Pa. AFL-CIO rounds out labor choices for Nov. 6

Mayfair’s Scott Cummings (left), a former bodyguard for Donald Trump (right), wants to be Mitt Romney’s running mate.

The Pennsylvania AFL-CIO, which earlier this year endorsed President Barack Obama, has made its choices for the remaining races on the November ballot.

The union is backing the entire state Democratic ticket: U.S. Sen. Bob Casey Jr., Treasurer Rob McCord, attorney general hopeful Kathleen Kane and auditor general candidate Eugene DePasquale.

In races for U.S. House seats, the union endorsed 14 candidates, all Democrats. The list includes Reps. Bob Brady and Allyson Schwartz.

The union is backing 13 Democrats and no Republicans in state Senate contests. Sens. Shirley Kitchen and Mike Stack earned nods. Kitchen is unopposed. Stack faces Republican Mike Tomlinson.

“Candidates like Mike Stack have earned our support by standing with us and our unions in meeting the most difficult economic challenges and attacks we have faced in decades,” said Frank Snyder, secretary-treasurer of the AFL-CIO.

In state House races, the union made 140 endorsements, all but 15 of them Democrats. All local incumbents were endorsed. They are Republican Reps. Tom Murt and John Taylor and Democratic Reps. Ed Neilson, Brendan Boyle, Kevin Boyle, Mike McGeehan, John Sabatina Jr., Mark Cohen and Dwight Evans. The union also endorsed Steve McCarter and James “Scoot” Clay, Democrats running unopposed in open-seat races.

William Dunbar, the Democratic candidate in the 177th Legislative District, is criticizing Republican Rep. John Taylor for voting for the 2012–13 state budget.

Dunbar acknowledged that state funds are limited and that cuts have to be made. But he believes it was wrong to cut $250 million for child care, homeless assistance, mental health services, veterans’ services and grants for people with disabilities.

“This budget was balanced by increasing the burden on the most vulnerable members of society,” he said.

The House of Representatives voted 120–81 on June 28 to pass the budget.

Locally, Reps. Tom Murt (R-152nd dist.) and Ed Neilson (D-169th dist.) joined Taylor in voting for the budget.

In opposition were Democratic Reps. Larry Curry, Brendan Boyle, Kevin Boyle, Mike McGeehan, John Sabatina Jr., Tony Payton Jr., Mark Cohen and Dwight Evans.

The Senate passed the budget 32–17 on June 29. Democratic Sens. Tina Tartaglione, Shirley Kitchen and Mike Stack voted against it.

The $27.7 billion budget included a 2 percent increase in spending from a year ago. Supporters noted that it contained no new taxes, no tax increases and no cuts to public schools or universities. It provided business tax cuts and an increase in the Educational Improvement Tax Credit.

Dunbar opposed a provision giving tax credits to entice a company to build a petrochemical refinery in Beaver County.

“Any Philadelphia legislator who supports raiding public health and education funding to give massive tax credits to gas companies on the other side of the state is betraying his constituents,” he said. “Residents of the 177th will be directly affected by the cuts in this budget. I am going to make sure they know where the money went.”

U.S. Sens. Marco Rubio of Florida and Rob Portman of Ohio and Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan are among the most talked-about candidates to be Mitt Romney’s running mate on the Republican presidential ticket.

However, a local man insists he has the right credentials to team up with Romney, a businessman and former governor of Massachusetts.

Scott Cummings wants to be considered as Romney’s №2. He’d be a “cheerleader” for Romney’s quest to make Barack Obama a one-term president.

“America wants a row house guy,” said Cummings, who lives on the 3100 block of Friendship St.

Cummings, who cites the late Mayor Frank L. Rizzo as his political idol, is a former president of the Mayfair Civic Association and youth sports coach. He was once Republican leader of the 62nd Ward. He lost a 2006 special election for an at-large City Council seat to Democrat Bill Greenlee. He also lost a 2007 bid for Traffic Court.

Professionally, he’s worked as a bodyguard for Donald Trump and Henry Kissinger and also protected the likes of Michael Jackson, Elton John and Irish political figure Gerry Adams.

As for his viability as a vice presidential candidate, Cummings cites the 2006 campaign. He received 69,611 votes citywide, more than former Sen. Rick Santorum (67,452) and many more than GOP gubernatorial candidate and famed football star Lynn Swann (45,502).

“I can deliver Pennsylvania,” said the Mansfield University graduate. ••