Debate Wednesday night for 177th Legislative District candidates

The five candidates will debate in Port Richmond.

The four Democrats and one Republican running in the 177th Legislative District have been invited to a debate taking place on Wednesday, April 25, at 7 p.m. at the Veteran Boxers Association. 2733 E. Clearfield St.

The public is invited, and the bar will offer drink specials.

The candidates are Democrats Dan Martino, Sean Kilkenny, Joe Hohenstein and Maggie Borski and Republican Patty-Pat Kozlowski. The organizer is Fred Druding Jr., and boxing referee Charlie Sgrillo will serve as timekeeper.

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In other 177th district news, Borski, Kilkenny and Hohenstein all received key endorsements last week.

Borski was endorsed by EMILY’s List, which backs pro-choice Democratic women.

“It means so much to have the endorsement of a national organization like EMILY’s List, whose mission is to elect strong female candidates. One of the reasons I’m running for office in 2018 is because women are so underrepresented in the Pennsylvania General Assembly, we have an unqualified man in the White House, and the constant attacks on women, minorities and the LGBT community have got to stop. I’m running to break up the old boys club in Harrisburg and push for real change.”

Borski is a law school student and daughter of former congressman Bob Borski, who served from 1983 to 2002. Her dad was pro-life, but there are few Democrats who hold that position today.

Kilkenny was endorsed by state Sen. John Sabatina Jr.

“To continue a high standard of service to the community, the people of the 177th District need to elect a person who understands the needs and concerns of the neighborhoods that make up this working-class district. Of all the candidates running for state representative, I believe that Sean Kilkenny is that person,” Sabatina said. “I have known Sean for many years through his service to his community. In my opinion, Sean has the ability to be an outstanding state representative. His working-class background allows him to understand the hardships and concerns of the people of the 177th District. His comprehension of small business issues in the city well prepares him to lead the charge to revitalize our neighborhoods and allow small business to thrive. Because of these qualities, I feel that Sean would be an exceptional public official and I am proud to endorse him.”

The Service Employees International Union PA State Council announced its endorsement of Hohenstein.

“Joe Hohenstein came from a union family and is committed to protecting working people’s wages, retirement security, health care and protection on the job. Joe Hohenstein stands for fair funding of Philadelphia’s public schools and will fight to make sure that Harrisburg invests real money in Philadelphia’s roads, bridges and transit. As an immigration lawyer, Joe Hohenstein has stood up for families who are working hard to achieve the American dream,” said Gabe Morgan, president of SEIU PA State Council.

SEIU member volunteers knocked on doors for Hohenstein on Saturday.

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Commonwealth Court Judge Renee Cohn Jubelirer recently dismissed a ballot challenge against Michele Lawrence, who is challenging U.S. Rep. Brendan Boyle in the 2nd Congressional District Democratic primary.

“I am thankful that we defeated the challenge to my nominating petitions, which included signatures of more than 7,000 supporters who are active and engaged in the community,” Lawrence said. “These people are eager to vote for me in the May 15 primary, just as I am eager to connect with many more individuals throughout the 2nd District and earn their votes as well. With these distractions behind us, we can continue our focus to engage the 2nd Congressional District, listen to the community, and work to provide real solutions for their concerns.”

Lawrence is a former Wells Fargo area president. Boyle represents the 13th Congressional District, which includes Montgomery County. New maps drawn by the state Supreme Court place the Philadelphia portion of that district in the 2nd CD, along with other areas of the city.

“Let me be clear, while my opponent Brendan Boyle is in fact a congressman, he is not the incumbent in the 2nd District,” Lawrence said. “This is a new district, a new race, and it is a new day. It is my mission to give the people of the 2nd Congressional District the service, opportunities and solutions they deserve.”

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State Sen. Scott Wagner, a Republican candidate for governor, disagrees with Gov. Tom Wolf on House Bill 2138, which would incentivize able-bodied Pennsylvanians to seek employment by imposing a 20-hour-a-week work requirement on their Medicaid coverage.

Wolf has already vetoed similar legislation.

Wagner said, “The best long-term approach to increase access to healthcare in the commonwealth is to lift people out of poverty and have them retain it from their employers — and that will only happen if people are incentivized to work. Through my own company, I’ve seen first-hand the need for skilled labor and the opportunities that could be provided, but matching those who want to work with willing employers will only happen if we have a governor who will lead on the issue. While Gov. Wolf continues to block this legislation, I will sign it if it comes to my desk next winter. If I’m elected, Pennsylvanians will have a pro-work, pro-jobs, pro-growth governor. Four more years of Tom Wolf will give us the opposite.”

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Allegheny County lawyer Laura Ellsworth, a Republican candidate for governor, is disappointed that primary opponents Scott Wagner and Paul Mango pulled out of a debate sponsored by Excellent Schools PA.

“Mango and Wagner remain more focused on each other than they do on the issues facing Pennsylvania’s citizens,” Ellsworth said. “Excellent Schools PA is one of the leading organizations in the field of education reform, and the challenges facing our schools are immense. People seeking public office have a moral obligation to discuss education. Instead, Wagner and Mango are avoiding these issues of substance.”

Meanwhile, the Ellsworth campaign believes recent polling shows she is the best Republican to take on Wolf.

“Given the 5.5 percent margin for error in the Muhlenberg poll, we could be looking at a survey that suggests that Laura is not only a more viable challenger to Wolf, but that the contest itself is a statistical tie when it comes to which of the three candidates can beat Wolf,” said Jim Roddey, an Ellsworth adviser and former Allegheny County executive. “In short: there is no reason for the media to call this a Wagner-Mango race. Laura Ellsworth is not only viable, she’s the most plausible candidate for a Republican win.” ••