Stack discusses education, natural energy at meeting

Speaking his mind: Lt. Gov. Mike Stack spoke at a Greater Northeast Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce business meeting at Parx Casino on March 31. PHOTO: DON BRENNAN

What’s the political climate in Harrisburg?

“It’s acrimonious, just like it is in Washington,” said Lt. Gov. Mike Stack.

Stack, a Democrat, spoke recently at a Greater Northeast Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce business meeting at Parx Casino.

Among those on hand for his remarks were state Reps. Mike Driscoll and Gene DiGirolamo, Bensalem Mayor Joe DiGirolamo, former state House Speaker John Perzel and the Rev. Joe Campellone, former president of Father Judge High School.

Stack, of Wayside Road in Somerton, was a state senator, upsetting Sen. Hank Salvatore in 2000, and served until being elected lieutenant governor in 2014. The LG’s residence is at Fort Indiantown Gap in Lebanon County.

In the state capital, he promotes public education funding and is concerned about student debt for college graduates. He said some predatory lenders leave grads “borderline bankrupt.”

Among his priorities is protecting state military bases from closing. He serves on the Military Base Enhancement Commission.

On a related note, he is excited about the nuclear submarines that will be coming to the Navy Yard in South Philadelphia for repair and construction.

Stack chairs the Board of Pardons, and has concern that relatively minor infractions will hurt the long-term job prospects of ex-cons once employers perform a criminal background check. He believes in second chances for people who have changed their lives for the better.

“We’re pardoning more people,” he said, adding that Gov. Tom Wolf has signed off on 99 percent of the board’s recommendations.

On the topic of natural energy, Stack said he was recently in Washington for a conference and met U.S. Energy Secretary Rick Perry, who told him the federal government is aware of Pennsylvania’s potential for producing environmentally smart jobs.

As for taxes, Stack broke a 25–25 Senate tie last session, opposing a measure that would eliminate billions of dollars in school property taxes statewide by replacing the money with increases in state tax rates on sales and income.

Republicans won three Senate seats and two House seats in the last election to extend their commanding advantage in the General Assembly.

Senate Bill 76 has been reintroduced. Stack calls the measure “incendiary” because it taxes food and, in his opinion, is too favorable to big business.

“SB 76 is coming back again,” he said.

After Stack’s remarks, Chamber president Pam Henshall mentioned two upcoming events.

On Thursday, April 6, the group will host Business After Hours, a networking event, from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. at the Philadelphia Insectarium and Butterfly Pavilion, 8046 Frankford Ave.

On Thursday, April 27, the Women in Business Conference and Luncheon will take place at the Radisson Hotel Philadelphia/Northeast, 2400 Old Lincoln Highway (at U.S. Route 1) in Trevose. Radio personality Marilyn Russell, co-host of The Breakfast Club on WOGL (98.1 FM), will deliver the welcoming address and serve as moderator of a luncheon discussion.

Registration and breakfast begin at 8 a.m. The conference is scheduled from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. A Business After Hours networking session will be held from 4:30 to 7 p.m. Tickets are $150 per person, which includes the entire conference package. Tickets to attend only the after-hours event are $25 per person.

The conference will feature a menu of four sessions throughout the day discussing a variety of topics such as entrepreneurship, social media, business and personal growth, cyber security, and building an effective team.

There will be breaks scheduled between the sessions for conversation, networking and review.

Call 215–332–3400 or visit www.nephilachamber.com/events-home/women-in-business-conference ••

Tom Waring can be reached at 215–354–3034 or twaring@bsmphilly.com