First a major tip o' the hat to Heidi for an excellent analysis of the Pa.-5 debate. Her post motivated me to finally announce my endorsement to the candidate for Pa.-5...
...and I'm still working on it.
As a Democrat, I personally have a choice of three people:
The biggest issue seems to be the proposed tolling of Interstate 80. I-80 really is iconic in Pennsylvania, dividing "upstate" from "downstate." I have a hard time with any tolling of public highways since we are already paying for them with our tax dollars. Period. It seems like all of our candidates have picked up on this and are opposing all calls for yet another tax.
After checking out the candidates, here is what I have found that sticks out for me.
McCracken does not have a very nuanced grasp of foreign policy. Sure, he wants to end the Iraq War, but regarding our allies in NATO he wants to:
remind these allies that the United States rebuilt their countries after World War II and ask for the help of all of our allies to design a plan to stabilize the Middle East
That's pretty arrogant. He goes on to pass some more of the buck along to Saudi Arabia.
I'm not a fan.
Next up is Bill Cahir. This guy intrigues me. He sought and received an age waiver from the Marines in order to serve two tours in Iraq. He has 13 years experience as a journalist. When you go to his website and click on the "issues" link, there are only four issues listed. Normally, I am not an issues voters, but this caught my attention. Cahir's issues are:
Our Economic Future
Conservation and Energy
Nothing like a little focus. His stances on Health Care seem more like bandaids than actual fixes to a broken system. On the other hand, his energy proposals are worth checking out. He did send me three separate glossy mail ads explaining how he would do a better job for the District. Better jobs, Don't toll I-80, get out of Iraq, yadda, yadda, yadda... I threw them out. Good bye environment.
Finally, we come to Rick Vilello. He is the Mayor of Lock Haven, Pa., which hosts the university of the same name and has had some colorful local government history. They have had two university students elected to city council and one elected treasurer.
Having personally met Rick, I found him to be a really good person and someone who would work hard for the district. The issues portion of his website lists a whole slew of items, but makes a very pointed statement about each. I can get behind all of his points. Each of them ends with the slogan "We can do better." That was the same message I got from him.
More importantly, Vilello has the support of Governor Ed. In spite of his endorsement of Hillary and a lot of other gaffes), I still pay attention to him. It's just Ed being Ed. In fact, that education budget thing in 2003 got a lot of people thinking about property tax reform here. Honestly, the only thing I have against Hillary right now is that I have a serious problem with another connected family running the show. How will we explain this spot in American History where an entire generation has only known a Clinton or Bush in the White House?
That said, the connection with the Hillary campaign is a non-issue to me (hey, check out how much I wrote about the non-issue; maybe I can get a job with ABC).
Personally, I liked Vilello's campaign style of visiting communities often (he has been here in the hinterlands of the districts at least three times) and passing on the wasteful direct mailings. I can agree with him and I trust him to make good decisions for the people of the Fifth District.
My humble endorsement is Vote for Rick.
As a caveat, I think Cahir has a better shot at securing the nomination and could run as well as anyone against any given GOP candidate. It is nice to know that some legitimate Dems are running in the region for a change.
Sorry, but the GOP candidates are not on my radar at the moment. However, you may be interested to know that two of the candidates (Shaner and Walker) have serious criminal charges in their pasts. *Slings the mud*