Posts Tagged scott wagner

This Week on Lincoln Radio Journal: Sen. Scott Wagner Talks State Spending Cuts


Radio Program Schedule for the week of January 23, 2016 – January 29, 2016

This week on Lincoln Radio Journal:

  • Eric Boehm has news headlines from PAIndependent.com
  • Lowman Henry has a Newsmaker interview with State Senator Scott Wagner (R-York County) about ways to cut state spending
  • Joe Geiger of the First Nonprofit Foundation has Emily Skopov of No Crayon Left Behind in the Community Benefit Spotlight
  • Beth Anne Mumford of Americans for Prosperity-PA has a Lincoln Radio Journal commentary on National School Choice Week

This week on American Radio Journal:

  • Lowman Henry talks with Jim Phillips of the Heritage Foundation about implications of the Iran nuclear accord
  • Doug Sachtleben of the Club for Growth has the Real Story on the Iowa Caucuses
  • Eric Boehm and Ken Ward have a Watchdog Radio Report on sky high property taxes in Texas
  • Colin Hanna of Let Freedom Ring, USA has an American Radio Journal commentary on the latest developments in the Clinton e-mail server scandal

Visit the program websites 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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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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A Ruined Black Tie Affair


My favorite Garth Brooks song, about having friends in low places, has a great lyric where he sings “I showed up in boots and ruined your black tie affair.”  That refrain could be sung by Pennsylvania’s newest state senator, Scott Wagner, who just months into his term, has called for the ouster of the reigning Senate Republican leader.

There is no doubt that Senate Majority Leader Domenic Pileggi is out of step with both his caucus and with his party.  The most frequently asked question I get is: Why have Republicans – with control of the governor’s office and both houses of the legislature – failed to enact reforms near and dear to the heart of the party’s grassroots?  The blame in large measure rests squarely on the shoulders of Pileggi and a handful of other southeastern Republican senators whose loyalty lies not with their party or voters, but rather with the labor unions who financially support their campaigns.

Senator Wagner had the temerity to challenge Pileggi directly on this issue.  In a strongly worded letter saying he supports a change in leadership Wagner told Pileggi: “I suspect many of your actions can be explained by the company you keep . . . It has become crystal clear to me that you will not allow any piece of legislation onto the floor for a vote that would in any way be opposed by the public or private sector unions.”

Reaction from the Senate leadership team tellingly focused on concerns that: “Public disagreements within our caucus are not the norm; we always hope such differences can be resolved in a collegial manner.”

I guess he ruined their black tie affair.

Interestingly, among the “accomplishments” of Senator Pileggi cited by his fellow leaders was passage of the Transportation Infrastructure Plan, essentially a massive gas tax hike that is enormously unpopular among fiscal conservatives.  No mention, of course, was made of pension reform or liquor privatization – key legislative goals of Governor Tom Corbett and of House Republicans respectively.

Conservatives know that resolving matters in a “collegial manner” only means the clubby status quo of the Senate remains intact.  The past four years have proven beyond a shadow of a doubt that such business as usual cannot and will not yield reform.  The same situation existed across the capitol rotunda in the state House during the speakership of John Perzel, who – before being sent off to prison – ran that chamber in a manner contrary to both the principles of his party and the will of most members of his own caucus.

History is now repeating itself.  Electoral trends across the state have resulted in Republican representation in both the Senate and in the House shift from the formerly Republican southeastern Philadelphia suburbs to central and especially western Pennsylvania where voters have elected more Republicans and more conservative Republicans.  Pileggi, of Delaware County, is on the wrong side of the trend line.

The question now becomes when will enough Republican senators realize that they are enabling the labor union agenda by allowing Senator Pileggi to remain as Majority Leader?  It is not enough, back in their districts, to use the excuse that leadership won’t bring issues to a vote.  Every senator has the power to shed the black tie, put on their boots and change leadership so it more accurately reflects the principles of the Republican Party’s grassroots.
Wagner, meanwhile, has nothing to lose.  Pileggi & company pulled every trick in the book to prevent him from being elected to the Senate in the first place.  In an embarrassing defeat for Pileggi, Wagner beat the leader’s hand-picked candidate in a special election by waging a write-in campaign – the first write-in victory for a state Senate candidate in the history of the commonwealth.

Putting a cherry on top of the sundae, Wagner recently gave the Senate Republican report at the Fall meeting of the Republican State Committee.  Such reports typically lull members to sleep, but Wagner animated the crowd with a fiery speech denouncing labor unions and those who have blocked the GOP’s reform agenda – specifically pinning the blame on southeastern senators.

He received numerous and thunderous ovations.

Wagner is not speaking for just the conservative wing of the party, he is speaking for all Republicans who are angry that they have worked for decades to gain control in Harrisburg, and have seen critical reforms derailed by elected officials of their own party.  And those reforms have not failed because of the governor or the state House, but because of the Senate.  Senator Wagner has correctly identified the “number one obstacle.”

(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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