If all politics are local, which candidates would best serve Forks Township families and local businesses? Which candidates show they put Community First? How about Joe Emrick?
State Representative Joe Emrick has done very little to fix the mess in Harrisburg since his 3% pay raise automatically kicked in one year ago, November 2011. Facing a devastating financial shortfall, nevertheless, Emrick and the Republicans jumped their salaries from $79,623. to $82,026 while taking an axe to Pennsylvania’s education funding. The automatic pay raises became law in 1995 when base pay for lawmakers was $47,000. According to the Patriot News, since 1995, their pay has risen a whopping 74.5 percent!
In November 2011 Terry Madonna, Ph.D., pollster at Franklin & Marshall College, said he didn’t expect legislators to “take much criticism” for the raise they grabbed. “Most people are not even aware,” he said. “There’s no pressure on them.”
Within months of the raise Forks families were shocked by the Republican budget assault on education, causing teachers and support staff to be fired, and greatly increasing class sizes. The jolt to public education occurred while Joe Emrick supported funding vouchers that would cut even more funds from public schools. Has Emrick done anything to halt the “automatic” pay raises in Harrisburg? By his vote for the Budget, the automatic pay raises continue.
Community First endorses former Bangor Mayor Joe Capozzolo to replace Joe Emrick. Capozzolo opposes the mandatory voter photo ID bill with its price tag now exceeding $30 million. Emrick voted to squander this money on an imaginary Pennsylvania voter fraud problem that could not be proved in court. How many teachers could have been rehired for $30 million in wasted tax dollars?
When considering whom to send to Washington, Forks voters have a clear concern about Tea Party-backed candidates running for House and Senate. In 2009 women surpassed 50% of the U.S. workforce, but Tea Party Republicans like Tom Smith don’t see equal pay for women worth fighting for. Working families depend on women’s paychecks. Paycheck Fairness is an economic justice issue and is supported by the vast majority of Americans, both women and men! Senator Bob Casey has been a staunch advocate for equal pay as is House candidate Matt Cartwright.
Tea Party radicals say they see compromise as weakness, but genuine Democrats and Republicans seek comprise and call it “governing.” Our nation faces the daunting fiscal cliff, dealing with debt, deficits and tax reform in the next Congress. Tea Party candidates known for denying science, demonizing education and educators, and harboring a pathological hatred of the United States government, are least likely to cooperate effectively in finding areas of agreement and solutions for America’s current challenges.
Thus Community First endorses Senator Bob Casey and Matt Cartwright wholeheartedly to be sensible problem-solvers who would most benefit our neighbors in Forks Township.
Lilly Gioia & C. David Howell, Editors