Voting about to begin in key races across the Northeast

Northeast voters will be going to the polls on Tuesday to nominate candidates for state representative, state senator, governor, lieutenant governor and the U.S. House of Representatives.

In addition, they will choose a new member of City Council.

Also, they will decide on three proposed changes to the Home Rule Charter.

The marquee matchup is in the Democratic primary in the 13th Congressional District. Democratic Rep. Allyson Schwartz is running for governor.

The four Democratic candidates are state Sen. Daylin Leach, state Rep. Brendan Boyle, Dr. Val Arkoosh and former congresswoman Marjorie Margolies.

Margolies served in the U.S. House in 1993–94. She was the early favorite because of her name recognition. In her one term, she cast the deciding vote for President Bill Clinton’s economic plan, which included tax hikes, and she lost her seat in the next election.

Supporters of the plan say it led to an economic expansion.

The former congresswoman’s son Marc is married to Chelsea Clinton. Bill Clinton hosted a fundraiser for Margolies last month at a Center City hotel. Hillary Clinton appeared last Thursday at a New York fundraiser for Margolies.

Also last week, Margolies was profiled by CNN’s Gloria Borger, who followed the candidate to her Rhawnhurst campaign office and a visit to a Russian-American adult day care in Somerton.

Margolies has the backing of Montgomery County Commissioners Josh Shapiro and Leslie Richards and Montgomery County party boss Marcel Groen. She also has the support of five of the 14 ward leaders in the Philadelphia portion of the district.

However, Boyle is considered a strong contender because he is the only Philadelphian in the race.

Like Margolies, Leach and Arkoosh live in Montgomery County. Leach and Arkoosh are also factors because of the large amount of money they have raised.

The polls will be open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m.

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The Philadelphia Inquirer endorsed Arkoosh, calling her an “able advocate for health-care reform.”

“Her experience with federal health policy and as a practitioner gives her expertise in an area where clear thinking is sorely needed. She also has considerable understanding of economic, environmental, and other issues,” the editorial said.

The newspaper said Boyle “shows great potential but needs seasoning.” It called Leach “a fiery fighter for liberal if sometimes lost causes.”

The paper said Margolies has run a weak campaign “that at times suggested a sense of entitlement to her old office.”

As for Arkoosh, the paper wrote that she understands the necessity as well as the flaws of Obamacare.

“Arkoosh would be an informed voice in Congress, and she has shown an ability to work with others and accomplish much,” the editorial concluded.

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Clean Water Action, a national environmental organization, endorsed Daylin Leach in the 13th Congressional District Democratic primary.

In making the endorsement, the group pointed to Leach’s legislative record advocating for and supporting stewardship of Pennsylvania’s environment and protecting public health. One of Leach’s first legislative proposals, which became law, mandated Pennsylvania’s General Services require a certain percentage of the state’s vehicle fleet to include energy-saving hybrid vehicles.

“Clean Water Action could not be any prouder to endorse a true champion on the environment,” said Myron Arnowitt, Pennsylvania director for Clean Water Action. “Time after time, Sen. Leach has been there for us and the people of the commonwealth when it counted for crucial environmental votes and showing leadership at the state Capitol. If Daylin’s legislative accomplishments and what he fights for in the U.S. Congress are anything like his record in the General Assembly, Pennsylvania will be well served by Leach in the U.S. House of Representatives.”

Brooks Mountcastle, Eastern Pennsylvania director for Clean Water Action, said Leach will be important in the fight to protect clean water.

“Daylin is exactly who we need in Congress fighting for us. Our environmental laws are under assault by many in Congress who take their marching orders from Big Oil and Big Coal, which threaten our water, air and wildlife. Daylin’s voice as a strong advocate for clean water is long overdue in Congress,” Mountcastle said

Leach’s environmental issues that he wants to focus on if elected are closing loopholes enjoyed by the natural gas drilling industry, tackling global climate change and expanding domestic renewable energy production.

Leach has fought against efforts to open state forests to more drilling and has supported legislation that would make it harder, not easier, to drill there. He received a 100-percent voting record from Clean Water Action in the last two state legislative sessions, including key votes on Marcellus Shale gas drilling and clean water protections.

Meanwhile, the Vote Kids Action Fund also endorsed Leach.

As a state legislator, Leach has supported public schools, zero-interest loans for young people to attend Pennsylvania’s colleges and universities, juvenile justice reform and paid family leave.

“We need more men and women in Congress who have the right priorities for America’s children and working families. Senator Leach’s support for a real living wage of $12 per hour, the president’s pre-kindergarten initiative, background checks for all gun purchases, and for a budget that fully funds after-school programs, child abuse prevention and other children’s programs shows he will make the right choices in the United States House of Representatives,” said Vote Kids Action Fund president Michael Petit.

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The Independence Hall Tea Party PAC has endorsed Republican Matt Wolfe for a Philadelphia City Council at-large seat in Tuesday’s special election.

Wolfe faces Democratic state Rep. Ed Neilson and Libertarian Nikki Allen Poe.

“The Independence Hall Tea Party, with thousands of adherents in the Delaware Valley, is endorsing Matt Wolfe because of his commitment to bringing fiscal responsibility to

Philadelphia city government,” said PAC president Don Adams.

Wolfe is a former Pennsylvania deputy attorney general and a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania and the Villanova University School of Law.

“Matt Wolfe is seeking to reduce spending and taxes — including the implementation of business and wage tax cuts — in order to stimulate growth in the city’s private sector,” Adams said. “He understands that a growing private sector is key to revitalizing the economy, creating jobs and stabilizing neighborhoods. In addition, Matt knows just how critical it is to enact pension reform for retirees and — in the area of educational reform — school choice for our city’s children.”

Wolfe said Philadelphia is burdened by oppressive tax rates, irrational tax structure, corruption, mismanagement and misplaced priorities.

The candidate is also urging a “No” vote on a proposed change to the Home Rule Charter that would allow city elected officials to keep their jobs while seeking a higher office.

“Why should taxpayers pay the salary of an elected official who is running full-time for another office?” Adams asked.

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Katie McGinty, a Democratic candidate for governor, has proposed a plan to revitalize Pennsylvania communities by providing increased state support for local economic development projects, green community projects, the redevelopment of abandoned properties and reforms to municipal pensions.

“Too many boroughs, towns and neighborhoods throughout the commonwealth have too many abandoned buildings, distressed downtowns and too few parks and green spaces for families to enjoy. Under a McGinty administration, we are going to invest in communities to make them more livable and attractive for residents and businesses,” said McGinty, a Rhawnhurst native and graduate of Resurrection of Our Lord Grammar School and St. Hubert High School.

To help distressed communities, McGinty — former secretary of the state Department of Environmental Protection — proposes a community revitalization bond issue that would provide $300 million in state funding to increase support for municipal land banks to buy and redevelop abandoned and blighted properties; establish a “Green Communities Fund” to create parks, greenways, bike paths and open spaces; and provide loan guarantees for community development banks to expand support for local economic development projects.

In addition, McGinty proposes retooling the Redevelopment Assistance Grant program to support local revitalization efforts and to revamp the Community Redevelopment Zone Program to provide more redevelopment across the state.

McGinty also proposes pension reforms to reduce the unfunded pension liability of municipal pension plans by as much as $3.5 billion over 20 years, enabling communities to invest in local development and infrastructure improvement projects. Communities taking steps to stabilize their pension plans would receive priority in revitalization funding.

In other news, McGinty released a television commercial that calls for ethics reforms in Harrisburg and help for hard-working families.

A narrator says, “Tired of big money and career politicians? Here’s a problem solver: Katie McGinty. One of ten kids. Dad, a Philadelphia police officer. Mom, a restaurant hostess. Became senior adviser to President Clinton. And created 3,000 new jobs as environment secretary for Rendell. As governor, a total ban on gifts to Harrisburg politicians. Restore Corbett’s education cuts. Support Obamacare. She’ll take on Corbett to deliver for us.” ••