Can a Democrat run for and win a tough Republican Senate seat? This one can | Emily Best

Since registration is overwhelmingly Republican in this district, it has become almost impossible for Democrats to win.

Yes, a Democrat.

I’m running to protect, and fight for, our shared values. Our values of family and community, independence and interdependence, of careful stewardship of our bountiful natural resources.

I’m a transplant: raised in Butler County, I attended Pitt for undergrad, worked overseas, studied in Washington DC for graduate school, and now I’m settled amongst the rolling valleys and mountains of Fulton County. I work in agriculture.

Since registration is overwhelmingly Republican in this district, it has become almost impossible for Democrats to win.

So for years, Democrats have gone quiet. The party forgot about the issues and concerns of rural and small town voters, and created the environment we’re seeing across the country. Voters disregard a Democrat, just for being a Democrat.

Well, I like a challenge. I stand ready to advocate for values I believe I share with the communities I hope to represent.

When I first moved to Huntingdon County in 2012, I couldn’t believe how far folks had to travel to receive basic medical care, let alone specialty care.

When I gave birth to my son in January 2017, we drove 45 minutes over the mountain to a hospital in another county, because my local medical center no longer delivers babies. These are not uncommon issues in my district. And it wasn’t always like this.

Our main streets struggle to support small, family-owned and run local businesses. Yet we’ve seen large corporations open or expand discount stores, because there’s a demand for cheap products. Sadly, our small businesses can’t compete.

Our rural landscape, the most precious of resources, is at risk of being forever polluted. Giveaways to massive multinational corporations, for projects like the Mariner East 2 pipeline, pose a serious risk with little reward to our communities. We must curtail short term gains that leave our environment in peril.

It doesn’t have to be this way. Our communities matter.

A government led by people who stand up for their constituents would be fighting for the values of the community. And that is what I will do.

I will fight for accessible, affordable, and community-based healthcare. We shouldn’t have to go to the ER on the weekend for minor issues because it’s the only option of several bad ones. Families suffering from substance abuse should be to access the care they need, on a schedule that works. And working parents shouldn’t have to give up half a day of work to take their kids to the doctor.

I will fight for fair farm policies.

Working in agriculture I know how difficult it is to comply with regulations, especially when the cost accrues solely on the farmer and when the fine print is interpreted by non-farmers. I will work for policies that support our farmers, who are suffering under the weight of a food system that is skewed towards vertically integrated businesses and massive corporate farms.

I will fight for a democracy that works for all of us, not just the rich and well-connected. Did you know that the establishment Republican candidate in this race has already spent $100,000 in the primary election, while the median household income in Blair County is $44,000, and 1 in 5 children there live under the poverty line? I will support policies to get money out of politics and fair districts so public service is accessible to all of us.

I will stand up for property owners who, each year, pay more of their stagnating incomes on property tax. I will fight for a severance tax on natural gas to help us fully fund our schools. I will stand up for the children in our district who have been underserved for years – those in special ed, the gifted learners, the children learning to read and the teenagers searching for a path. Our lawmakers, including the incumbent in the 30th, have neglected to provide for the right to a quality public education for all children.

Most of all, I am standing up for the everyday hard working people in my district. For far too long, our representatives in Harrisburg as well as in Washington, D.C., have prioritized the interests of huge corporations, big banks, and the super rich over the needs of our communities.

Now we are left fighting for the scraps, angry because we are all operating in an unfair system.

It’s time for a change. This is why, on May 15, I’m asking for registered Democrats in our district to show up at the polls and show what we stand for. The very next day I’ll being asking for and need your help.

My campaign will show that we can be better. Our communities deserve better. Vote Emily Best, Democrat for state Senate.

Emily Best is the manager of Tuscarora Organic Growers Cooperative. She writes from McConnellsburg, Pa., Fulton County, where she lives with her family. In accordance with PennLive’s letters and op-Eds policy for candidates, this will be her only appearance in these pages before the May 15 primary.


Source: Can a Democrat run for and win a tough Republican Senate seat? This one can | Emily Best

In fight for control of Pa. legislature, Philly suburbs a battleground

Though tipping the balance of power in Pennsylvania’s state legislature this year is a heavy political lift, Democrats say they are gearing up to shrink the commanding majorities Republicans hold in both chambers.


HARRISBURG — Although tipping the balance of power in Pennsylvania’s legislature this year is a heavy lift, Democrats are gearing up for a fierce fight to chip away at the commanding majorities Republicans hold in the House and Senate.

Tuesday’s primary will be the opening act for that effort, although the general election in the fall will be the real test of whether the political controversies engulfing the Trump White House trickle down to shape local races.

Senate President Joe Scarnati (R., Jefferson) put it this way: “All the angst is going to rest in November and not so much here in May.”

Half the seats in the 50-member Senate, as well as all 203 in the House, are up for grabs this year. And with an unusually high number of retirements in both legislative chambers, particularly of lawmakers in the Philadelphia area, both parties believe this year’s election could shift the political dynamic in the Capitol.

“I don’t want to throw the ‘M’ word around — ‘majority’ — but with every news cycle where that guy in the White House does something even crazier than before … a monumental pickup seems more and more a possibility,” Nathan Davidson, executive director of the House Democratic Campaign Committee, said of capturing a significant number of Republican seats.

For Democrats, the ultimate hope is to pick up enough seats in the next two election cycles — this year and 2020 — to have a more prominent voice, if not the upper hand, in shaping maps for congressional and state legislative seats come 2021.

It will be a difficult task. In the House, Republicans have a 119-81 edge over Democrats (there are three vacancies). In the Senate, the GOP now commands a veto-proof majority: 34 of the 50 seats are held by Republicans.

And though the House has flip-flopped over the last decade between Democratic and Republican control, the Senate has been firmly in the hands of the GOP for decades.

In the House, 28 lawmakers are either retiring — including longtime Philadelphia State Reps. Curtis Thomas, John Taylor, and Bill Keller — or have already left the chamber, such as Republican Rep. Scott Petri of Bucks County, now the head of the Philadelphia Parking Authority. Three-quarters of those seats are or were held by Republicans.

Come November, many of the battleground races will be in the Philadelphia suburbs (also home to several districts now held by GOP members) that Hillary Clinton won in the 2016 presidential election — evidence to Democrats that they are ripe for the taking.

In Philadelphia, there are several crowded Democratic primaries, including a four-way contest for Keller’s 184th District seat among retired Philadelphia Police Detective Nicholas DiDonato Jr., former WHYY reporter Elizabeth Fiedler, legislative aide Jonathan Rowan, and lawyer Tom Wyatt.

Another city-based primary where Democrats are elbowing each other to snag a win is the race for Taylor’s 177th District seat in the Northeast. In that contest, four Democrats — law student Maggie Borski, daughter of former U.S. Rep. Bob Borski; immigration lawyer Joseph Hohenstein; union plasterer Sean Kilkenny; and community activist and organizer Dan Martino — are vying to take on Republican Patty-Pat Kozlowski, a onetime City Council aide, in November. Kozlowski is running unopposed.

In the Senate, 25 seats are up for re-election. Of those, seven are currently held by Democrats who are running for re-election without primary challengers, said David Marshall, executive director of the Senate Democratic Campaign Committee.

The remaining 18 seats are held by Republicans — four of whom are not running for re-election: Sens. Chuck McIlhinney of Bucks County and Stewart Greenleaf of Montgomery County, who are retiring; Sen. Scott Wagner of York County, who is running for governor, and Sen. John Eichelberger of Blair County, who is running for Congress.

Democrats say they are mounting a challenge in every Senate district on the ballot this year except one — the seat held by Sen. Lisa Baker (R., Luzerne).

Both parties expect Senate races in the Philadelphia suburbs to be among the most competitive. And, as they are in House races, Democrats are targeting several districts in counties ringing Philadelphia that supported Clinton in 2016.

In Bucks County, Democratic State Rep. Tina Davis is challenging longtime State Sen. Robert “Tommy” Tomlinson. And in Delaware County, two Democrats — Swarthmore Mayor Tim Kearney and former Philadelphia prosecutor Tanner Rouse — are vying for the chance to challenge incumbent State Sen. Thomas McGarrigle in the fall.


Source: In fight for control of Pa. legislature, Philly suburbs a battleground

Conservation Voters of PA Endorses Danielle Friel Otten for State Representative

April 18, 2018
Conservation Voters of PA Endorses Danielle Friel Otten for State Representative

[Philadelphia, PA] – Today, Conservation Voters of PA endorsed Danielle Friel Otten for State
Representative in Chester County’s 155th District. Conservation Voters of PA represents thousands of
individuals in the Commonwealth who are committed to clean air, land, energy, and water, and
prepared to vote for candidates who reflect those values.
“Danielle embodies all of the values we look for in pro-environment candidates. She is a self-motivated
and passionate advocate for clean water in her own backyard and will bring real change to Harrisburg,”
said Josh McNeil, Executive Director of Conservation Voters of PA. “Danielle will not only make
environmental protection a top priority when elected, but she also has firsthand experience in enacting
lasting change.”
In 2017, Ms. Friel Otten co-founded the Uwchlan Safety Coalition when she found out that the Mariner
East II pipeline was going to cut through the yard where her children play. She successfully organized
hundreds of local citizens to advocate for pipeline safety and succeeded in electing township leaders
who will serve as key watchdogs for pipeline development. Ms. Friel Otten is a mother, businesswoman,
and community leader who is committed to fighting for the health and welfare of the residents and
landscapes in the 155th District.
Ms. Friel Otten said of the endorsement, “I am so grateful for partners like Conservation Voters of PA
who understand that real change and lasting progress happen by building a coalition of environmentally
minded legislators and activating citizens who will stand up together to challenge polluters and oil, gas
and industry lobbyists who work to take our voice away in Harrisburg. I am committed to being a
champion for clean air, clean water and protection of Pennsylvania’s precious land and resources, and
proud to stand with Conservation Voters of PA.”
Information about Danielle can be found at
Good environmental laws are made by good environmental lawmakers. That’s why Conservation Voters
of Pennsylvania works to elect leaders committed to a cleaner, safer Keystone State.

Danielle Friel Otten - PA House 155

Mailing Address

400 Devon Drive
Exton, PA 19341


Phone: 484 876.1361



Pa. women are gunning for state House, Senate seats this year. It’s huge – and about time. | Maria Panaritis – Philly

Women are running in big numbers in this year’s primary for Pennsylvania’s male-dominated state House and Senate. They’re done standing on the sidelines, and that could be a game changer for a state where men have a lock on power.

Source: Pa. women are gunning for state House, Senate seats this year. It’s huge – and about time. | Maria Panaritis – Philly

Meet the two Democrats hoping to unseat Rep. Daryl Metcalfe

Meet the two Democrats hoping to unseat Rep. Daryl Metcalfe

Democratic voters in the Pennsylvania’s 12th state House district were introduced Saturday to the two candidates who are vying for the chance to unseat GOP state Rep. Daryl Metcalfe, who has served in the state House since 1999.

Daniel Smith Jr., of Adams, and Honora Rockar, of Cranberry, will face off in the May primary. They covered a bevy of issues during the Butler County Democratic Party’s candidate forum, including abortion rights, marijuana legalization, illegal voting and opioids.

Ms. Rockar is an adjunct professor of information systems at Duquesne University. She has lived in Cranberry since 2004. As part of her platform, she wants to place an emphasis on technology investments, business development and creating a more accountable and responsible government.

Mr. Smith, who is a manager at BNY Mellon, said he ran because he feels Mr. Metcalfe has not properly represented his constituents. He said he wants to bring a new focus to the local issues facing the district such as infrastructure and education.

“The job of a representative is to represent everybody,” Mr. Smith said. “His view is, ‘If you didn’t vote for me, you’re not my constituent.’”

Mr. Metcalfe, one of the most conservative members of the GOP-controlled legislature, is known for his boisterous outbursts that sometimes go viral.

Last month, the Butler Republican posted his opinions about the Parkland High School shooting and referred to student activists in quotes, echoing a false theory that the teenagers were paid actors rather than students at the Florida school where 17 died in a mass shooting last month.

“I totally applaud the students in Florida for their ability and strength to be able to come and protest and get laws changed,” said Ms. Rockar, who added that she would be in favor of legislation that bans the sale of automatic weapons and high-capacity magazines.

In December, Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf asked GOP House leaders to demote Mr. Metcalfe for “offensive and discriminatory statements” he made during a meeting of the House State Government Committee, which he chairs.

He’s also drawn a rebuke from his Democratic counterparts for blocking bills that would outlaw discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity or expression.

Mr. Smith, who is openly gay, characterized Mr. Metcalfe as a “bigot” and “sexist.” Ms. Rockar, while not as pointed in her criticism, said, if elected, she will do everything in her power to protect LGBTQ rights.

Mr. Metcalfe dismissed Mr. Smith’s portrayal of him as a “nonsensical attack” that fits a narrative used to undermine him and his office.

“I look at every individual as someone who deserves respect and their rights protected,” Mr. Metcalfe said.

Tim Williams, 56, attended the forum and said he was impressed with both candidates and believes Mr. Metcalfe’s viewpoints and style of governance are antiquated.

“Sometimes when you’re in a position too long you get complacent,” said Mr. Williams, a 10-year resident of Cranberry and a registered Democrat. “This district is a growing area, and the representative needs to be open to more views.”

Mr. Metcalfe pointed to that fact that he has been repeatedly reelected as evidence he is in touch with his constituents’ concerns.

“I have a very strong record over the last 20 years on fighting on the behalf of my constituents in Harrisburg,” he said. “The results speak for themselves.”

Katishi Maake:, 412-263-1459 or @katishimaake

First Published March 24, 2018, 7:51pm

Source: Meet the two Democrats hoping to unseat Rep. Daryl Metcalfe