Upd8: Strouse claims top ballot position in Democratic primary

A drawing was held last week for candidates in the May 20 primary, and Kevin Strouse won the top ballot position in the Democratic primary in the 8th Congressional District.

Shaughnessy Naughton, also seeking the Democratic nomination, will be listed second.

Republican Rep. Mike Fitzpatrick is unopposed in the Republican primary. He is in his third term. He served in 2005–06 before losing his seat. He regained the seat in 2010.

The district includes all of Bucks County and a portion of Montgomery County.

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Democrats don’t know whether it’ll be Strouse or Naughton taking on Fitzpatrick in the general election, but the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee is already taking on the incumbent.

The DCCC has launched Sick N’ Broke, an online board game modeled after the Game of Life. It criticizes Republican health care policies.

The game targets 53 House Republicans and candidates, including Fitzpatrick, that the DCCC considers vulnerable.

“Whether it’s being able to afford an emergency c-section, making sure kids get the right nutrition, ensuring women don’t have to pay more for their care or whether its guaranteeing Medicare, Republicans play reckless games that hurt your health at every stage of life — all because they would rather stack the deck for their special interest buddies,” said the DCCC’s Emily Bittner. “Now you can see just how much of a mess Republicans would make of your health care — but one spoiler alert: in this game, you can’t win.”

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Meanwhile, Fitzpatrick said he favors additional steps be taken after President Barack Obama last week announced economic sanctions against 11 Russian and Ukrainian officials following Russia’s military incursion into Crimea.

“While these sanctions against Russian and Ukrainian officials are a good first step, more action needs to be taken together with our European allies,” Fitzpatrick said. “America’s abundant energy resources should be a key piece of diplomatic efforts in Europe. Embracing American energy independence will not only help ease Russia’s grip on the continent’s economy, but also advance U.S. economic goals.

“America must speak with one voice in support of the rights of freedom and democracy. I urge the president to work with both parties in Congress to ensure that the United States embraces a foreign policy with broad domestic support.”

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Fitzpatrick joined U.S. Sen. Pat Toomey, local lawmakers and victims’ rights advocates on March 20 to discuss the need for a coordinated strategy to address abuse and human trafficking in the 8th district.

The meeting took place at the Jamison headquarters of the Network of Victim Assistance.

“Legislation alone isn’t the solution to stopping abuse in Bucks and Montgomery counties — it’s the continued interaction and sharing of ideas and needs that will ultimately help us address this problem from prevention to counseling to prosecution,” Fitzpatrick said.

Among those in attendance were NOVA personnel and members of the Bucks County Children’s Advocacy Center who specifically highlighted efforts of local, state and federal leaders.

“NOVA staff had the opportunity to meet with Congressman Fitzpatrick and other community leaders to discuss issues related to victims of child abuse and human trafficking. We are grateful for his support in a bipartisan effort to release Victim of Crime Act (VOCA) funds for much-needed victim services,” said Julie Dugery, NOVA volunteer and community outreach coordinator.

Fitzpatrick joined Toomey in laying out the need for legislation to stop what he called the “shameful” process of “passing the trash” — in which a teacher or school employee suspected of child abuse is transferred between districts or across state lines without disclosure of the abuse.

“I am proud that two pieces of legislation I have sponsored will assist organizations like the Bucks County Network of Victim Assistance while simultaneously strengthening federal law to protect children,” Toomey said.

Also attending the roundtable discussion were Barbara Clark, NOVA executive director; Kathy Bennett, NOVA associate director and co-chairwoman of Bucks County Coalition Against Trafficking; Leslie Slingsby, director, Bucks County Children’s Advocacy Center; Al Sutter, NOVA board member and staffer in the office of state Sen. Tommy Tomlinson; state Sen. Stewart Greenleaf; Bucks County District Attorney David Heckler; Bucks County Commissioners Rob Loughery and Charlie Martin; state Rep. Bernie O’Neill; and Cathleen Palm, of the Center for Children’s Justice.

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Ballot positions were chosen for candidates for governor and lieutenant governor.

Gov. Tom Corbett will be listed second on the Republican ballot, behind Ardmore lawyer Bob Guzzardi. However, Guzzardi is facing a challenge to his nominating petitions.

Lt. Gov. Jim Cawley, a former Bucks County commissioner, is unopposed on the Republican ballot.

In the Democratic race for governor, frontrunner Tom Wolf will be listed first on the ballot. A York County businessman and former secretary of the state Department of Revenue, Wolf has a commanding lead in polls thanks to a barrage of effective television commercials.

Former Auditor General Jack Wagner will be second on the ballot, followed by state Treasurer Rob McCord, former state Department of Environmental Protection Secretary Katie McGinty and U.S. Rep. Allyson Schwartz.

In the Democratic race for lieutenant governor, the top ballot position belongs to state Sen. Mike Stack. He’s followed by former congressman Mark Critz, former Penn State assistant football coach Jay Paterno, Bradford County Commissioner Mark Smith, state Rep. Brandon Neuman and Harrisburg City Councilman Brad Koplinski.

Koplinski is challenging Paterno’s nominating petitions.

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Rob McCord, a Democratic candidate for governor, released a plan to create a drillers’ tax of 10 percent on the net value of natural gas after extraction.

At that rate, the plan would generate $1.63 billion in the first year, the most revenue of any plan under consideration.

“We’re sitting on top of one of the largest natural gas formations in the world,” McCord said. “And yet for the privilege of allowing drillers to make billions of dollars in profits from our resources, we receive less than any other state in the country. That makes no sense at all. These natural gas resources belong to the people of Pennsylvania, and the people deserve to be fairly and justly compensated for allowing drillers to profit from their resources.”

McCord would use the revenue generated by the drillers’ tax to protect the environment and to invest in education.

Since the first well was drilled in Pennsylvania in 2005, the state’s annual production of natural gas has increased more than 1,200 percent.

“The natural gas in the Marcellus shale isn’t going anywhere, and neither are the companies who are seeking to make billions of dollars in profit from it,” McCord said. “There’s no reason Pennsylvania families should not be fairly compensated for allowing these drillers to have access to this amazing resource. Nor is there any reason we should be timid or take half-measures on behalf of Pennsylvania’s families.”

Meanwhile, McCord received the endorsement of the Pennsylvania Professional Fire Fighters Association, which represents more than 10,000 active and retired professional firefighters, EMTs and paramedics.

“Rob is the only one, and I mean the only one in the race for governor, who has proven himself as a tireless champion of Pennsylvania’s working families,” said Art Martynuska, president of the PPFFA.

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Allyson Schwartz, who is seeking the Democratic nod for governor, announced a plan to give tax incentives to companies to hire, train and retain about 10,000 new employees.

Schwartz faults Gov. Tom Corbett for Pennsylvania being among the bottom 10 states for job growth.

As governor, she would, among other things, reinvest in community college and vocational training initiatives. She’d like to double the number of worker-trainees enrolled in registered apprenticeship programs from 10,000 to 20,000.

“We must bridge the gap between those who want jobs and the employers who need skilled workers,” she said. “By making real investments in creating partnerships between government, industry and our universities, we can allow employers to take advantage of the greatest asset Pennsylvania has — our workers.”