Posts Tagged labor union

Delco Special Could be Scott Wagner Sequel


While all eyes are riveted on the looming state budget deadline in Harrisburg, the political story of the summer is now playing out in Delaware County where a special election for a seat in the Pennsylvania House of Representatives has become the latest flashpoint in the ongoing internal GOP battle between union-leaning southeastern Republicans and the party’s pro worker freedom grassroots.

The drama began to unfold when State Representative Joe Hackett resigned at the end of April.  Despite having been re-elected just months earlier, Hackett decided he wanted to return to his old career in law enforcement.  That set the stage for a special election which will be held on August 4th.  Nominees in legislative special elections are chosen by the respective political parties rather than by voters in a primary.  Thus, a candidate not selected by committee members has no recourse other than to run a write-in campaign. Such write-in campaigns had previously proven to be fruitless, until Senator Scott Wagner scored a historic write-in victory in a special election in York County last year.

The Delaware County committee members participating in the selection of a nominee for Hackett’s 161st district seat chose a candidate who has riled grassroots conservatives across the commonwealth.  They picked as their candidate Paul Mullen who is president of the Delaware County AFL-CIO and business manager of IBEW Local 654.  In doing so, the committee passed over Lisa Esler, a local school board member and co-founder of the Delaware County Tea Party Patriots.

As a labor union boss, Mullen can be expected to oppose most of the pro worker freedom agenda being advanced by the Republican-controlled legislature in Harrisburg.  Pension reform, liquor privatization and paycheck protection are but three important issues that enjoy widespread support among the GOP grassroots and in the Republican caucuses in the legislature.  Progress on all three of these reforms has been blocked by the labor unions.  Worse, Mullen supported Barack Obama, Joe Sestak against U.S. Senator Pat Toomey, and Tom Wolf over Governor Tom Corbett, making his selection by the GOP even more curious.

The Mullen pick lit a power key of fury among conservatives.  Esler has stepped forward and will challenge the union boss in the upcoming special election by running a write-in campaign.  Her efforts should be taken seriously for two reasons: the Wagner win proves it can be done; and the district is almost evenly divided by party registration meaning this is more than just a GOP intramural competition

Senator Wagner’s election has changed the political landscape in a number of ways.  Most notably party domination of special elections is now a thing of the past.  With active and highly effective conservative groups now operating in the state, a write-in candidate such as Esler now has access to funding, consultants and grassroots workers previously unavailable to such challengers.

The Wagner write-in victory in York County, the first time in state history a write-in candidate won a special senate election, proved the playing field has been leveled.  Wagner was well funded, had substantial grassroots support from the local Tea party and benefitted from a voter backlash over the high-handed campaign run by those supporting the party’s nominee.

All of those factors are at play in the Delaware County race.  In what will be a low turn-out election in a small geographic district, Esler will be a force with which to be reckoned.  The outcome will have no impact on party control of the legislature. The GOP has a historically large majority, but it will impact the GOP caucus.  A small group of southeastern Pennsylvania Republican representatives, out of step with a majority of their caucus, have sided with Democrats on labor power issues. Those looking to enhance worker freedom in the state will be anxious to prevent another member from being added to their number.

And that is how what should have been a routine, sleepy special election in the dead of summer could turn out to be the political battle of the year.

(Lowman S. Henry is Chairman & CEO of the Lincoln Institute and host of the weekly Lincoln Radio Journal.  His e-mail address is lhenry@lincolninstitute.org.)

Permission to reprint is granted provided author and affiliation are cited.

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Divided They Stand


For the past four years Republicans have had a partisan, if not governing majority in all parts of state government.  In a couple of weeks a new Democrat governor will take office ushering in an era of divided government.  Given that the GOP was stymied while holding the governor’s office, what are the odds anything of significance will be accomplished over the next four years with Tom Wolf in that position?

Here are three possible scenarios ordered by their increased likelihood of actually happening:

Scenario 1:  Newly installed Governor Tom Wolf abandons the far Left-wing positions he adopted last spring to win the Democratic gubernatorial primary and adopts a pro-growth strategy.  For starters, he shelves the labor union’s approach to the state’s public pension crisis and admits there actually is a problem. He works with the Republican majorities in the legislature to adopt comprehensive pension reform, and then moves incrementally to loosen the state’s monopoly on the wholesale and retail distribution of wine and spirits thus generating the revenue needed to increase funding to education and other Democratic spending priorities.

Scenario 2:  With enhanced majorities in both the state House and the state Senate, buttressed by more conservative leadership in both chambers, Republicans press for and pass pension reform, liquor privatization, paycheck protection and other policy priorities held hostage by a minority of southeastern GOP legislators in the last session of the General Assembly.  Despite the fact Governor Tom Wolf vetoes all of these measures Republicans draw a bright line in the sand demonstrating to voters the difference between their pro-growth agenda and the Democrats’ big government agenda.

Scenario 3:  Governor Tom Wolf emboldened by the far Left ideologues on his staff and united Democratic caucuses in both chambers pushes forward a union-dominated agenda and crusades for higher taxes.  A majority of Republicans in both chambers stand firm, but amid media criticism labeling the GOP as “obstructionist,” enough Republican legislators in both chambers break ranks and give Wolf the votes he needs to enact his agenda.

The latter scenario is what played out during the Rendell Administration when Democrats stood united and labor unions were able to peel off just enough Republican votes to achieve their goals.  During those years, House Republicans were the bulwark against run-away spending, but weak GOP leadership in the state Senate coupled with the power of southeastern Republicans beholden to the unions shattered Republican resistance.

But, the playing field has changed a bit since Rendell retreated to the City of Brotherly Love.  For starters, although voters rejected Tom Corbett’s bid for a second term, they embraced the Republican agenda by sending enhanced GOP majorities to both chambers.  For a variety of reasons GOP legislative candidates tilted further to the Right in 2014, and that proved to be electorally successful.

More importantly, the composition of the state Senate’s Republican caucus has changed dramatically.  The union-backed Republican Majority Leader Domenic Pileggi was ousted by the more conservative Senator Jake Corman.  Republicans trounced Democrats in traditionally-Democratic districts picking up two seats in southwestern Pennsylvania.  And, exposing as fraudulent the excuse that southeastern Republicans have to toe the union line to get elected/re-elected, newly minted state Senator Tom McGarrigle defeated an actual labor union leader to win an open seat in Delaware County.

Tom Wolf ran a campaign that was big on ideas and lacking in specifics.  That leaves him a bit of wiggle room, but at least at the onset his administration is likely to push the broad agenda outlined during his campaign.  The tenor of the next four years will become clear in the GOP response to his policy initiatives.  The big question to be answered is will this be a replay of the Rendell years where each battle ends with Republican capitulation, or have the voters affected enough change for the GOP to stand firm behind the policies on which they campaigned?

My only prediction is we won’t have to wait long to learn the answer.

(Lowman S. Henry is Chairman & CEO of the Lincoln Institute and host of the weekly Lincoln Radio Journal.  His e-mail address is lhenry@lincolninstitute.org.)

Permission to reprint is granted provided author and affiliation are cited.

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This Week on Lincoln Radio Journal: State Sen. Richard Alloway talks Paycheck Protection


Radio Program Schedule for the week of February 1, 2014 – February 7, 2014

This week on American Radio Journal:

  • Lowman Henry talks with Wayne Crews of the Competitive Enterprise Institute about the State of the Union Address and executive orders
  • Andy Roth has the Real Story on the cost to taxpayers of the new Farm Bill
  • Benjamin Yount and Eric Boehm have a Watchdog Radio Report on the impact of raising the minimum wage
  • Col. Frank Ryan, USMC (Ret.) has an American Radio Journal commentary on America’s political aristocracy

This week on Lincoln Radio Journal:

  • Eric Boehm and Maura Pennington have news headlines from www.paindependent.com
  • David Taylor hosts a Capitol Watch roundtable discussion on Paycheck Protection with Matthew Brouillette of the Commonwealth Foundation and State Senator Richard Alloway (R-Franklin/Adams)
  • Lowman Henry has a Town Hall Commentary on the State of the Kingdom address

Visit the program web sites for more information about air times. There, you can also stream live or listen to past programs!

http://www.lincolnradiojournal.com

http://www.americanradiojournal.com

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Commissioner Christian Leinbach on Flood Insurance Issues


Radio Program Schedule for the week of January 25, 2014 – January 31, 2014

This week on American Radio Journal:

  • Lowman Henry gets an update on the IRS scandals from Charles C. Johnson author of The Truth About the IRS Scandals
  • Andy Roth of the Club for Growth has the Real Story on the legacy of retiring U.S. Senator Tom Coburn
  • Eric Boehm and Katie Watson have a Watchdog Radio Report on the indictment of former Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell
  • Dr. Paul Kengor from the Center for Vision & Values at Grove City College has an American Radio Journal commentary on President Obama skipping church services over the Christmas holiday

This week on Lincoln Radio Journal:

  • Eric Boehm and Benjamin Yount have news headlines from www.paindependent.com
  • Lowman Henry has a Newsmaker interview with Berks County Commissioner Christian Leinbach about new FEMA flood plain maps and the rising cost of flood insurance
  • Charles C. Johnson talks about his book The Truth About the IRS Scandals
  • Jennifer Stefano has a Stefano Speaks! commentary on labor unions waging a war against women

Visit the program web sites for more information about air times. There, you can also stream live or listen to past programs!

http://www.lincolnradiojournal.com

http://www.americanradiojournal.com

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This Week on Lincoln Radio Journal: Congressman Joe Pitts


Radio Program Schedule for the week of January 18, 2014 – January 24, 2014

This week on American Radio Journal:

  • Lowman Henry has Part II of his interview with John Gizzi of Newsmax profiling 2014 governor races
  • Andy Roth of the Club for Growth has the Real Story behind the blackballing of consultants who work for conservative challenger candidates
  • Benjamin Yount has a Watchdog Radio Report on a union forcing an Illinois woman to pay union dues to care for her own son in her own home
  • Colin Hanna of Let Freedom Ring, USA has an American Radio Journal commentary on second term presidents and their foreign policy legacies

This week on Lincoln Radio Journal:

  • Eric Boehm and Maura Pennington have news headlines from www.paindependent.com
  • David Taylor has a Capitol Watch interview with Congressman Joe Pitts on how national issues affect the Keystone State
  • Lowman Henry has a Town Hall Commentary on the future development of Pennsylvania’s energy resources

Visit the program web sites for more information about air times. There, you can also stream live or listen to past programs!

http://www.lincolnradiojournal.com

http://www.americanradiojournal.com

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This Week on Lincoln Radio Journal: Gene Barr of PA Chamber Talks Minimum Wage


Radio Program Schedule for the week of January 11, 2014 – January 17, 2014

This week on American Radio Journal:

  • Lowman Henry talks with John Gizzi of Newsmax about 2014 gubernatorial races
  • Andy Roth of the Club for Growth has the Real Story on maneuvering behind extending unemployment benefits
  • Eric Boehm and Malia Zimmerman of the Hawaii Reporter take a Watchdog Radio look at what the First Family’s trip to Hawaii cost taxpayers
  • Col. Frank Ryan, USMC (Ret.) has an American Radio Journal commentary on Pope Francis and capitalism

This week on Lincoln Radio Journal:

  • Eric Boehm and Andrew Staub have news headlines from www.paindependent.com
  • Lowman Henry has a Newsmaker interview with Gene Barr, President of the Pennsylvania Chamber of Business & Industry on raising the minimum wage
  • Eric Montarti and Frank Gamrat have an Allegheny Institute Report on the City of Pittsburgh’s distressed municipality status
  • Jennifer Stefano has a Stefano Speaks! commentary on the need for conservatives to continue fighting for constitutional government

Visit the program web sites for more information about air times. There, you can also stream live or listen to past programs!

http://www.lincolnradiojournal.com

http://www.americanradiojournal.com

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This Week on Lincoln Radio Journal: U.S. Senator Pat Toomey


Radio Program Schedule for the week of November 30, 2013 – December 6, 2013

This week on American Radio Journal:

  • Lowman Henry talks with U.S. Senator Patrick J. Toomey (R-PA) about efforts to prevent another budget stalemate
  • Andy Roth of the Club for Growth has the Real Story behind Obamacare sticker shock
  • Eric Boehm has a Watchdog Radio look at state “cottage foods” laws with Katelynn McBride of the Institute for Justice
  • Col. Frank Ryan, USMC (Ret.) has an American Radio Journal commentary on how to lower unemployment

This week on Lincoln Radio Journal:

  • Eric Boehm and Andrew Staub have news headlines from www.paindependent.com
  • Lowman Henry talks with U.S. Senator Pat Toomey about putting Washington’s fiscal house in order
  • Joe Geiger from the First Nonprofit Foundation has Karl Jones from the Northeast Pennsylvania Lions Eye Bank in the Community Benefit Spotlight
  • Anna McCauslin has a Lincoln Radio Journal commentary on reasons to be thankful this holiday season

Visit the program web sites for more information about air times. There, you can also stream live or listen to past programs!

http://www.lincolnradiojournal.com

http://www.americanradiojournal.com

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