extraction is pushed through (in October), it will be the worst fiscal decision in Pennsylvania . . . ever!
If I were the Senator in Pennsylvania’s 50th District, I would have voted NO to yesterday’s budget. I would have continued to vote NO until the budget was actually balanced on REAL numbers. More importantly, I would have been pushing for these changes back in February and March . . . when budget negotiations SHOULD have been taking place. Waiting until the 11th hour so that they can push through the equivalent of a legislative joke is shameful.
I usually sign off by stating "as alway, just my opinion". Today it is important that I sign off by stating the following:
This is not just my opinion. It is my official statement.
Editor, Mercer County Conservatives
Wednesday, June 23, 2010
Yesterday I received an email message from the Mike Kelly campaign. It was an abrupt little message providing contact information for the “new” campaign team (the old contacts were all fired . . . dismissed . . . let go . . . kicked to the curb). The message also provided instructions for publicizing Mike’s latest “letter to the editor”. There was no courteous “hi there” from Mike or his new campaign people . . . just instructions and marching orders.
Here is Mike’s letter in its entirety:
Now, for my response to Mike’s letter:
Now that the dust has settled, I wanted to write and acknowledge the voters, volunteers, and ther candidates who played a role in the 3rd Congressional district's Primary Election. As you ll know, it was a hotly contested battle for the Republican nomination and I am both humbled and flattered to be moving forward on the General Election ballot. My wife Vicky and I want to thank the other candidates for a spirited campaign, the voters who participated, our tremendous volunteers for all their hard work, and the media outlets for recognizing the importance of the race and giving the candidates the opportunity to share his and her views on the issues that families in western Pennsylvania care most about.
The other five candidates in the Primary deserve our respect and admiration. They are all patriots who have a deep concern for our country's future and they showed their passion by coming forward and getting their names on the ballot. They, like me, worked tirelessly for months to earn the support of voters in all of the district's seven counties. Because of them, I am a better candidate and, it is my hope, that we are a stronger party. To those of you who supported someone other than me during the Primary, I plan on making a similar effort to earn your support moving forward.
What we have learned throughout this process is that there is far more that unites us than separates us.
While I will work tirelessly to unite the Republican Party, our message is an inclusive one that I hope will appeal to people regardless of party affiliation. You don't have to be a Republican or Democrat to oppose deficit spending. You don't have to be a Republican or a Democrat to support policies and initiatives that will lower our unemployment rate in western Pennsylvania. You don't have to be a Republican or Democrat to say "no" to additional Wall Street bailouts and nationalized health care. These are quality-of-life issues that should be party-blind and I will campaign accordingly by reaching-out to like-minded Democrats and Independents throughout the district. This election isn't about party or geography. Instead, it's about the direction of our country. It's about how the policies of this administration and congress have adversely affected western Pennsylvania.
Between now and November I look forward to visiting your communities, hearing your concerns, and building relationships in all seven of the counties that make up our Congressional district. I have a lot of work to do and can assure you that I am up to the task. Together, I am confident that we can get western Pennsylvania, and our country, back on the right track.
Republican Candidate for Congress
First, the email that I received wasn’t even the slightest bit friendly or polite. It was strictly instructions. It was an interesting way to try to get the press onto the Kelly bandwagon . . . reverse psychology of some type I suppose. “Good luck with that”, Mike.
Second, I find it funny that Mike Kelly decided to contact and thank the other five candidates in the race through a letter to the editor. Sort of odd, don’t you think? It would seem that a personal call from Mike would be more appropriate, but I guess that isn’t Mike’s style either. It seems to imply that Mike doesn’t consider the other five (5) candidates OR their supporters to be very important. Again I say, “good luck with that”.
Third, Mike states that he is not trying to unite conservatives, but instead is attempting to unite Republicans, Democrats, and Independents. It would be a great move if I believed it, but it sounds like the words of a politician . . . not a leader or public servant.
He states “it isn’t about party or geography”, but I’d like to disagree. Mike’s priorities should VERY MUCH be about GEOGRAPHY. Since the Primary, Mike has been everywhere BUT northwestern Pennsylvania. In true RINO fashion, Mike’s attention has been spent in Washington DC . . . with no interest in healing the wounds in the 3rd Congressional District that were left after the Primary. Mike is a “DC Guy” now I suppose, but I would warn that he ought not to count those chickens too prematurely (if you know what I mean).
Mike Kelly’s new image as a Phil English Republican is not going to fair well with Republicans, Democrats, or Independents in our cozy little corner of Northwestern Pennsylvania. In case Mike was unaware, Phil English LOST because voters in the 3rd Congressional District were tired of big spending, selfish politicians. I wouldn’t be so quick to harness my horse to the “Phil English” wagon, but that is a choice that Mike needs to make. After all, this election is Mike’s to lose. The only person that might advise Mike Kelly to tie himself to Phil English would be none other than “Phil English” himself, but surely Mike Kelly is smarter than that . . . right?
In closing I say to Mike Kelly and his new team . . . “Good luck with that”.
As always, just my opinion.
~Roberta Biros, Editor of Mercer County Conservatives
Tuesday, June 15, 2010
For nearly two years I’ve been THE author for Mercer County Conservatives. For those of you that read my writings on a regular basis, you realize that I’m a frustrated conservative that is aggravated by corrupt political leaders in our northwest corner of Pennsylvania. The Mercer County GOP is lead by career politicians who are only concerned with their pensions, perks, and unlimited shopping sprees to Sam’s Club (with campaign donations none-the-less). They protect their positions of power in the way that a mama bear protects her cub . . . but they don’t care much about the big picture (i.e., good government).
If you spend a little time observing politics in our fine county, you find that the greed and corruption is not one-sided. The leaders of the Mercer County GOP and the Mercer County Democrats are so closely tied that they are indistinguishable from one another. How can such a relationship ever achieve conservative representation for our area? Good question.
This year, political pundits have been focused on our NW corner of PA. The high-profile race for a Republican nominee in the 3rd Congressional District (who will eventually run against Congresswoman Kathy Dahlkemper in November) has brought a much-needed spotlight to our area. We were blessed with six interesting candidates in the race, and conservatives were energized by the prospect of having a candidate that they could really get behind. Unfortunately, in the end, the campaign became more about money and mud slinging than conservative issues. The best and most qualified candidates were left in the shadows while the two candidates with the most money battled it out in nasty TV commercials and glossy mailers.
Like many of my fellow conservatives in the area, I was left disappointed on election night when none of my favorite horses in the race ended up in the winner’s circle. While I’m still determined to see Kathy Dahlkemper unseated in November, some of my conservative friends have walked away angry and kicking the dirt. As observers, we all suffer from various levels of disappointment, but what about the candidates who dedicated themselves to the fight for good government?
It is my pleasure to present to you today an article from the newest contributor to Mercer County Conservatives, Dr. Martha Moore. Dr. Moore is a conservative woman who tossed her hat into the ring for the 3rd Congressional race in early 2010. She had a slow start, but she began to pickup speed and got very comfortable in the race by mid-April. Unfortunately, she peaked too late to get sufficient support across the 3rd District. She did, however, win Mercer County handily (a small victory for conservatives in the area). She was not the overall highest vote getter in the District, but she managed to build a following of dedicated fans during her short race (yes, I became an official member of the Dr. Moore fan club by early May). Now that the Primary is behind us, Dr. Moore has agreed to share her thoughts about the race, as well her opinions regarding politics in general. Dr. Moore shares her opinions about how we might get back on the right track toward conservative representation. Enjoy!
If you are interested in becoming a contributor to Mercer County Conservatives, email me (email@example.com) and I'll be glad to set you up to share your thoughts in this forum.
Wednesday, June 2, 2010
The Primary Election is now past . . . seemingly long past. The election results are technically still “unofficial”, but we all know what happened. Allow me to summarize briefly . . .
Dahlkemper vs. Marin
In the race for the highly coveted 3rd Congressional District, the top vote getter on the Democrat ticket was Congresswoman Kathy Dahlkemper. She won her race against a not-so-impressive opponent in Mel Marin. Mrs. Dahlkemper ended up with 73.2% of the vote. Most interesting about this race was that Mel Marin managed to have 26.8% of the voters select his name over the current incumbent, which is symbolic of the number of DEMOCRATS that don’t support “their candidate”.
That means that roughly 27% of Democrats preferred to vote for “anyone but Kathy Dahlkemper”.
Kelly vs. Huber, Grabb, Fisher, Franz, and Moore
On the Republican ticket, six candidates battled it out for the nomination. The “unofficial” winner was Mike Kelly. The stunning statistic in this case is that Kelly managed the win with only 28.2% of the vote. That means that roughly 72% of Republicans preferred to vote for “anyone but Mike Kelly”. In the end, Mike Kelly’s actual vote count was only slightly higher than that of the Democrat candidate, Mel Marin. Hmmmm. Sort of makes you stop and think, doesn't it?
What does all of this mean?
When the final votes were tallied, 27% of Democrat votes and 72% of Republican votes are up for grabs in November. That is a huge number and it makes the race a difficult one to call.
I’ll be the first one to say that Kathy Dahlkemper has an enormous uphill battle to win re-election for her second term, but it is only fair to say that Mike Kelly isn’t going to have an easy job ahead of him either. This race IS NOT a gimme!
Mike Kelly has a very difficult task ahead of him. The very heated race for the Republican nomination left “the right” fractured. There were six really great candidates, and the supporters of each of those six campaigns were extremely loyal to “their guy” (or “gal”). In the end there are six different camps that need to be united. If Mike Kelly fails to be a “uniter”, he will also fail to beat Kathy Dahlkemper in November.
Mike Kelly’s campaign became a very public and personal battle with Paul Huber (the #2 vote getter). The negative attacks that transpired will be difficult for Huber supporters to shake off. They will NOT be inspired to get out to vote for Mike Kelly in the General Election without a HUGE effort on Mike Kelly’s part.
Grabb, Fisher, Franz, and Moore supporters were also left feeling empty in the end. Each of these four candidates managed to inspire their conservative supporters in their own ways, and those conservatives will find it difficult to get behind Kelly whole-heartedly. Again, without a very serious effort from Mike Kelly to court conservatives, those conservatives might decide to stick with “the enemy that they know” in Kathy Dahlkemper. This is a very dangerous possibility, and if Kelly isn’t considering it he deserves to lose in November.
Mike Kelly needs to motivate disenfranchised conservatives to support him, and he must also entice disgruntled Democrats to choose him over Kathy Dahlkemper. I realize that it is still early, but so far I’ve seen nothing of Mike Kelly . . . I mean nothing . . . like he disappeared off the face of the Earth!
Mike Kelly needs to act quickly or he risks losing the interest of concerned citizens. If things continue on their current path, Kathy Dahlkemper will be our Congresswoman again in November.
As always, just my opinion.
Tuesday, May 25, 2010
Written by Roberta Biros
First, I must apologize. I have been out of commission for TOOOOO long. It has taken me far too much time to sit down and write this post, but I do have a good excuse . . . I’ve been sick. As many of you know I caught a bad cold a few weeks ago and I lost my voice (my husband hasn’t complained). I then worked the polls in the rain on Election Day and I made things worse. I’ve been sick in bed and I’m only just now getting back on my feet. I’ve been struggling to catch up.
I’ve got a great deal of material to cover so I might as well get started. Without further adieu . . .
Primary Election: 3rd Congressional District Democrat Ticket
Congresswoman Dahlkemper is up for re-election, and it has been my guess that she will have a real job of it this year. Mrs. Dahlkemper was up against Mel Marin of Erie for the Democrat nomination in the Primary. Mr. Marin has a bit of a questionable background (read more HERE) and he was running with a war chest of less than $2000. Some would say that he didn’t have a chance. Surprisingly enough, however, Mr. Marin received roughly 27% of the Democrat vote in the 3rd Congressional District (30% in Erie).
Why is this information important? Well, it illustrates the number of Democrats that were unable to “hold their nose and vote for Kathy Dahlkemper”. 27% of her constituents went to the poll to vote and refused to vote for her. This could be bad news for Mrs. Dahlkemper in November, but time will tell.
Primary Election: 3rd Congressional District Republican Ticket
As many of you know, I’ve followed the 3rd Congressional Republican race in great detail over the past few months. I knew all of the candidates personally and I was anxious (and nervous) to see the final results. In the end, the grassroots candidates were unable to compete with the big money in the race. Paul Huber and Mike Kelly fought out the race with their bank accounts, and a winner was selected. The top vote getter in the race was Mike Kelly of Butler County.
It had been suggested by many that Mr. Kelly was in the pocket of Republican Party insiders, and that was illustrated on Tuesday night. Mr. Kelly was the top vote getter in the final tally of the District in the field of six great candidates. Mr. Kelly will now face a bigger challenge as he tries to find a way to compete with Congresswoman Dahlkemper in November. Once again, time will tell. We’ll be following this race closely.
Six great candidates, but only one winner.
I’ve never been quite so connected to one race with so many great candidates. I can honestly say that any one of the six Republican candidates that ran in the 3rd Congressional District would have been well deserving of the party nomination. Mr. Kelly was the final choice, but I’d like to congratulate Paul Huber, Steve Fisher, Ed Franz, Clayton Grabb, and (last but not least) Dr. Martha Moore for running amazing races. I was proud to have gotten an opportunity to get to know each and every one of them. I suspect that we will see many of these names again in the not so distant future.
It was a tough election, and I hated to see any of the six candidates “not win” (notice that I did not use the term ‘lose’ as there were no losers in this group). I have to admit that the personal highlight of the evening was one very important statistic. Dr. Martha Moore managed to win her home county of Mercer. Mercer Countians came out in a big way for their hometown Doc and gave her their votes by the bushel full. Dr. Moore took over 2600 votes in Mercer County with her next nearest competition over 1000 votes away. Mercer County came out to support their great Doctor and it was well deserved. After having the opportunity to get to know Dr. Moore, I became a real fan.
I have a great respect for ANYONE that is willing to run for public office, but I especially respect women that are willing to do so. Dr. Moore should serve as a role model to other conservative women out there that are saying “Enough is Enough”. She deserves a special applause all her own. Thank you Dr. Moore.
Moving on Toward the General Election
For those of you that follow Mercer County politics, you already realize that some extra excitement has been going on over the past week or so. I wrote about the extracurricular activity last week HERE and HERE. In a nutshell, here is a “blow by blow” and basic timeline of events.
- I announced in April that I’d be running as an Independent for State Senate against Bob Robbins.
- As a 20-year Republican incumbent, Bob Robbins decided that he may very well lose the General Election to an Independent (that’s me), so he began a VERY AGGRESSIVE campaign to get the Democratic nomination as a write in. This decision was made with County Democrats (read “Bob Lark and Associates”) and Mr. Robbins decided to spend TENS OF THOUSANDS of dollars on a full-color postcard / robo-call / yard sign campaign.
- When ‘real’ Democrats realized what Bob Robbins was up to they came up with their own write-in campaign in an effort to beat Bob Robbins on Election Day. Art Allen, a Mercer County Democrat, started his own write-in campaign on the Democrat ticket.
- When the word got out that a Dem had bravely stepped up to run, Kathy Frederick (a Greenville Democrat) decided to start her own write-in campaign in order to get onto the Democrat ballot against Republican Representative Michele Brooks.
- In a panic (and in true Robbins fashion), Michele Brooks had to open up her wallet to start her own write-in campaign against Frederick (also including robo calls) for the DEMOCRAT nomination. Ms. Brooks was also forced to get out and work the polls on Election Day (which was a refreshing sight). Michele Brooks actively running as a Democrat . . . “who would have thunk it”.
In summary, Bob Robbins and Michele Brooks decided that they both wanted to be Republicans AND Democrats this year. Demonstrating ALL THAT IS WRONG IN POLITICS, the dynamic duo has illustrated to the 17th and 50th Districts that they ARE just as bad as everyone has been saying. They have demonstrated that they are, in fact, self-serving politicians that are ONLY concerned with getting re-elected.
The votes are not yet counted and the results of the write-in wars are not yet known, but the funniest part of the story is just now beginning to hit the papers. That portion of the story is the part that includes Mercer County Democrat Chairman Bob Lark.
Last year some thought that my public “dust up” with Bob Lark was a fantasy story. It seemed like “make believe” in a fantasy world of Democrats run amuck. They couldn’t believe that the things that I had been claiming could possibly be true. No one man could be so deranged as to do the things that he does. However, this year Bob Lark has illustrated to ALL of Mercer County exactly what I’ve been claiming. He is a representative of the “Mercer County Incumbent Party” I is more concerned with elevating members of the ‘inner circle’ than the promotion of good government.
Two Democrats (Art Allen and Kathy Frederick) stepped up in an attempt to organize a last-minute write-in campaign against career politicians (Robbins of 20 years and Brooks of the first 4 of 20 years). Rather than embrace the brave souls that were willing to step up to run for office, Bob Lark . . . get this . . . I’m not kidding . . . came out and CRITICIZED THEM BOTH.
Why? What reason could he have for criticizing two willing participants in a political challenge? He was angry that they didn’t go through the standard process of getting petitions signed and running in the Primary. What? Are you kidding me? He is joking, right? For those of you that don’t realize it, THAT IS EXACTLY WHAT I DID LAST YEAR and Bob Lark didn’t like that EITHER.
So why is Mr. Lark so upset? I suggest that Mr. Lark is angry for two reasons. He admits that he was aware of Bob Robbins plan to run as a Democrat, and I think that Mr. Lark WANTED Mr. Robbins to win the nomination. He simply didn’t like that I called him out for being a willing participant (and active recruiter). The second reason that Mr. Lark is angry is that Michele Brooks WAS NOT part of that plan of his. He had made a deal with Bob Robbins (and Company) but he had made no such deal with Michele Brooks. After the write-in battle is over Mr. Lark may find himself having to support a Robbins/Brooks ticket and that simply wasn’t part of his original agreement. Unfortunately, Mr. Lark got more than he bargained for and he isn’t happy about it.
If you sit back and you look at the statements that have been made by both Robbins and Lark you have to just scratch your head. You have to stop and wonder, “what is going on here?”. Common-sense thinkers like me are stopping and saying “something doesn’t smell right”. I would suggest that your nose is not playing tricks on you. There is something seriously wrong here and we should all be wondering ‘why’.
In Closing . . .
It is important that I clear the air regarding Mr. Lark. Last year my race for County Treasurer became a game for Mr. Lark and I refuse to be caught up in it again this year. The 2010 Election for State Senate in the 50th District needs to be a focused race between me (an energetic and dedicated independent candidate with a platform for good government) and Bob Robbins (a 20-year incumbent that is running as a Republican AND Democrat who would sell his soul to the Devil if he thought that it would win him re-election).
I look forward to moving towards November with a focus on the issues and policies . . . and NOT politics.
Let the games begin!
Saturday, May 15, 2010
I received a gift in the mail today. As a member of the National Rifle Association (NRA), I received a postcard labeled “Election Alert” (an image is included . . . click to enlarge). This urgent message from the NRA (bright orange to illustrate the “urgency”) stated that Senator Bob Robbins “needs your vote”. It goes on to state “If you are a registered Democrat, please remember to write-in BOB ROBBINS on your ballot.” It further urged again “Be sure to spread the word to your family, friends, and fellow gun owners to write-in BOB ROBBINS on Tuesday, May 18!”
What does this all mean? This means that Senator Bob Robbins, a 20-year incumbent of the Pennsylvania State Senate and a REPUBLICAN is begging Democrats to write him because he needs their nomination in November in order to beat an INDEPENDENT that is running against him. He realizes that he doesn’t have enough support from his own party to beat an unaffiliated challenger and he is begging for help.
The obvious panic that my candidacy has brought upon the Senator and his closest friends is a clear indicator that Bob Robbins knows exactly how much trouble he is in this year. He and his friends are shaken, and their very public reactions have energized my campaign and my supporters. At first my candidacy was just an interesting news story, but it is quickly becoming a very valid threat to a not-so-popular incumbent and career politician.
I’d like to thank Senator Robbins and the National Rifle Association for making my day by reminding me and my supporters that we ARE on the right track.
BLOG POST ADDENDUM
I received some interesting news from my sources, and the post card campaign that I received in the mail is NOT the ONLY effort that Senator Robbins has on the table for garnering Democrat support. Senator Robbins explained at a GOP Committee Meeting last night that he has been in touch with none other than the Mercer County Democrats, Crawford County Democrats, and Lawrence County Democrats in an effort to become one big happy family in his attempt for re-election.
Now I ask you, when do the leaders of the Democrat parties in a Republican Senator’s district go to him to strike a deal? When is another party so desperate as to go to the incumbent of the OPPOSITE party in an effort to get him to come to THEIR side? When has an incumbent of 20 years NEEDED to make deals with those same party leaders in order to hold his seat in office?
Did you all realize that the candidacy of ONE (1) unaffiliated Independent could be such a threat to one man and TWO (2) parties?
This move proves a point that I have been pressing for quite some time. Greedy incumbents, self-serving politicians, and the corrupt parties that control County politics have ONLY ONE (1) GOAL, and that is the support and protection of the “Incumbent Party”. Politics as usual is at work, and lost are the issues of good government, public service, civic duty, and the best interests of the people. These ideals have been replaced with political insiders attempting to control politics, government, and the American way.
I feel sorry for Senator Robbins, Bob Lark, the Mercer County GOP committee and leadership, the Mercer County Democrat committee and leadership, the Crawford County Democrat committee and leadership, and the Lawrence County Democrat committee and leadership for their inability to understand that people are sick and tired of politics as usual and they want a voice in their representation.
Ordinary people don’t want to be bullied by politicians . . . “We the People” don’t want to be bullied anymore!
UPDATE: Senator Bob Robbins continues to shoot himself in the foot
In Bob Robbins’ attempt to win the Democrat nomination as a write-in candidate, he has managed to further alienate voters. In another mailer that was sent out by the Robbins’ campaign, Robbins is pictured with what appears to be an emergency vehicle and an emergency worker. In doing so, Robbins implies that he has the backing and endorsement of firefighters and emergency workers in his district and across Pennsylvania. It seems that Robbins did this without an actual endorsement, however. On the same advertisement it is stated that Robbins is working against a residential property sprinkler mandate. Bob Robbins failed to realize that many emergency workers are FOR that very mandate and his advertisement is misleading (at best) and fraudulent (at worst).
This scan was sent to me by individuals that are angry with Robbins’ misuse of the image, which just goes to show that Robbins has not achieved his goals with this costly mailer.
I’d like to further point out that Robbins and his campaign had to dig deep into the archives to find a photo of him with an emergency worker. A close review of the photo shows that the inspection sticker on the supposed emergency response vehicle is dated 2007. He couldn’t find a recent “photo opportunity” to demonstrate his ties to that particular group.
It is another example of Bob Robbins attempting to pull the wool over the eyes of voters, and it is doing nothing more than demonstrating his panic and fear of losing his re-election bid. Has Bob Robbins managed to shoot himself in BOTH feet?
UPDATE #2: Hold on to your hats . . . ANOTHER write-in candidate is in the works!
I was alerted this afternoon that Bob Robbins is NOT the only individual that is seeking the write-in nomination on the Democrat ticket for Pennsylvania's 50th Senatorial District. According to the email release below, Art Allen (Robbins opponent in 2006) wants in the race too! Suddenly Democrats are interested in the 50th District? Do you think anyone smells blood?
Dear Fellow Democrat,
About a year ago, I made a very difficult decision. There appeared to be several potential candidates for the 50th State Senate seat, and we all hoped that perhaps someone would be able to build a strong coalition to challenge the long time incumbent, Bob Robbins. So it was with this in mind that I decided to step aside in the primary election.
Now, in 2010, we face an election where a career politician faces no challenger. I personally believe that to be unacceptable.
As many of you know, we were able to mount a very real challenge to this seat in 2006. When all was said and done, the final tally was 41,302 to 35,854.
If you live in the district (all of Mercer and Crawford Counties, as well as parts of Lawrence and Butler Counties) please consider writing me in on the democratic ballot for Senator in the General Assembly on May 18th. With your help, we can again mount a strong challenge to tired politics as usual here in the 50th State Senate
District. Please ask your friends to do the same.
Sincerely and With Deep Thanks,
UPDATE #3: Robbins goes as far as to order Democrat yard signs!
You wouldn't believe it unless you saw it with your own eyes, right? Well, here it is. A Mercer County Conservatives exclusive . . . a photo of the yard signs that Bob Robbins had printed in order to work his way into the heart (and ballot) of Democrats!
Loyal Republicans who have been donating their hard-earned cash to Bob Robbins and his campaign for YEARS can have comfort knowing that he is using those funds to win over Democrats. Priceless.
Wednesday, May 12, 2010
The internet is a wonderful thing. It has provided us with an endless database of digital information including articles, photos, and videos that are accessible with great ease. I found a presentation on YouTube the other day and it is fascinating. The piece was produced by Titan Radio News in December of 2008 as a tool to highlight the long and wonderful career of State Senator Bob Robbins. In the interview, you get an opportunity to find out exactly how Senator Robbins found his way into the State Government. I invite you to listen to the interview (or click below) and hear (in Senator Robbin’s own voice) as he admits his “accidental fall into” government after the political re-districting of the area.
Senator Robbins says “you’d rather be lucky than good”
To quote Senator Robbins:
“By the time they got done with drawing the new districts I was setting in the middle of a brand new district that didn’t have a Representative. So, within 6 months I got to run again, basically for a house seat. As it worked out as I tell a lot of people . . . ‘sometimes you’d rather be lucky than good . . . other times is that you’ve got to be in the right place at the right time’.”
Never does Senator Robbins say that he deserved the seat in the House of Representatives because of his dedication to the needs of the people, and he never stated that he was selected because he was the best candidate for the job. Instead, Senator Robbins admits that he was “lucky” and he was “in the right place at the right time”. If it weren’t so sad, it would almost be funny.
The Back Door Politics Continue
The most bothersome part of his statement is that it defines politics of the past in our area. If the “sliding through the back door” approach to public office seems familiar, you know your stuff. In 2006 a similar back door approach allowed Representative Michele Brooks to fall into her spot in the same district (the 17th) when she was selected to replace former State Representative Rod Wilt as the Republican nominee. Again, it was another example of “it was better to be lucky than good”, and Ms. Brooks seemed to be “in the right place at the right time”. It makes you wonder if the trend is as accidental as it appears.
Knowing what we know about “business as usual in area politics” and realizing how the good ol’ boys (and girls) prefer to control “who gets lucky”, it is interesting to think through the thought process of political strategy in our area. Let us use this year as an example as we examine a possibility . . .
Is 2010 another Back Door Deal year?
If the Mercer GOP and their political friends were to use the “better to be lucky than good” strategy again, what sort of conservations would they be having in 2010.
As many of you know, at the beginning of 2010 it looked as though State Senator Robbins and State Representative Brooks would be running unopposed through the General Election in November. Unfortunately for the Senator, an Independent candidate* has stepped up to challenge Senator Robbins and the fate of Representative Brooks is still unknown. The Senator was probably hoping to rebound from his close race of 2006 (where he LOST his home county of Mercer by the way), and was planning on going out on a high note. At the point that he realized that he will now have an opponent, and that opponent will most probably expose all of the ugly truths about the Senator and his past, has the Senator started to consider ways to avoid an ugly loss? Could he be looking for ways to slide out on a “high”? Is it possible that a hand-off is in the works for 2010? Could Senator Robbins be planning to step down (before the dirt from his past begins to resurface) and allow Representative Brooks to step up and access the Senate seat through another backdoor deal?
This past weekend, Representative Brooks was spotted promoting herself at a local TEA Party [read the story HERE] including the distribution of yard signs (of all things), but Senator Robbins was no where to be seen? Who exactly is Representative Brooks running against that she feels a need to distribute yard signs? Why was it so necessary for her to bully her way onto the stage at Saturday’s event? Who is her opponent this year? Is it possible that her opponent is going to be an Independent* that is running for State Senate? Hmmmmm. Wouldn’t that be interesting?
Is it possible that Senator Robbins knows that the political climate in 2010 will make it extremely difficult (if not impossible) for him to win re-election in November. Is he fearful of going down in flames . . . and thus tarnishing his long career forever? Would he prefer to leave on a high note and pass the challenge onto his young enough and smart enough protégé? Is Representative Brooks desperate enough to take on the challenge? Is she willing to take yet another backroom deal in an effort to slide into higher office?
* - For those of you that are not aware of the details, the “Independent Candidate” is me, Roberta Biros, political analyst and editor of Mercer County Conservatives.
Brooks vs. Biros?
I’d love to be a fly on the wall for the conversations that have already transpired in the past several weeks. Time will tell, and I can’t wait to see the results. While “the Independent candidate for State Senate” (Roberta Biros) had no intention of taking on Representative Brooks head on, I know that the same “Independent candidate” has no intention of backing off from the challenge if Ms. Brooks decides to offer it.
If Representative Brooks takes “the deal”, she will again demonstrate that she is not part of the solution . . . but is very clearly part of the problem in area politics. I look forward to accepting that challenge any day of the week.
It would be the perfect opportunity to prove Robbins and Brooks wrong and to demonstrate that some of us believe that “It is better to be good than to be lucky!”.
As always, just my opinion (but if it happens, realize that you heard it here first).
Sunday, May 9, 2010
Dear Mercer Countians for Sam Rohrer,
Sam Rohrer Republican Candidate for Governor to be in Mercer on May 14
EVENT: Breakfast with Sam Rohrer
WHEN: Friday, May 14th 8am-10am
(Doors will open at 7:30AM and Sam will arrive at 8AM)
WHERE: BRANDY SPRINGS PARK COMMUNITY CENTER, 300 Park St,
MERCER (get a map HERE)
WHAT: Hot breakfast will be served. Stop by before work and meet and hear Sam Rohrer.
This event announcement was submitted by the Candidate or by a Candidate representative. The event announcement is being published here as a community service in an effort to give concerned citizens an opportunity to meet the candidates. Candidates and committees are invited to submit announcements to this blog by email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Wednesday, May 5, 2010
Butler Tea Party a Success . . . Sour Grapes for Some (and---News Flash--Paul Huber spotted wearing cowboy boots)
What a weekend! It was an example of political wrangling at its best (and worst). In the end there were winners and there were losers, and I’m here to report what I saw first hand.
NOTE: I recently had a friend say that they appreciate my style of writing because I manage to cut through all the garbage and get to the basics. That is what I’ve attempted to do in this case. There will be those that think I’ve cut away too much, but I’ve only cut out those things that muddied the waters. If you don’t like what is left, I apologize . . . but . . . as always, it’s just my opinion.
A Tea Party was organized in Butler PA. The first sign of the event to “regular people” like you and I were signs that popped up in the Butler area advertising the date, time, and location. It was pointed out to me early on, however, that the simple street address that was included on those signs was actually the address for Kelly Chevrolet and Cadillac on Pittsburgh Road in Butler. It seemed fishy . . . it appeared to be a set up . . . it came across as an event ORGANIZED AND FUNDED by Mike Kelly in an effort to hijack the Tea Party movement.
On Friday evening (late) an email message was sent out by the people at the Clayton Grabb campaign. The message stated that “we the undersigned” have decided to boycott the event and hold our own event on the same day and at the same time as a form of protest against the original event (I paraphrased there, but the actual release can be read HERE).
On Saturday, a message was sent out in response by candidate Steve Fisher. Mr. Fisher made it very clear that he never approved the first letter and he did not approve of the boycott. He had every intention of attending both events, but his first priority was to the Tea Party as he had already given his word and commitment to them (again, I paraphrase, but you can read his release HERE).
I published everything. I then promised that I would attend both events in an effort to see for myself EXACTLY what was going on. I did what I said I would do, and now I’m here to summarize everything for all of you.
My husband and I made the hour long trip to Butler on Sunday morning. We arrived at the primary event location (Mike Kelly’s car dealership) at about 11am. We made a brief visit across the street for coffee, donuts, news papers, and a rest room brake before making our way to the Mike Kelly parking lot. I approached a group of event participants (who were all wearing “Freedom Patriots” t-shirts). I openly explained who I was and asked if they would be willing to talk to me about the event and the problems that had surfaced during the past few days. They were happy to do so, and I’ll report my findings below.
At about 1PM, my husband and I took a drive to the secondary event at Alameda Park. There were signs leading into the pavilion area. At that time only Clayton Grabb was on hand. I left my husband with a pad, pencil, and camera so that he could cover the start of the second event. I returned to the primary event location (the Kelly lot) with a camera-equipped Blackberry, a pen, and paper. The goal was to cover both events simultaneously, but I would leave the Tea Party (primary event) AS SOON as the presentations were completed. I would then head over to the second location to take part in that event also.
A plan was in place for full coverage of both events. My husband and I went in our separate directions with clear instructions.
An Overview of the Butler Tea Party event at Mike Kelly’s car dealership (and some background information)
This event was a real Tea Party. The organizers planned a great mix of speakers, presenters, and political analysts and politicians. They had booths representing various groups and charitable organizations, and they were focused on offering an informative program. The organizers admitted that this was their FIRST Tea Party, but they were excited to get involved in the process.
When the organizers first made their decision to have a Tea Party, they attempted to rent a park location. At first they were told that the fee would be $250 for the park rental. They explained that after the park found out that the event would be a Tea Party, the price changed to $1000 per hour for a total of $3000 plus insurance. They couldn’t afford a price anywhere close to $3000, and felt that they could not get a large enough venue to handle a crowd that could reach 2000. Mike Kelly stepped in and offered the use of his lot at no charge. The Freedom Patriots group jumped at the offer. Kelly provided a free (and very spacious) venue and he offered the use of his electrical service. The Freedom Patriots were left to organize the event, invite speakers and vendors, and they were also left with other responsibilities like acquiring portable rest rooms. A deal had been struck.
I estimate that between 250 and 400 people were in attendance, which was pretty good considering the day long threat of rain. It was absolutely a REAL TEA PARTY that was attended by REAL TEA PARTIERS. It was not an advertisement for Mike Kelly and it was NOT focused on the race for the 3rd Congressional District. It was a gathering of concerned citizens discussing issues of history and politics. It was proud patriots taking advantage of their freedom to assemble. It was supported by a handful of candidates that showed integrity by supporting the Tea Party movement. In exchanged they were each given five minutes to speak at the end of the event . . . in the wind and rain.
BELOW: A tent was provided for the speakers while they waited for an opportunity
to address the crowd. The three congressional candidates that attended
(Steve Fisher, Mike Kelly, and Martha Moore) sat together.
Congratulations to the Freedom Patriots for their success in their very first Tea Party! It was a difficult task, but you did a great job in pulling it all together. I give them credit for providing the hard work, time, and effort, and I congratulate them for keeping their heads held high even after attacks from naysayers and attempts to derail their event.
An Overview of the candidates that spoke at the Tea Party
The list of speakers (in presentation order) was as follows:
Darryl Metcalfe, candidate for Lt. Governor
Steve Fisher, candidate for 3rd Congressional District
Martha Moore, candidate for 3rd Congressional District
Mary Shaff, representative for the campaign for Jean Craig Pepper for Lt. Governor
Mike Kelly, candidate for 3rd Congressional District
Highlights from the speakers?
Daryl Metcalfe wants to create a “new type of Lt. Governor’s office” in that he wants it to become the “Accountability Office”. A great concept that I really liked.
In a particularly classy move, Steve Fisher thanked Mike Kelly for his involvement in the event and thanked him for the use of the Kelly property for the Tea Party. He then explained that the “Tea Party is not about us (the candidates) . . . it is about YOU (the concerned citizens that attend).” It was a comment that struck a chord with attendees, and it was something that sorely needed to be said.
Martha Moore made a point of explaining to the ladies in the crowd that the day “was a bad hair day” and apologized for her appearance which was a result of rain and wind. It made me laugh as I was experiencing the same “bad hair day” as Dr. Moore (but that is clearly why God invented hats). Dr. Moore continues to make me smile.
Jean Craig Pepper’s representative spoke briefly about Craig Pepper’s campaign and attempted to provide the same humorous flair as Craig Pepper herself. It was a brief but interesting presentation.
Mike Kelly closed the event by reminding everyone that attended that the event was supposed to be about the Tea Party. He stressed . . . “let the record show that on Sunday, May 2nd, 2010, a Tea Party was held in Butler Pennsylvania”. It was a brief speech, and he did not “show boat”. He kept his comments short and sweet because WE ALL were suffering from the wind and rain . . . his brevity was appreciated. It was yet another classy move that I witnessed on this day.
An Overview of the Candidate Forum at Alameda Park (and some background information)
At the conclusion of the closing statements by Mike Kelly (about 4pm), I headed for my car. Due to some limitations in parking spaces, I was blocked in. It took me about 5 twists and turns of my vehicle in an effort to “skootch” out of the parking spot, but I managed to exit the parking lot without doing any damage (whew). I quickly made the ~5 mile trip to the secondary location.
The Candidate Forum (the secondary event) was held in Odd Fellows Gazeob in Alameda Park. I tried to be careful not to “squeal tires” while serpentining the parking lot as the event was already well underway. Upon arrival I quickly parked and headed up into the pavilion. I took a seat beside my husband. I quietly asked him how things were going, and he responded “it’s been very heated”.
ABOVE: A photo of the beginning of the event during the mix and mingle session.
BELOW: Another photo of the mix and mingle session from inside the shelter.
According to my husband, the event began with a mix and mingle session. The presentation portion of the event began at about 3pm. I arrived at about 4:15pm and the “forum” portion of the event was still underway. There appeared to be less than 50 people in the pavilion, although it was apparent there were more attendees earlier (as demonstrated by gaps in the parking spaces in the lot). The format was very casual. The three candidates in attendance (Clayton Grabb, Ed Franz, and Paul Huber) stood at one end of the shelter and answered questions in rotation from attendees that were seated at picnic tables in the center of the shelter. There was no specific format for questions or answers. It was very relaxed and unrestricted. Unfortunately, the lack of structure also lead to lack of self-control from some attendees.
Of the <50 people in attendance, it is our estimation that 90+% were friends, family, and firm supporters of either Grabb, Franz, or Huber. The shelter was not filled with “undecided voters that were trying to learn about the candidates”. Instead it was our impression that the crowd was an assembly of very firm supporters of one of the candidates in attendance. The event, therefore, became a catalyst for unfriendly and (at times) unruly banter between attendees and candidates. It amounted to candidates and their respective camps arguing with one another.
That was the case until shortly after my arrival. A few minutes after I got to the event, Dr. Martha Moore’s car entered the parking lot. Dr. Moore, who also attended the primary event, made the trip to the secondary event. As she pulled into the parking lot the criticisms had already begun. As she approached the pavilion, candidate Ed Franz chose to throw some fuel on the fire by “joking” that they should now conclude the event (before Dr. Moore reached the shelter). Upon entry, Dr. Moore was offered the opportunity to speak and her arrival was met with booos and yelling.
I yelled from the back of the pavilion “come on now . . . give her a chance to speak”, but my words were ignored (as I was sort of considered the enemy at this point too). None of the original three candidates (Grabb, Franz, or Huber) stepped forward to stop the nonsense. They let it go.
The line of questioning to Dr. Moore was regarding her decision to attend the first event. They questioned her about the “fake Tea Party” and the “fake Tea Partiers”. At one point (out of frustration), Dr. Moore said “why don’t you ask Roberta . . . she was there”. I felt so bad for the beating that she was taking. It was unfair, but it was not MY place to step in to help her. The individuals who should have helped her stood silent.
At about 4:45, it was announced that time was almost up. It was suggested that the forum again break down into a mix and mingle session so that those in attendance could have the opportunity to talk with Dr. Moore. Again the crowd erupted and an attendee stood up and yelled “if she wanted to talk to us she could have been here before . . .but instead she went to the other event”. More yelling ensued.
I’ve been to a number of political events in the past two years. I can only compare the behavior in this event to ONE. It was a DEMOCRAT event in March of 2009 where a crowd of angry Democrats attempted to shout down a conservative candidate (who also happened to be a Democrat). I wrote briefly about that experience HERE. However, that event didn’t come any where near the hostility that could be felt in the Odd Fellows Gazebo on Sunday afternoon.
I’m sure there will be people that attended the event at Alameda Park that will complain about these comments and they’ll try to say how wonderful the event was. I suppose that if you are on the side that is “throwing stones”, you have a different perspective. I, on the other hand, have NEVER supported beating up on the little guy. It sickens me to see an innocent individual and candidate (like Dr. Martha Moore) verbally attacked while a group of three men (who are also candidates) stood by with their hands in their pockets and watched.
I challenge ANYONE to refute the fact that one of those men/candidates shouldn’t have stepped forward to say “please treat Dr. Moore with respect as she has taken the time to join us today, and we thank her for being here”. They did not, and I lost respect for each and every one of them at that moment. The truth is, they were all still “angry” with Dr. Moore and saw her as the enemy. Why? . . . Because she dared to attend a TEA PARTY.
The Butler Fiasco was caused by one problem compounding another
There were lots of fingers to be pointed if you want to “blame” someone for the problems that occurred on Sunday. The Freedom Patriots did not fully understand the political toes that were being stepped on, and Mike Kelly didn’t make a point of explaining that the choice to use his car lot might appear biased. Mike Kelly took advantage of the situation, and it was a brilliant move on his part. He was able to show that he was charitable and he managed to get his name tied to a potentially high-profile event. If Clayton Grabb, Paul Huber, or Ed Franz could have held an event for 400+ people in their back yards, they would have also jumped at the opportunity (and don’t EVEN try to tell me otherwise).
It was the responsibility of the Tea Party organizers to refuse Kelly’s offer, but they were not politically savvy enough to realize the mistake that they had made. They didn’t see the event as a “forum for the 3rd Congressional Candidates”. They were concerned with holding a Tea Party and they didn’t understand the complicated political undertones that were involved.
Unfortunately, the other candidates (Huber, Moore, and Franz led by Grabb) began a campaign against the TEA PARTY organizers. Rather than doing their homework and taking the time to discuss the problem with the Freedom Patriots, they took it upon themselves to be the judge and jury. They made a VERY BOLD MOVE and took a stand to boycott the Tea Party. Their biggest mistake, however, was in hastily drafting an “official notice” without first crossing their T’s and dotting their I’s. They authored a “we the undersigned” letter without realizing that that type of document is intended to be drafted as a group. Instead, the letter was drafted by a few without getting the sign off of the other candidates for which they were speaking. That is a HUGE error. PERIOD. They “signed” the names of candidates, but did so without their full and explicit written authorization. It was a bold move, but it was a mistake.
Lastly, intelligent people learn from history. So, I’d like to offer a reference to the Nixon years and Watergate . . . “It’s not the crime, it’s the cover up”.
If you make a mistake, just stand up and say “crap, I made a huge mistake”. Don’t compound the original mistake by explaining . . . blaming other people . . . pointing fingers . . . and throwing more people under the bus. Just say “I made a mistake and I apologize for it”.
Winners and Losers?
In the end, there were winners. The biggest winners were the Freedom Patriots who pulled off an excellent Tea Party and I congratulate them. The other winners were Mike Kelly, Steve Fisher, and Dr. Martha Moore, who managed to demonstrate that the people are more important than the candidates. The Tea Party event was not about any of them, and they were happy to take a back seat to the “real” event.
The losers? You know what I’m going to say, and I won’t apologize for it.
The losers were Clayton Grabb, Ed Franz, and Paul Huber. They made the Tea Party event about politics rather than about people gathering to celebrate freedom. They tried to put their own candidacies above the ideals of the Tea Party movement. Most importantly, they made this about anger and fighting. When given the opportunity to stand up and try to calm the waters (by defending Dr. Moore, for instance) they chose to take a back seat and watch.
This was just one event, and it was simply one more opportunity for concerned citizens to compare the candidates that are competing for the Republican nomination for the 3rd Congressional Seat. There is still time for these individuals to stand up to right the wrongs, and there is still time for others to crash and burn. This one day (Sunday, May 2nd) will not decide the election, but it is just another opportunity to see how these candidates work under stress.
The Highlight? Paul Huber's Boots!
Lastly, I’d like to make reference to my subtitle of this blog post. The header photo is a picture of Paul Huber’s cowboy boots. I’ve always seen Paul dressed like a business man, and I LOVED seeing him dress down a bit for an event. I laughed when I saw it because it was so darn “cool”, and I told him that it would be the headline. There were many witnesses to my promise, and I always keep my promises.
As always, just my opinion.
~Mercer County Conservatives
Friday, April 30, 2010
Wednesday, April 28, 2010
3rd Congressional Candidates Debate the Issues Again: Who will be the one to send Congresswoman Kathy Dahlkemper packing?
Last night I attended another formal debate of the 3rd Congressional District Republican Candidates. The event was sponsored by Allegheny College and was held at Quigley Hall on the Allegheny College Campus. It was another standing-room-only event as it was a rare opportunity for the people of the 3rd Congressional District to determine which candidate can best represent them when we send Kathy Dahlkemper home in November.
All six candidates were in attendance. In order on the stage from left to right were Steve Fisher, Ed Franz, Clayton Grabb, Paul Huber, Mike Kelly, and Martha Moore.
The last formal debate was held a month ago on March 25th in Grove City (read about it HERE). It may have only been 4 weeks ago, but it seems like a lifetime. The last four weeks have been packed with events, get-togethers, meet-n-greets, fundraisers, and tea parties for all six of the Republican candidates . . . and the bloggers that follow them. The grueling schedule is beginning to take its toll on everyone involved, but it hasn’t dampened our determination to push through to November.
At the debate that was held a month ago, we met six candidates that were fresh, unpolished, and unique. Four weeks later, the six candidates are beginning to meld into one and other. The have all had an opportunity to tweak their presentations, and some are actually stealing each others quotes (i.e, I believe it was Ed Franz that stole Martha Moore’s “enough is enough” quote last night and it made me laugh).
I documented the entire evening, but you all know that I’m not one to simply provide a laundry list of the evening’s events. No, I’d prefer to paint you an abstract portrait of the highlights and lowlights of the night.
Anyone that attended last night’s event would agree hands down that the “star” of the evening was Dr. Martha Moore. At the debate in Grove City, Dr. Moore was noticeably nervous and she struggled at times to find the words to properly describe her stand on issues. That was simply not the case last night as Dr. Moore has found a comfortable place in just shooting straight from the hip. “Like what?”, you ask. Allow me to provide a few sound bites:
When discussing why she was running for office, Dr. Moore stated “Because I don’t want to be nauseated every time that I hear the President of the United States speak.”I applaud Martha Moore for offering us “Martha Moore Unplugged” last night. She brought a level of straight talk and humor to an otherwise serious and sometimes lifeless event. I’ve said it before and I’ll take this opportunity to say it again. I really respect Dr. Moore for standing up as a concerned citizen and becoming involved in this race. I still don’t believe that she is necessarily the best choice to become our next Congresswoman, but I appreciate the perspective that she brings to the table. She says the things that many of us are thinking . . . but we’ve never actually said out loud, and because she is a candidate she is able to inject those thoughts directly into the formal debate conversation.
She made a reference to a patient that recently visited her office who has over $90K in outstanding medical bills. She stated “Call Kathy Dahlkemper (and ask her to pay your bill)”.
When referring to the recent health care reform bill she stated “that stupid bill they passed . . . just stupid”.
The most precious references that Dr. Moore made were during her closing statements where she literally brought down the house. For instance . . . “When I go to Washington, I’m going to say NO a lot. They are going to say that I’m from the party of no’, but I’m the party of ‘STOP THIS’”.
Her participation in last night’s event was “priceless”.
Interesting Notes on Each Candidate
I’d like to point out some interesting statements from each of the candidates presented in the order of the seating arrangement on the stage from left to right.
Steve Fisher continues to illustrate that he is the perfect mix of grassroots candidate and qualified representative. He presents himself as a “Statesman” and not a politician. He is polished in all the right places, but he remains human (and appropriately ‘unpolished’) in the way that he connects with the people of this area. He is sincere, honest, and approachable but also projects an unmatched level of confidence and professionalism.
On issues of the budget, Mr. Fisher pointed out that we need to make decisions that are “good for us”. He pointed out that too much attention goes to how our budgetary decisions will affect China and Japan and that we need to concentrate on how those decisions will affect us first.” He suggested that we reestablish an impartial review of the federal government and possible inefficiencies through an investigation similar to the Grace Commission (that was established during the Reagan administration).
In response to issues of our military and his willingness to respond to a strike against the United States, Mr. Fisher first stated that he is concerned “about how thin our military is stretched” and whether they are receiving the support that they need. He also pointed out that we need to “forget political correctness”.
In his closing comments, Mr. Fisher made a great statement worth noting. He said “I am not a politician. I plan on serving a maximum of three terms and coming back to the area to work in the insurance industry . . . if there is an insurance industry to come back to”.
Ed Franz positions himself as the man who can “represent the average taxpayer in Washington DC”. He pointed out that “inside the beltway politicians have concentrated on healthcare legislation and not the health of this nation”.
Mr. Franz made reference to the “800 lb gorilla in the back of the room”. Some may have thought he was referring to one blogger that was seated in the last row of the auditorium, but he was referring to “the national debt”. Mr. Franz wants to be the voice in the debate that represents the average taxpayer.
Regarding budget deficits, Mr. Franz made his stand clear when he stated “We need to get out of deficit spending. We need to get out of financing bills and legislation that we cannot afford.” It was a short statement, but it hit at the heart of the problem.
In a humorus moment of the evening, Mr. Franz was discussing his thoughts on the strength of the military and his stand on responding to a strike on the US. To quote “If we are attacked we should hunt them down.” He then went on to discuss a reference to a movie . . . “Patton”, and he stated “Wasn’t that the way a war should be fought.” The reference sent chuckles across the crowd.
Clayton Grabb continues to prove that he is the anti-politician. His concerns are not for “the Party” but for “the People”. He started by explaining why he decided to run for office. He stated “I believe our constitution is under attack”. He then went on to explain “I got tired of holding my nose to go and vote in the past. My Republican Party has left us down before. We need someone that will go to DC and stand up for the people and tell it like it is.” It is statements like these that explain why Mr. Grabb is not embraced by the Republican Party, but is, instead, embraced by people who have experienced the same frustrations . . . which are many.
He continued to separate him self from politicians by saying “(we need to elect people to) do the people’s work and then go home . . . we need a citizen legislator that does not want to be there.” (emphasizing that once they get there they get too comfortable)
When it comes to budgetary issues, Mr. Grabb offers common sense solutions to that too. He stated “How about we cut all government hiring. The government is the only sector of our economy that is growing right now. . . . we cannot continue to grow our government . . . the more (people) that depend on government the harder it will be for people like us to get in there and stop it.”
Regarding issues of the military, Mr. Grabb stated “We need to pull the politicians out (of the decision making process) and let the military do what it needs to do. We need to do what is necessary to be the biggest baddest dog on the block.”
Paul Huber remains firm on his position as the businessman with the experience needed to represent us in Washington DC. In his opening statement his first words were “I’m a life long social and fiscal conservative”. I mention this because it raised a few eyebrows in the crowd as some people have questioned the fact that Mr. Huber only became a Republican last year.
Mr. Huber did, however, manage to present a very conservative stand on fiscal issues including his statement on budgetary issues as “I’m proposing that we go to 2009 levels of spending and that includes legislative salaries as well. It is a step in the right direction that sends the right message to the financial markets and the American people that we are serious about this.” Mr. Huber’s ideas for tackling economic problems are aggressive and bold and I like that.
Regarding job creation in our area, Mr. Huber offered a great explanation of the problem as “government doesn’t create jobs . . . they create an environment where jobs are destroyed or they can create an environment where free enterprise can create jobs”. Mr. Huber continues to offer the prospective of a business person, and he is quite clear on his vision of how that prospective is desperately needed in Washington DC.
Mike Kelly also offers the business owner angle, and he is quite direct in his approach. Unlike Huber (who is polished and refined), Mike Kelly offers similar ideas but with an extra “edge”. When explaining “why” he was running he simply stated “because none of us ran before.” He further explained that “We were all responsible people sitting back and didn’t have time to get involved . . . We forfeited our future . . . it is time to get people like ‘us’ into office.”
Regarding the issue of term limits, Mr. Kelly made his stand clear when he stated “people are sitting too long in the same spot and they aren’t held accountable.”
In response to a question regarding budget deficits and the President’s plan to freeze discretionary spending, Mr. Kelly boldly stated “I have a problem listening to anything that Obama says and taking it seriously.” Again in referencing the President he said “We’ve got a 3 yr old running the highest powered locomotive on earth.”
Mr. Kelly’s most important point of the evening was his repeated reference to “it’s the spending, stupid”. He continues to press the common-sense idea that spending needs to be addressed before this nation can move forward on anything. I agree.
Mr. Kelly did attempt to address recent comments that he “comes across as angry”. He explained that people might get that impression because “he is angry”. He explained that he is angry about the problems that we are facing in this country and he is serious about fixing them.
As a side note . . . After the debate I did ask Mr. Kelly that the next time he wants to quote me directly I only ask that he give me a public shout out. This is, of course, a reference to the fact that my written statements regarding Mr. Kelly were the catalyst to the conversations about his “anger”. Mike and I laughed about it and I reassured him that “I think he is just a big teddy bear”.
Aside from the comments that I’ve already made regarding Dr. Moore, there were other points that did not go unnoticed. Regarding finding solutions to fiscal issues, she stated “don’t look to the Government to fix problems that the Government created”. It isn’t just a great quote . . . it is the truth.
Regarding budgetary issues and a proposed freeze on discretionary spending, Dr. Moore stated “a miniscule part of the budget is what he is freezing . . . then he passes a bill that will cost 2.4 trillion dollars . . . they said 1.4 trillion but they lied.” She then went on to explain “We are going to have to tackle the big items.” As a possible solution, she suggested that “we need to audit the federal government”, and I completely agree.
One key difference between the candidates?
After almost two months of following these candidates from event to event I was surprised last night when an issue surfaced which drew a very definitive line of distinction between them. That issue was regarding campaign financing and specifically the Supreme Court ruling on “Citizens United v. FEC”.
The issue has multiple facets that generated great conversation. The first is an issue regarding the First Amendment and free speech, and the second issue is that of campaign financing and the idea of “deep pockets buying elections”.
All of the candidates were in agreement on the issue of free speech (no shock there), but there were additional comments made by some that highlighted a serious problem regarding political campaigns in general.
Mike Kelly felt that the ruling helped to “even the playing field”. He explained that “corporations shouldn’t be pouring this much money into elections, but when you look at how the Democrats raise money you need to level the playing field.”
In drastic contrast, Steve Fisher was clearly against the concept of corporations funding elections. He stated “We spend far too much on elections already. I don’t think that corporations should be allowed to spend money to buy votes and buy elections.” He further explained “there is big difference between dollars between many candidates, but to take corporate money and throw it in there is unfair”. As a grassroots candidate, Fisher has experienced first had how deep pockets and large bank accounts can make the election process a particularly uneven playing field.
Ed Franz agreed with the Supreme Court ruling but emphasized that “we need to watch what special interests are financing which candidates . . . the voters need to keep an eye (on the process)”.
Clayton Grabb also agreed with the Supreme Court ruling and supported his comments by saying that “corporations ARE you and I”. However, as another grassroots candidate, he was quick to point out that “Campaigns should not cost what they cost!” [I say “Amen” to that.] He further went on to explain exactly how “big money comes in and they buy the Primary”. In closing he reminded everyone that the “grassroots people are the ones that need to be represented”.
Paul Huber agreed with the Supreme Court ruling, and he seemed to have no problem with the concept of corporations funding elections.
This specific debate drew very clear lines for me. 2010 is an election year that offers very stark contrasts. It is a year that pits “deep pockets” against “grassroots Average Joe’s” (as in the race for the 3rd Congressional District). It is a year that battles “endorsed candidates” against “unendorsed candidates” (read an example HERE). It is a year that will put unaffiliated Independents up against 20-year entrenched incumbents (read an example HERE).
In summary, 2010 is the year of David vs. Goliath.
In the race for the 3rd Congressional District, David is represented by Steve Fisher, Ed Franz, Clayton Grabb, and Martha Moore. Goliath is represented by Paul Huber and Mike Kelly. The Primary on May 18th will settle the debate and the battle once and for all.
As always, just my opinion.
~Mercer County Conservatives
Saturday, April 24 was a busy day for concerned citizens in Mercer County. The day kicked off with the Mercer County TEA Party at the courthouse at 10am (read more about the Mercer County TEA Party HERE) and it ended up with a personal visit from Sam Rohrer, candidate for Governor at 4pm. Sam Rohrer is, himself, a fellow Tea Partier, so the tie in between the two events was a brilliant idea and a great way to carry over the energy from one event to the next. Bravo!
The day may have been busy for us but it was especially action packed for candidate Rohrer. He was scheduled to arrive at Brandy Springs Park outside of downtown Mercer shortly after 4pm, but his arrival was delayed due to his extremely cramped schedule. The event organizers had planned for a festive welcome for Mr. Rohrer and event attendees as is illustrated by the ‘welcoming committee” at Brandy Springs Park (see photo below).
Even though our time with Sam was limited, he made the most of it. After a brief introduction, Sam devoted only a short time to his opening remarks. Instead, he preferred to spend his time answering direct questions from attendees. I appreciated the change of focus as it allowed us to discuss the issues that were important to those of us attending rather than hearing a pre-packaged campaign speech. The focus became the constituents and not the candidate. It was very ‘un-politician’ like.
There was time for about five questions to which Mr. Rohrer provided detailed answers. Question topics were nullification, elimination of property taxes, gun rights and the fire arms database, jobs, and sin taxes. I know that Sam Rohrer is a fiscal conservative legislator and I had heard that he was a strict Constitutionalist, but there is no substitute for ‘hearing it from the horses mouth’ and I was not disappointed.
Sam Rohrer provided answers that were absolutely spot-on. His vision for Pennsylvania was clear and unwavering. He made decisive statements like “I will not sign a tax increase bill in order to balance the budget . . . and I will not borrow”. He believes that “the tax dollars that come to Harrisburg are private property”, which supports the idea that taxpayers should control the government and not politicians and special interests.
This was a rare opportunity for Mercer Countians to have direct interaction with a Gubernatorial candidate. Attendance was less than 100, but those that were chose to attend were genuinely interested and concerned about Pennsylvania’s future. There were a few exceptions of course. Mercer County GOP Committee Chairman, Dave King, was on hand to welcome Mr. Rohrer to Mercer County. Dr. King’s attendance was surprising knowing what the GOP establishment thinks of ‘non-endorsed’ candidates. It should be noted that no other Republican state legislators chose to welcome Mr. Rohrer to Mercer County. Senator Robbins, Representative Brooks and Representative Stevenson did not feel that the event was worth their time. Shame on them . . . but do they ever show up to an event where they would be overshadowed?
I had an interesting conversation with Dr. King while we were waiting for the event to begin, and it is worth mentioning. I made a simple statement to Dr. King that “Sam Rohrer is a good guy”. Dr. King felt it necessary to correct me by stating “he is a good REPUBLICAN”. I responded with “no, he is a good CONSERVATIVE . . . not all Republicans are good Conservatives . . . and not all good Conservatives are Republicans”. We then went on to discuss very briefly the problem that not all “conservatives” are embraced by the Republican Party and Dr. King stressed that the problem seemed like an isolated incident involving only ONE individual . . . me. Well, Dr. King, I seem to meet more and more people like me every day. Perhaps Dr. King should have attended the Tea Party earlier in the day where he could have talked to hundreds of people just like me . . . but he did not.
Unfortunately for you, Dr. King, 2010 is the year that conservatives are going to stand up to the GOP establishment and make a statement. Endorsed candidates are no longer a ‘shoe in’, and many of us are seeing endorsements as the ‘kiss of death’ for a candidate as it ties them to the ‘elephant in the room’ . . . the self-serving GOP establishment. It is time that Dr. King wake up and realize that Tea Partiers, Independents, and disgruntled Republicans have become a force to recon with, and if the GOP doesn’t soon recognize that it will eventually go the way of the Dodo bird . . . perhaps sooner than later.
In closing, I’d like to thank Sam Rohrer for taking the time to stop in and visit good ol’ Mercer County. I’d also like to thank the event organizers for taking the time and effort to make certain the Mercer County is not a forgotten county in this election. Sam Rohrer’s interest in our area helps to put us on the map.