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

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

For Immediate Release: Democratic PA Senate District 16 Candidate Mark Pinsley Receives the Endorsement of Fellow Progressive and PA Lt. Governor Candidate John Fetterman

  Democratic PA Senate District 16 Candidate Mark Pinsley Receives the Endorsement of Fellow Progressive and PA Lt. Governor Candidate John Fetterman  ALLENTOWN, PA— On Friday John Fetterman endorsed PA State Senate District 16 Candidate and progressive activist, South Whitehall Commissioner Mark Pinsley. Pinsley is running for the PA Senate 16th District seat currently held … Continue reading For Immediate Release: Democratic PA Senate District 16 Candidate Mark Pinsley Receives the Endorsement of Fellow Progressive and PA Lt. Governor Candidate John Fetterman →

Source: For Immediate Release: Democratic PA Senate District 16 Candidate Mark Pinsley Receives the Endorsement of Fellow Progressive and PA Lt. Governor Candidate John Fetterman – The Valley Ledger | Its All About The Lehigh Valley

Democrat Meredith Buck announces run for 144th state house district

Meredith Buck, of Chalfont, is running for the state house with the endorsement of Bucks County Democrats.

First a nurse, then a lawyer and now she’s hoping to be a state legislator.

Meredith J. Buck, of Chalfont, announced her candidacy this week for the Democratic nomination in the race for the 144th District state House of Representatives seat held by retiring Rep. Kathy Watson.

The 58-year-old Democrat comes to the race with her party’s endorsement and so far is running unopposed in the May 15 primary. Buck is taking aim at health care, education and safety as campaign issues.

“The partisan politics in Harrisburg has neglected our senior population for way too long and has shortchanged our public education system,” she said, in a statement.

The race won’t be Buck’s first. In 2015 she ran for district judge, which she lost to District Judge Regina Armitage. Since that campaign, Buck has focused on her legal practice, especially in the field of family law, and on pro bono work representing protection from abuse victims, the candidate said by phone Friday.

On the Republican ballot, Realtor Todd Polinchock is seeking his party’s nod, touting his military service, small business experience and involvement with his community.

The two are likely to square off for Watson’s seat in the fall.

Watson was one of four state-level Republican legislators in mid-January to announce intentions to retire, along with Sens. Chuck McIlhinney, R-10, and Stewart Greenleaf, R-12, and state Rep. Bob Godshall, R-53.

Source: Democrat Meredith Buck announces run for 144th state house district

Resistance is mail-odramatic for ‘Persistent Postcarders’

by Barbara Sherf

Frustrated and angry over Trump-ism? Take your pen next Wednesday, March 7, 5:15 p.m., to the High Point Café at the Allens Lane Train Station, to meet with a group known as Persistent Postcarders, working with Turn PA Blue. They will hold a Coffee Bar celebration with refreshments to mark the one-year anniversary of local resistance to Trump-ism via handwriting and sending over 2,000 handwritten postcards to city, state and federal elected and appointed officials.

The idea came to Rabbi Dayle Friedman, 61, following the first Women’s March in Washington, D.C., in January, 2017.

“I was eager to find a way to save the many aspects of our social fabric that were imperiled by the ascension of Donald Trump to the presidency,” said Friedman, a Mt. Airy resident, graduate of Hebrew Union College and expert/consultant on issues facing the elderly.

“After the announcement of the Muslim ban the next week, I knew I needed to do something, so I announced through e-mail and Facebook that anyone who wanted was invited to come to my house on Friday afternoons from 2 to 3 to write postcards.”

According to Friedman, the name Persistent Postcarders was coined after U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren was silenced on the Senate floor in February of 2017, as Sen. Mitch McConnell justified his action by saying, “Nevertheless, she persisted.”

“Thanks for the new battle cry,” one person tweeted. And a slogan was born: Nevertheless, she persisted.

The group of more than 20 women, mostly from Mt. Airy, now rotate the Friday afternoon sessions at different homes. From two to six show up in a typical week and send out an average of 40 postcards. Thus, in the past year about 2,000 postcards were handwritten and mailed.

“We always discuss what issues concern us, and most often some women bring information about issues they have been following. We then each write to local, state and national representatives,” said Friedman, noting that the group is open to having men as well.

“We then divide our writing between exhortation of representatives to do the right thing on these issues and letters of thanks and congratulations to those who have been bold leaders and/or have had success.”

Friedman tapped Mt Airy artist, author and activist Betsy Teutsch, 65, to help organize the group and design two postcards to offer as part of a fundraising effort for the PA Blue campaign. One very patriotic postcard has a blank box on the front on which the writer titles the issue, like gun control.

The other postcard has a “Thank You” box to thank a representative for support of or introduction of legislation or to thank a journalist for researching and writing about a particular issue.

“I think we are a demographic of well-educated women who are old-fashioned communicators at heart, though digitally capable,” Teutsch noted. “Postcards just make a statement in a satisfying way, and being together is soul-nurturing in what seems like our state of permanent crisis.”

On a recent Friday, a half-dozen women gathered at the Mt. Airy home of Jane Century, where tea and chocolate-covered coconut flake treats she made from ingredients at Weavers Way were served.

Mt. Airy resident Ann Mintz, 70, was clearly up in arms about an array of issues and had done her homework. “For me,” she said, “the Friday postcarding has been a lifeline at a really challenging time. I’m from a Holocaust family, named for my father’s sister who was murdered at Auschwitz.

“I always took comfort in the belief that it couldn’t happen here, only to see images of terrified small children separated from their parents, an old woman in a wheelchair detained for hours for no rational reason and a five-year-old boy in handcuffs, and it showed me in no uncertain terms that it could happen here.

“When I am feeling despair, I focus on writing thank you postcards. It reminds me that there are people in government doing the right thing. I’ve written thank you cards to people I often disagree with, which helps me remember that we can disagree with people without demonizing them.”

At the end of the hour, Mintz took a photo of the pile of postcards along with the hands of the signers and the American flag to post to social media.

While the women are writing longhand, they have their phones at the ready to research issues, find additional information or addresses.

“This is an app called ‘Five Calls,’” said Paula Spivack, 61, of Mt. Airy. “If Ann isn’t around, we might turn to this to find out the top five important phone calls to make on any given day. In our case, it’s not phone calls but postcards being sent.”

The March 7 event runs at High Point Café at the Allens Lane Train Station until 6:45 p.m. Candidates and elected officials will be on hand as well as organizers of the group in an effort to share their knowledge and resources.

More information at, or go to their Facebook page for additional information. Flourtown resident Barbara Sherf can be reached at This is one in a series of stories on area activists.