HomeNewsMcCormick, Ernst talk change at Cannstatter’s

McCormick, Ernst talk change at Cannstatter’s

Frank Santucci Jr., Alicia Santucci, Lisa Costanzo, Drew Murray, Sen. Joni Ernst.
McCormick, Ernst and Gill grabbed lunch at Steve’s Prince of Steaks, 2711 Comly Road, after the panel discussion.
Dave McCormick and Sen. Joni Ernst with other members of the panel.

Building America’s Future brought Republican Senate candidate Dave McCormick and Iowa Sen. Joni Ernst to Cannstatter’s for a program called Taking On Washington the Pennsylvania Way.

“We’re going to have a great partnership in the United States Senate,” Ernst said.

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Former City Council candidate Drew Murray moderated a discussion that consisted of McCormick; Ernst; former U.S. Attorney Bill McSwain; Lisa Costanzo, a Holme Circle resident and vice president at All American Sporting Goods, 1202 Cottman Ave. and in business since 1989; Alicia Santucci, of Santucci’s Original Square Pizza, with 10 locations and six on the way; attorney Jeremy Ibrahim; Vincent Emmanuel, of the local 7-Eleven franchise owners association; and ward leader Josh Novotney.

Among those in attendance were Vince Fenerty, chairman of the Republican City Committee; Aizaz Gill, Republican candidate in the 172nd Legislative District; and Joe Picozzi, Republican candidate in the 5th Senatorial District.

Ernst called for all federal workers to return to the office after COVID, saying calls are being unanswered at agencies such as the Department of Veterans Affairs and Social Security Administration. She also derided government overspending and spoke of her proposed SWAMP Act, which would move some agencies out of Washington. She suggested Pennsylvania could be home to the Department of Energy.

Ernst said change is needed in Washington.

“Dave McCormick is that necessary change,” she said.

McCormick, 58, spoke of high inflation, the open southern border, unlocking the fossil fuel industry and his support of Israel. He supports Ernst’s SWAMP Act, specifically calling for the energy department to be relocated to Pittsburgh. He labeled Sen. Bob Casey Jr. – who was auditor general and state treasurer before being elected to the Senate in 2006 – a career politician who thinks government should tell companies how many potato chips to put in their bags.

“I think we should have term limits,” McCormick said.

McCormick believes “fresh blood” is needed and has promised to serve no more than two six-year terms.

McCormick visited Israel earlier this year and also visited the Gaza solidarity encampment at Penn and a pro-Palestinian encampment at Pitt. A Jewish student volunteering for McCormick’s campaign was assaulted at the Pitt encampment. McCormick said he supports the First Amendment right to protest, but not intimidation and violence. He said anti-American and antisemitic “agitators,” not students, have caused problems at the encampments.

Costanzo, of All American Sporting Goods, spoke of the challenges of crime and getting supplies.

Santucci said COVID and inflation have been challenges, but the third-generation pizza shop has endured. Still, the costs of things such as insurance, licenses and small business loans present problems for franchisees, who often have to pass costs on to consumers.

“The cost of goods is up. The cost of labor is up,” she said.

After the discussion, McCormick said his business and military background – he’s a West Point graduate and was an executive officer serving in Iraq during the Gulf War – will benefit him in the Senate.

“We need leaders,” he said. “We don’t need followers.”

The Pennsylvania Democratic Party was not impressed with McCormick’s appearance. The party sent a statement from City Councilman Jim Harrity, who said, “David McCormick has a long record of prioritizing US adversaries over American workers and lying about everything from being a farmer to living in Pennsylvania, when he actually lives in Connecticut. Working families deserve leaders that will put them first.” ••

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