Hohenstein hosts breakfast at Tiffany Diner

Joe Hohenstein told the crowd his experience as an immigration attorney and other positions makes him the best candidate.

Political news: Joe Hohenstein hosted a breakfast for voters on Saturday.

Joe Hohenstein, a Democratic candidate in the 177th Legislative District race, hosted a breakfast for voters on Saturday morning at Tiffany Diner.

Hohenstein told the crowd that his life experiences make him the best choice. He’s been an immigration attorney for 25 years who has sued president Donald Trump over his travel ban that would prevent people from certain countries from traveling to the United States.

For the last 15 years, he has been a board member at Frankford Friends School. Robin Mellbourne, a Northwood resident, thanked Hohenstein for helping to prevent the area surrounding the school from deteriorating.

For the last 10 years, Hohenstein has been a sole practitioner, running his own small business.

“Nobody gets hired for less than $15 an hour,” he said, noting his support for a higher minimum wage.

Hohenstein has been endorsed by the Pennsylvania Working Families Party and Reclaim Philadelphia. The candidate said he’s working hard on the campaign trail. He has an office on Pratt Street, is knocking on doors and operating phone banks. He’s already begun campaign mailings.

In 2016, Hohenstein challenged Republican Rep. John Taylor, taking 45 percent of the vote.

This year, the seat is open, as Taylor isn’t running for another term. Four other Democrats are running in the primary.

“None of them had the guts to run in 2016,” Hohenstein said.

The other candidates are union plasterer Sean Kilkenny, community activist Dan Martino and Maggie Borski, a law student and daughter of former Congressman Bob Borski.

Sean Patrick Wayland

Iraq War veteran Sean Patrick Wayland dropped out of the race on Monday, saying in a Facebook post that it would have been too costly to contest a court challenge to his nominating petitions. Wayland vowed to run in 2020.

The Republican candidate is Patty-Pat Kozlowski, a community activist and former city parks director.

••

Republicans in the 2nd Congressional District have a new candidate.

The GOP had been circulating nominating petitions for Meggen Taylor, a writer for Forbes, but she abruptly dropped out, forcing the party to trash the signatures collected and find a new candidate at the last second.

The endorsed candidate is David Torres, a retiree from West Kensington who has a particular interest in the drug epidemic.

The new 2nd Congressional District includes all of the Northeast and neighborhoods such as Bridesburg, Port Richmond, Fishtown, Northern Liberties, Kensington, Juniata, Olney, Logan, Feltonville and North Philadelphia.

Democratic Rep. Brendan Boyle will run for re-election, with a primary challenge from Michele Lawrence, a former Wells Fargo area president. Another rumored candidate, School Reform Commission member and former City Councilman Bill Green, did not file.

••

The state House of Representatives last week passed a bill, by a 109–80 vote, that would reduce the size of the House and Senate.

The House would see membership drop from 203 to 151. The Senate would be reduced from 50 to 38.

The House and Senate passed bills in the last session that would reduce only the House.

To become law, the House and Senate must pass identical bills in two consecutive sessions, and voters would have to approve it.

The only way the voters can have a say this year is if the Senate passes a bill to reduce only the House, and the House passes that bill.

Republican Reps. Tom Murt and Martina White voted for the bill. Voting against the bill were Republican Rep. John Taylor and Democratic Reps. Kevin Boyle, Mike Driscoll, Ed Neilson, Jason Dawkins and Isabella Fitzgerald. Democratic Rep. Jared Solomon did not vote.

••

Allegheny County attorney Laura Ellsworth, a Republican candidate for governor, said she would present a comprehensive reform package during her first month in office, establishing budget discipline, a ban on felons lobbying government officials, a preclusion of pensions for those who commit crimes in office and a prohibition on the use of taxpayer dollars for the settlement of sexual harassment complaints.

“We can’t wait another four years for a governor who understands that the people of Pennsylvania need their budgets done in a different way. Since Gov. Wolf has not signed a single budget in three years, I am not surprised he continues to misunderstand what it actually takes to get a fair budget done for the people of Pennsylvania.”

Last week, Ellsworth responded to Wolf‘s proposal for a “ no budget no pay” law to end fiscal stalemates.

“I’ve been calling for ‘no budget no pay’ from the day I announced. I’m pleased to see that Gov. Wolf finally agrees with what clearly has been necessary for the last three years. But he’s still got it all wrong.“

Ellsworth has proposed a law that would prevent pay to legislators and to the governor and executive agencies unless a timely balanced budget is in place. Wolf’s proposal, she argues, would enable a governor to pressure legislators into tax increases at his or her whim.

Wolf’s call would cut off pay to legislators and their top aides, but Ellsworth said it would protect the pay of the governor’s executive branch agencies. She said Wolf could continue to veto budgets until a cash-strapped legislative branch succumbs to tax-heavy budgets.

“If my plan had been in place, we’d have had a balanced budget without tax increases, because it would have gotten the attention of both sides in a timely manner,“ Ellsworth said. “If Wolf’s plan had been in place, we’d have seen a 20-percent hike in the personal income tax and a 40-percent expansion of a broadened state sales tax.”

••

Philadelphia voters will decide on the following question on the May 15 primary ballot:

“Shall the Philadelphia Home Rule Charter be amended to provide for mandatory annual training for all City officers and employees regarding sexual harassment in the workplace?” ••