Daughter of Chalfont Borough, PA Police Chief Arrested in Philly Gay-Bashing

The Philly Declaration

Kathryn Knott, via her twitter profile. Knott is accused of assaulting two gay men in Philadelphia on September 11th. Kathryn Knott, via her twitter profile. Knott is accused of assaulting two gay men in Philadelphia on September 11th.

The daughter of a local police chief has turned herself in to Philadelphia authorities after a warrant was issued for her arrest, along with two others, in an alleged assault on two gay men on the evening of September 11.

Kathryn Knott, daughter of Chalfont Borough Police Chief Karl Knott, and her cohort were tracked down via social media after surveillance footage of the group reportedly responsible for the attack was released by the Philadelphia Police Department.

All three suspects -Philip Williams, 24; Kathryn Knott, 24; and Kevin Harrigan, 26 – all of Bucks County – will be charged with two counts each of aggravated assault, simple assault and related offenses.  Sexual-orientation as a motivation for assault is not a hate crime under Pennsylvania law. Councilman Jim Kenney has called for…

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Corbett’s Gifts and Favors

 

Government benefits received by some who gave gifts to Corbett
The Pennsylvania People’s Campaign, Progressive Philly Rising


Executive Summary: Is Tom Corbett Above the Law?

While the legislature and the attorney general’s office have investigated gift-taking by members of the General Assembly and a judge, no investigation has begun of the governor’s taking of gifts and the receipt of government benefits by some of those who gave. This report documents shocking facts that demand an investigation and pose a stark question: is Gov. Corbett above the law?

Gov. Corbett has delivered substantial benefits to several people and companies that have made large gifts to him and his wife. The benefits provided by the governor include appointments to state commissions, appointments to the board of the state-funded and controlled Team Pennsylvania which the governor co-chairs, a contract worth hundreds of thousands of dollars entered into without competitive bidding, and regulatory relief. In some instances, less than a week separates the date of the gift to the governor and the receipt of a benefit to the gift-giver.

A review of public records[1] finds that Gov. Corbett and his wife have received a total of $28,424.66 in significant gifts. Of this total, $18,658.00 came from people and businesses that do business with or are regulated by the state. Two major gifts, a gown and jacket for Mrs. Corbett, were given by designer who appears to have received no benefit; therefore, the value is not included in the $18,658.00. Also, not included in these totals are expenses paid by other organizations for the governor to attend conferences, meetings or speaking engagements or gifts that are plainly ceremonial. Gift givers have also made $1,132,050.48 in campaign contributions to the governor.

Gifts to the Corbetts approach the total value of the cash and jewelry given to legislators and a judge in the notorious Ali sting operation. But, unlike the Ali scandal, in which no meaningful quid pro quo has been demonstrated, the governor’s gift givers, in several instances, received favorable actions—appointments to commissions and influential organizations like Team Pennsylvania Foundation, contracts, grants, and regulatory relief from the Corbett Administration. Based on the current public record, gift givers to the governor have received more and bigger benefits from the Corbett Administration than what has been revealed in the much-heralded Ali sting.

In some cases, the giving of the gift and the receipt of a benefit took place close together. The timing of these gifts and receipt of the benefit add to the need for a full investigation.

Immediate Action Needed

We are calling for a thorough investigation of Gov. Corbett’s acceptance of gifts and subsequent benefits to donors. We are asking the Auditor General, the Attorney General, the United States Attorney for the Middle District of Pennsylvania, the United States Department of Justice and/or the Dauphin County District Attorney to begin investigations. The next governor must re-issue an executive order on his first day banning employees and officials in the executive branch from accepting gifts. We also are calling for the General Assembly to pass legislation banning all government officials from accepting gifts from lobbyists, individuals, and entities that do business with or which are regulated by state government.

 

GOVERNMENT FOR SALE

Appointments to Commissions and Boards, Favorable Regulatory Action and Legislation

The gift givers, in several instances, received favorable actions—appointments to commissions and influential organizations, contracts, regulatory relief from the Corbett Administration, or passage of favorable legislation. There are two examples when less than a week separates the date of the gift to the governor and favorable treatment by the governor or his administration to the gift giver. Repeatedly, a gift is given to the governor and a benefit flows to the gift giver. Based on what is in the public record now, gift givers to the governor have received more and bigger benefits from the Corbett Administration than what has been revealed in the Ali sting.

A Special Partnership – Tom Corbett and Team Pennsylvania Foundation

Team Pennsylvania Foundation (Team PA) is non-profit charitable (501 C 3) organization created in 1997 to bring business and government together to work on economic development in the Commonwealth. Its board is comprised of state agency heads, one member from each legislative chamber, and representatives from local economic development organizations, utilities, labor unions, lobbying firms, universities, and variety of businesses and industries. Most of its revenue comes from investments and grants from the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development.

In 2001, Gov. Tom  Ridge institutionalized Team PA within state government by issuing an executive order directing state agencies to recognize Team PA as a unique and trusted partner. On May 3, 2011 Gov. Corbett signed an executive order that strengthened Ridge’s order by directing the governor to include Team PA leadership on all relevant state government commissions, boards, and appointments to other bodies.

A seat on the Team PA board is a coveted plum. Board members can anticipate appointments to boards and commissions. Board members also get direct access legislators and state agency heads and to unparalleled business networking opportunities and accompany the governor on overseas trade missions. Over the last three years, Team PA paid the tab for Corbett’s and his wife’s participation in three trade missions, a total of $25,578.84.

 

A CHRONICLE OF GIFTS AND FAVORS (See Appendix)

A review of Corbett’s ethics disclosure filings and campaign contributions available online between 2008 and 2013 shows that:

  • Corbett and his wife have received a total of $28,424.66 in gifts from people and businesses.
  • The gift donors have also made a total of $1,131,050.48 to Corbett in campaign contributions.

CORBETT GIFT DONORS WHO GAVE GIFTS AND RECEIVED BENEFITS

John Moran

Campaign contributions – $141,833.06

Gifts – $2,324.60

John Moran runs a business empire from Watsontown, Northumberland County. His lines of business include trucking, rigging, warehousing, security, information services, and construction. He hauls waste over road and rail for the shale drillers. News reports indicate that Moran began to haul shale drilling waste the day before Corbett took office as governor, before he had a determination from the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) that the operation did not need a permit.

Moran joined the Team PA board in June of 2011 shortly after Corbett signed the new executive order that directs the governor to appoint Team PA leadership to all relevant boards, commissions and other bodies. About a week after being appointed to the board, Moran treated Corbett and his wife to a luxury yacht vacation in Rhode Island. A few weeks later, in September, Corbett appointed John Moran to the Advisory Council on Privatization and Innovation and Mrs. Moran to the Pennsylvania Museum and Historical Commission. The day after the appointments, Moran provided Corbett with free air transportation on Moran’s private plane and helicopter. In March of 2012, Moran accompanied Corbett on the trade mission to France and Germany.

During the same time the DEP ruled that Moran did not need a permit to operate a gas drilling waste hauling operation in Sunbury. In June of 2012, Moran was named co-chair of Team PA at the governor’s urging.

Here’s the timeline:

  • Between 2008 and 2013, Moran contributed a total of $141,883.06 to Corbett’s campaign.
  • In December 2010, Corbett named Moran to the Economic Development Committee of his transition team.
  • On June 26, 2011, Moran joined the board of Team PA, an economic development organization made up of state officials and private businesses.
  • On July 1, 2011, Moran gave Corbett a four-day vacation on his private yacht in Newport, Rhode Island worth $1,422.80. Corbett initially failed to disclose the gift on his 2011 ethics disclosure form, but amended it later to show the gift.
  • On September 29, 2011 Corbett appointed Mrs. Ann Moran, John’s wife, to the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission.
  • On September 29, 2011, he appointed Mr. Moran to the Advisory Council on Privatization and Innovation Commission.
  • On September 30, 2011 Moran provide Corbett and his wife free air transportation with a value of $901.80 on his private helicopter and airplane.
  • On March 8 – 23 of 2012, Moran, in his capacity as a Team PA board member, accompanied Corbett and Corbett’s wife on a trade mission to France and Germany. Corbett’s and his wife’s ethics filings show that Team PA paid the $10,856.00 cost for each of them.
  • On March 16, 2012 DEP deemed that Moran did not need a permit to operate a truck-to-train gas drilling waste hauling business in Sunbury.
  • On June 18, 2012, at Corbett’s urging, Moran was named the private sector co-chair of Team PA. The government sector chair is Corbett.
  • Team PA paid $1,154 for Corbett to travel to Silicon Valley, California for a trade mission on September 13-15, 2012
  • Team PA paid $13,568.84 for Corbett to travel to South America for a trade mission on April 6-17, 2013. News accounts indicate that Susan Corbett also went, but her 2013 ethics filing is not yet available on the Ethics Commission website.
  • On November 22, 2013, Moran took over a distressed commercial property in Harrisburg for under $300,000.

Moran has clearly benefited from his close relationship with the governor, receiving appointments to a board and commission where he can establish and strengthen business connections at the highest level. Corbett made appointments of both Morans to influential commissions within weeks of accepting gifts.

Blank Rome

Campaign contributions – $54,211.96

Gifts – $10,065

Blank Rome is a high-powered law firm with an office in Philadelphia. Between 2008 and 2013, Blank Rome employees have contributed $54,211.96 to Corbett’s political campaigns. The largest contribution was reported on December 31, 2012.

In 2008 and 2010 this law firm also treated Corbett and his wife to premium tickets valued at $10,000 to fundraisers for the Philadelphia Academy of Music. In 2010, Blank Rome bought Corbett a $65 ticket to the Phillies home opener.

In January 2013, Corbett gave Blank Rome a $200,000 contract to defend his administration from a lawsuit filed by AFSCME against his plan to privatize the Pennsylvania Lottery.

Vahan Gureghian

Campaign contributions – $332,714.25

Gifts – $500

Vahan Gureghian, Corbett’s biggest single campaign donor, owns Charter School Management, Inc. (CSMI) which owns and operates or provides back-office support for charter schools in nine states. Between 2008 and 2013, he donated $332,714.25 to Corbett’s political campaigns. The contributions include $136,714.25 in 2009. The 2009 contributions include two in November in amounts of $34,285.68 and $1,428.57. His 2010 Corbett campaign contributions totaled $190,000. In November 2009, Gureghian gave Corbett two World Series shirts worth $400, and in December the same year, he sent Corbett a gift basked valued at $100.

Gureghian still operates Chester Community Charter School, the first charter school he founded. Chester Community Charter School is the largest bricks and mortar school in the state enrolling half of Chester’s school children. He owns the buildings, hires the teachers, and runs the schools. Chester Community also pays CSMI a management fee. In 2011, the Pennsylvania Department of Education opened an investigation of Chester Community for possible cheating on the Pennsylvania System of School Assessment (PSSA) tests. In October 2012, the department closed its investigation. The department did find irregularities, but issued no sanctions against Chester Community.

Frank Schoeneman

Contributions – $48,382

Gifts – $1,406.80

Frank Schoeneman runs Empire Education Group, the nation’s largest chain of cosmetology schools. Between 2008 and 2013, Schoeneman contributed $48,382 to Corbett’s campaigns. In January of 2012, he made two separate contributions on the same day of $1,530 and $3,416.85. In January of 2011, he provided free air transportation to Corbett on his private plane with a value of $1,406.80.

In December of 2012, Corbett signed legislation that lowered the requirements for obtaining a cosmetology license.

The Silvi Group Companies

Contributions – $49,800

Gifts – $918.11

The Silvi Group provides stone, concrete, and other materials to road-building projects around the state, including the Route 202 widening project. It also operates stone quarries that are regulated by DEP. Between July of 2008 and April 2012, John and Laurence Silvi donated a total of $49,800 to Corbett’s campaigns. On February 21, 2009, the Silvi Group gave Corbett a day in New York City costing $918.11 that included lunch, dinner, hotel and tickets to a Broadway show.

In December of 2010, Corbett named John Silvi to the Economic Development Committee of his transition team. In January of 2014, Silvi Concrete received a grant from the Commonwealth Financing Authority in the amount of $244,222 to construct a public compressed natural gas fueling station at its concrete plant in Downingtown.

Buchanan Ingersoll Rooney

Contributions – $82,566.69

Gifts – $1,162.13

Buchanan Ingersoll & Rooney is one of the nation’s largest law and lobbying firms with offices in Harrisburg, Pittsburgh, and Philadelphia. Between 2008 and 2013, Buchanan employees donated $82,566.69 to Corbett’s campaigns. In March of 2009, the firm treated Corbett to two dinners with its CEO, Jack Barbour, with a value of $837.15. In January 2011, Buchanan bought Corbett tickets to two NFL playoff games with a value of $325.00.

Corbett administration advisory boards and commissions are peppered with Buchanan personnel. There were eight employees of the firm on Corbett’s transition team. Corbett named Jack Barbour chair of the Advisory Council on Privatization and Innovation in September 2011. The firm represents clients with myriad contracts, proposals, permits, and business with the Commonwealth, including the gas drilling industry. Buchanan lobbies for a range of legislation that would benefit both the firm itself and its clients.


GIFT DONORS WITH SUBSTANTIAL BUSINESS BEFORE STATE GOVERNMENT OR REGULATED BY THE STATE

The following gift-givers received no government benefit.

Martin Lane

Contributions – $88,488

Gifts – $1,800

Martin Lane is Chief Operating Officer, General Manager, and President of Aegis Security Insurance Company in Harrisburg. Between 2008 and 2010 he donated $88,488 to Corbett’s campaigns. In January, he contributed $1,800 to the cost of First Lady Susan Corbett’s inaugural gown.

Lane’s insurance business is regulated by the state.

University of Pittsburgh Medical Center (UPMC)/ Robert Kennedy

Contributions – $334,014.32

Gifts – $472.00

Between 2008 and 2013, UPMC employees donated $334,014.32 to Corbett’s campaigns. On New Year’s Day 2011, Robert Kennedy, UPMC’s vice president of government relations, treated Corbett to the Pittsburgh Penguins Winter Classic Brunch and hockey game with a value of $472.00.

UPMC is regulated by the state and has been embroiled in disputes with its union employees and Highmark Insurance.

GIFT DONOR NOT REGULATED BY STATE GOVERNMENT, NOT RECEIVING ANY BENEFIT

Andries Couture

Gifts – $9766.00

Andries donated a ball gown valued at $8,276.00 to Susan Corbett for the inauguration and gave her a jacket worth $1,500 for her birthday in 2011.

 

Conclusion

For generations, access, influence, and power in the halls of Pennsylvania state government have flowed to those who make large campaign donations to politicians.

During the Corbett administration, the cash-corrupted culture of state government morphed into an even more venal form. Now even huge political donations are not enough — state government has entered the age of the big personal gift. Lavish and expensive gifts have become the icing on the campaign donation cake, and in some instances, the gifts are so significant that they may be the cake itself.

The man most responsible for creating the culture of giving and taking big gifts by government officials is Governor Corbett. The taking of the major gifts by Gov. Corbett and the benefits flowing to some of those who provided the major gift is scandalous. It may also be illegal.

The actions of the governor raise substantial legal issues that should be fully investigated. At this point, public confidence in state government cannot be restored without such an inquiry as well as the banning of all gifts to legislators and those working in state government.

 

 

APPENDIX

Who Total     Amount Campaign Contributions Gift                  Amounts Gifts Favor Timing
John Moran $144,207 $141,883 $2,324 Free vacations, free travel, free flights on private plane and helicopter the day after the Governor appointed Mr. Moran to a government advisory  council. Placed on government advisory board, DEP ruled his company did not need permits, Mrs. Moran appointed to the PA Historical and Museum Commission. Moran appointed to board within weeks of giving Governor Corbett and his wife a free vacation;  DEP ruling between contributions, while Moran was traveling with the Governor in Europe.
Blank Rome law firm $64,276 $54,211 $10,065 Tickets to the Phillies home opener and Philadelphia Academy of Music. Given $200,000 no bid contract to defend Corbett Administration in Lottery privatization attempt. Contract given in January of 2013, days after largest contribution made to Governor’s campaign.
Vahan Gureghhian $333,214 $332,714 $500 World Series shirts and food. Gureghian’s charter school was investigated for cheating; irregularities were found by the PA Dept. of Education, but no criminal or other action taken against the school. Gureghian is Corbett’s largest single donor.  The decision not to act upon the irregularities was made in-between campaign contributions.
Frank Schoeneman $49,788 $48,382 $1,406 Free trips on Schoeneman’s private plane. Corbett signs bill lowering the requirements for cosmetology students to graduate. Corbett signed the legislation helping Schoeneman’s schools in-between campaign contributions.
The Silvi Group $50,718 $49,800 $918 Trip to NYC, meals, Broadway show, hotel stay. Received a $244,222 grant from the State, appointment to boards, contracts to supply road building projects. In between and after campaign contributions.
Buchanan Ingersoll Rooney $83,718 $82,556 $1,162 Meals, tickets to NFL playoff games. Appointments to advisory boards and commissions. Eight employees of the firm were on Governor Corbett’s transition team. In between and after campaign contributions.
Martin Lane $90,288 $88,488 $1,800 Inaugural gown for Ms. Corbett. Business is regulated by the state, but a specific favor could not be identified Unknown to the public.
Andries Couture $9,776 $0 $9,776 Inaugural gown for Ms. Corbett. None Unknown to the public.
Robert Kennedy/UPMC $334,486 $334,014 $472 Meal and hockey tickets. Business is regulated by the state, but a specific favor could not be identified Unknown to the public.
Total Given $1,160,471 $1,132,048 $28,423

 

 

 

[1] Statements of Financial Interest filed by Governor Corbett available online at http://www.ethicsrulings.state.pa.us/weblink8/CustomSearch.aspx?SearchName=SearchforStatementsofFinancialInterestsforms and Campaign Finance Reports available online at https://www.campaignfinanceonline.state.pa.us/pages/CFReportSearch.aspx

Capitolwire: Democratic gubernatorial hopefuls make year-end, fund-raising push.

 

By Kevin Zwick
Staff Reporter
Capitolwire

HARRISBURG (Dec. 30) – Urgent! The [name] campaign needs you to donate XX number of dollars within XX number of hours to keep us on track to beat Gov. Tom Corbett!!

It’s the gist of a slew of emails cluttering inboxes in the run-up to the end of the year fund-raising push by Democrats hoping to knock Corbett out of office. The official deadline with the Department of State to file campaign finance reports isn’t until Jan. 31, but the quarterly “urgent” deadlines created by campaigns help them stick to their fund-raising goals.

Each campaign takes different routes to reach those quarterly goals.

For instance, U.S. Rep. Allyson Schwartz’s campaign and Emily’s List, a national organization which works to elect liberal female candidates, are emailing her supporters hoping to raise $80,000 before the new year. If the campaign raises $40,000, the organization will match it, they said.

State Treasurer Rob McCord’s campaign fund-raising email includes a two-minute video highlighting his upbringing, while the email asks for between $5 to $25 and says “above all, he’s a genuine, down to earth guy.” Another email from McCord’s campaign says a contributor will match $25 contributions in the run up to the New Year’s Eve deadline.

Katie McGinty, a former Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection secretary, has sent out a few fund-raising pleas before the Christmas holiday and plans several more in short time before the end of the year, her campaign manager said.

Tom Wolf, a millionaire businessman and former state revenue secretary from York, has touted his campaign’s raising of about $2.9 million on top of the $10 million from his personal wealth he pledged to spend on the primary election. The other campaigns won’t disclose how much they’ve raised. His supporters received a Christmas email card with a picture of Wolf, his wife and two daughters. His campaign has also recently sent out fund-raising emails asking for $5 donations touting the latest Quinnipiac University poll that showed Wolf and other Democratic contenders beating Corbett.

John Hanger, another former state DEP secretary and utility commissioner, said the major campaigns are displaying an “obsessive focus” on fund-raising and has called for a $3 million to $5 million cap on primary campaign spending. He says he’s trying to save Wolf $10 million and McCord and Schwartz from having to spend money that should be saved for the general election.

There would be “blowback of a $30 million orgy of special interest spending” from the Democratic electorate. Hanger said his campaign finance report will contain some surprises, but wouldn’t elaborate.

“Stay tuned,” he said. “We have a powerful message that’s resonating.”

Even Attorney General Kathleen Kane, who has said she won’t join the large field of Democrats running for the governorship, is emailing supporters for contributions. She notes criticisms from political enemies and the threat of impeachment waged by Rep. Daryl Metcalfe, R-Butler, in an email to supporters asking them to “stand with me and continue to support my efforts to be your independent voice in Harrisburg.” Kane isn’t up for re-election until 2016, but the swirling speculation from the recent Pennsylvania Society gathering in New York City was she’s considering a run for U.S. Senate in 2016 to challenge freshman Republican U.S. Sen. Pat Toomey.

The Jan. 31 deadline will reveal campaign expenditures and the names of contributors. The primary election day is May 20.

Why I Am Supporting John Hanger for Governor of Pennsylvania

Lots of leaders on the ground are cohering around John Hanger. He is a progressive and honorable man. And us getting behind him, is about us winning.

angerandcourage

I write to support John Hanger in the Democratic primary for Governor of Pennsylvania. If I write truly and honestly here, John will appreciate that I am pledging my vote for him next May, yet no doubt will also be a bit uneasy, maybe more than a bit, about aspects of my endorsement.

That is okay. We can be uncomfortable together because this endorsement is likely to cause some robust criticism to be directed at me – as one who has become known by many for my “one-man ban on fracking” at my farm in Jefferson County, and for my vow to use all available nonviolent means to resist fracking and other extreme forms of fossil fuel extraction. For me the potential outcome that some may judge me negatively for what I do here is much preferable to being silent about this most difficult of issues in the 2014 election…

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Philly activist considers a Social Justice electoral strategy for PA Governor’s race.

In 2006, Bill Fletcher Jr. and Danny Glover put out a strategy memo for progressive activists called “Visualizing a Neo-Rainbow.”  It referenced the efforts of the Harold Washington Mayoral campaign in Chicago, Mel King Campaign efforts in Boston, and the Jesse Jackson ’84 and ’88 Presidential runs.  It called for an inside/outside strategy towards the Democratic Party.

In the lead up to the 2012 Presidential election, Bill Fletcher was joined by Western PA activist, Carl Davidson to put out, “The 2012 Elections have little to do with Obama’s record…Which is why We are Voting for him.”  Following the election, they, writing together again, released, “How the Left can become a True Political Force to Be Reckoned With.

Long-time Left thinker and racial justice activist, Bob Wing would also add to the thinking in the lead up to the 2012 Presidential election; first with “Notes toward a Social Justice electoral strategy” and then later with “Can we defeat the Racist Southern Strategy in 2012?

One of his latest pieces of thinking calls attention to the victory of Chokwe Lumumba in the Mayoral election of Jackson, MS

Most recently, following the primary victory of Bill del Blasio, Peter Beinart of The Daily Beast weighed in with “The Rise of the New New Left

The thinking expressed in all these articles represents conscious organizers doing creative strategic thinking about how to get progressive victories.

In this spirit, in the lead up to the Pennsylvania’s Governor’s race, Philly environmental activist Will Lawrence has weighed in, in a must-read piece for  all Social Justice activist across Pennsylvania who figuring out how to relate to the Governor’s race.

His piece is titled, “Hey Philly Environmentalists – Let’s take a look at the PA Governor’s Race.”  Check it out.

-PPAR

 

Check it out here:

What’s At Stake for Point Breeze in the Governor’s Race?

Important thinking from The Point Breeze Organizing Committee.

point breeze organizing committee

On September 25th, Laporshia Massey, a sixth-grader at Bryant Elementary in Southwest Philadelphia began having asthma issues at school. Because of massive budget cuts to our public schools, Bryant can only afford to staff a nurse two days a week. There was no nurse at school that day – no one trained to recognize the severity of the symptoms. A school staff member drove Laporshia home at the end of the school day because she felt weak. She collapsed in her father’s car on the way to the hospital, and she died from asthma-related complications later that night.

Jessica Desvarieaux

In 2011, 289 school nurses worked in Philadelphia. Now only 179 nurses work in the district.

There are many forces responsible for the gross underfunding of our public schools, but few of them have had as major an impact as Governor Tom Corbett. He has decreased education funding by $1…

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Obamacare, Single-Payer, and the Pennsylvania Governor’s race.

All over the news, people are talking about “Obamacare.”  In the video below, PA Gubernatorial Candidate, John Hanger, stands in support of it’s implementation, validates the concerns of Unions, and calls for Single Payer – even going so far as mentioning by name grassroots PA organization that have been fighting the good fight.

 The political significance of this cannot be overstated.  The political forces attacking the Affordable Care Act or “Obamacare” are, as has been documented, a legacy of Jim Crow – racists and their anti-Government political cousins.  The attacks on “Obamacare,” which we know was a give-away to the health insurance business, nonetheless, constitutes a political force that intends to establish that there is no role for Government in Society.

John Hanger, like other Single-Payer supporters such as Howard Dean, with these stakes clear, chooses not to bow out of the fight over the Affordable Care Act.  He instead engages it, offering support.

He goes further though by validating the concerns of Unions with the law, and calling for the resolution to be Single-Payer.

In regard to Health Care as an issue for the Governor’s race, Hanger makes his support for Single-Payer crystal clear.

Other candidates, like Rob McCord, for example in his Keystone Politics questionnaire, chose not to say anything about supporting Single-Payer.  He gives an answer that leaves him space to move based on what’s politically expedient.

This poses a tactical question for Single-Payer advocates in particular and Progressives in general.  What is the best strategy for using this Governor’s race as a vehicle to advance and achieve Single-Payer?

Should we get behind one candidate? Or is there a different approach to moving the entire field of Democratic primary candidates?

Many Democrats regard Hanger as the most progressive however are concerned he isn’t viable.  It’s absolutely true that there are times to play it safe, however if we just play it safe as a matter of habit, it can be self-defeating for progressives, we’ll miss big opportunities.  Bill de Blasio’s expected victory this Tuesday in the general election for NYC Mayor is a perfect example of progressives making what seemed impossible, possible.

In a Democratic Primary with eight candidates and perhaps more to join, the power of money is diluted, and the power of an organized grassroots can be amplified.

Single-Payer activists have an opportunity; one that might be lost if Single-Payer supporters, don’t unite early enough and/or are spread out amongst different respective candidates in the primary.  If we’re spread out among different candidates or spending our time trying to win over every candidate, how do we ever consolidate the Single-Payer voting bloc?  How would we ever levy the power of the Single-Payer vote?

On the other hand, if for example, Single-Payer activists unify behind John Hanger, and he loses in the primary to Allyson Schwartz, but our grassroots effort leads Hanger’s showing to be very strong, then we’ll have demonstrated the power of a unified Single-Payer vote; and so be able to negotiate and make demands as a part of entering the Schwartz coalition.

Further, betting against ourselves in the primary, could cost us an opportunity; that is to say assuming someone like Hanger isn’t viable might prevent us from seeing that we could collectively make him viable.  We know that to achieve Single-Payer, will take:  not just openly supporting it with words, but leadership in deeds from the next Governor.  That makes a candidate who was pressured to take the position far from the best option.  They may sign it if we get it to their desk, but they won’t help us get it there.

Single-Payer advocates have an opportunity with this Governor’s race and we should look for the way to be the most effective in raising our issue and ultimately enacting a different health care system in Pennsylvania.

-PPAR