Archive for the 'Politics' Category

Butler Tea Party a Success . . . Sour Grapes for Some (and—News Flash–Paul Huber spotted wearing cowboy boots)

Written by Roberta Biros

What a weekend! It was an example of political wrangling at its best (and worst). In the end there were winners and there were losers, and I’m here to report what I saw first hand.

NOTE: I recently had a friend say that they appreciate my style of writing because I manage to cut through all the garbage and get to the basics. That is what I’ve attempted to do in this case. There will be those that think I’ve cut away too much, but I’ve only cut out those things that muddied the waters. If you don’t like what is left, I apologize . . . but . . . as always, it’s just my opinion.

Background Information

A Tea Party was organized in Butler PA. The first sign of the event to “regular people” like you and I were signs that popped up in the Butler area advertising the date, time, and location. It was pointed out to me early on, however, that the simple street address that was included on those signs was actually the address for Kelly Chevrolet and Cadillac on Pittsburgh Road in Butler. It seemed fishy . . . it appeared to be a set up . . . it came across as an event ORGANIZED AND FUNDED by Mike Kelly in an effort to hijack the Tea Party movement.

On Friday evening (late) an email message was sent out by the people at the Clayton Grabb campaign. The message stated that “we the undersigned” have decided to boycott the event and hold our own event on the same day and at the same time as a form of protest against the original event (I paraphrased there, but the actual release can be read HERE).

On Saturday, a message was sent out in response by candidate Steve Fisher. Mr. Fisher made it very clear that he never approved the first letter and he did not approve of the boycott. He had every intention of attending both events, but his first priority was to the Tea Party as he had already given his word and commitment to them (again, I paraphrase, but you can read his release HERE).

I published everything. I then promised that I would attend both events in an effort to see for myself EXACTLY what was going on. I did what I said I would do, and now I’m here to summarize everything for all of you.

My Plan

My husband and I made the hour long trip to Butler on Sunday morning. We arrived at the primary event location (Mike Kelly’s car dealership) at about 11am. We made a brief visit across the street for coffee, donuts, news papers, and a rest room brake before making our way to the Mike Kelly parking lot. I approached a group of event participants (who were all wearing “Freedom Patriots” t-shirts). I openly explained who I was and asked if they would be willing to talk to me about the event and the problems that had surfaced during the past few days. They were happy to do so, and I’ll report my findings below.

At about 1PM, my husband and I took a drive to the secondary event at Alameda Park. There were signs leading into the pavilion area. At that time only Clayton Grabb was on hand. I left my husband with a pad, pencil, and camera so that he could cover the start of the second event. I returned to the primary event location (the Kelly lot) with a camera-equipped Blackberry, a pen, and paper. The goal was to cover both events simultaneously, but I would leave the Tea Party (primary event) AS SOON as the presentations were completed. I would then head over to the second location to take part in that event also.

A plan was in place for full coverage of both events. My husband and I went in our separate directions with clear instructions.

An Overview of the Butler Tea Party event at Mike Kelly’s car dealership (and some background information)

This event was a real Tea Party. The organizers planned a great mix of speakers, presenters, and political analysts and politicians. They had booths representing various groups and charitable organizations, and they were focused on offering an informative program. The organizers admitted that this was their FIRST Tea Party, but they were excited to get involved in the process.

When the organizers first made their decision to have a Tea Party, they attempted to rent a park location. At first they were told that the fee would be $250 for the park rental. They explained that after the park found out that the event would be a Tea Party, the price changed to $1000 per hour for a total of $3000 plus insurance. They couldn’t afford a price anywhere close to $3000, and felt that they could not get a large enough venue to handle a crowd that could reach 2000. Mike Kelly stepped in and offered the use of his lot at no charge. The Freedom Patriots group jumped at the offer. Kelly provided a free (and very spacious) venue and he offered the use of his electrical service. The Freedom Patriots were left to organize the event, invite speakers and vendors, and they were also left with other responsibilities like acquiring portable rest rooms. A deal had been struck.

I estimate that between 250 and 400 people were in attendance, which was pretty good considering the day long threat of rain. It was absolutely a REAL TEA PARTY that was attended by REAL TEA PARTIERS. It was not an advertisement for Mike Kelly and it was NOT focused on the race for the 3rd Congressional District. It was a gathering of concerned citizens discussing issues of history and politics. It was proud patriots taking advantage of their freedom to assemble. It was supported by a handful of candidates that showed integrity by supporting the Tea Party movement. In exchanged they were each given five minutes to speak at the end of the event . . . in the wind and rain.

ABOVE: A photo of the crowd at the Tea Party from the far front corner.

BELOW: A tent was provided for the speakers while they waited for an opportunity
to address the crowd. The three congressional candidates that attended
(Steve Fisher, Mike Kelly, and Martha Moore) sat together.


Congratulations to the Freedom Patriots for their success in their very first Tea Party! It was a difficult task, but you did a great job in pulling it all together. I give them credit for providing the hard work, time, and effort, and I congratulate them for keeping their heads held high even after attacks from naysayers and attempts to derail their event.

An Overview of the candidates that spoke at the Tea Party

The list of speakers (in presentation order) was as follows:

Darryl Metcalfe, candidate for Lt. Governor
Steve Fisher, candidate for 3rd Congressional District
Martha Moore, candidate for 3rd Congressional District
Mary Shaff, representative for the campaign for Jean Craig Pepper for Lt. Governor
Mike Kelly, candidate for 3rd Congressional District

Highlights from the speakers?

Daryl Metcalfe wants to create a “new type of Lt. Governor’s office” in that he wants it to become the “Accountability Office”. A great concept that I really liked.

In a particularly classy move, Steve Fisher thanked Mike Kelly for his involvement in the event and thanked him for the use of the Kelly property for the Tea Party. He then explained that the “Tea Party is not about us (the candidates) . . . it is about YOU (the concerned citizens that attend).” It was a comment that struck a chord with attendees, and it was something that sorely needed to be said.

Martha Moore made a point of explaining to the ladies in the crowd that the day “was a bad hair day” and apologized for her appearance which was a result of rain and wind. It made me laugh as I was experiencing the same “bad hair day” as Dr. Moore (but that is clearly why God invented hats). Dr. Moore continues to make me smile.

Jean Craig Pepper’s representative spoke briefly about Craig Pepper’s campaign and attempted to provide the same humorous flair as Craig Pepper herself. It was a brief but interesting presentation.

Mike Kelly closed the event by reminding everyone that attended that the event was supposed to be about the Tea Party. He stressed . . . “let the record show that on Sunday, May 2nd, 2010, a Tea Party was held in Butler Pennsylvania”. It was a brief speech, and he did not “show boat”. He kept his comments short and sweet because WE ALL were suffering from the wind and rain . . . his brevity was appreciated. It was yet another classy move that I witnessed on this day.

An Overview of the Candidate Forum at Alameda Park (and some background information)

At the conclusion of the closing statements by Mike Kelly (about 4pm), I headed for my car. Due to some limitations in parking spaces, I was blocked in. It took me about 5 twists and turns of my vehicle in an effort to “skootch” out of the parking spot, but I managed to exit the parking lot without doing any damage (whew). I quickly made the ~5 mile trip to the secondary location.

The Candidate Forum (the secondary event) was held in Odd Fellows Gazeob in Alameda Park. I tried to be careful not to “squeal tires” while serpentining the parking lot as the event was already well underway. Upon arrival I quickly parked and headed up into the pavilion. I took a seat beside my husband. I quietly asked him how things were going, and he responded “it’s been very heated”.


ABOVE: A photo of the beginning of the event during the mix and mingle session.

BELOW: Another photo of the mix and mingle session from inside the shelter.


According to my husband, the event began with a mix and mingle session. The presentation portion of the event began at about 3pm. I arrived at about 4:15pm and the “forum” portion of the event was still underway. There appeared to be less than 50 people in the pavilion, although it was apparent there were more attendees earlier (as demonstrated by gaps in the parking spaces in the lot). The format was very casual. The three candidates in attendance (Clayton Grabb, Ed Franz, and Paul Huber) stood at one end of the shelter and answered questions in rotation from attendees that were seated at picnic tables in the center of the shelter. There was no specific format for questions or answers. It was very relaxed and unrestricted. Unfortunately, the lack of structure also lead to lack of self-control from some attendees.

Of the <50 people in attendance, it is our estimation that 90+% were friends, family, and firm supporters of either Grabb, Franz, or Huber. The shelter was not filled with “undecided voters that were trying to learn about the candidates”. Instead it was our impression that the crowd was an assembly of very firm supporters of one of the candidates in attendance. The event, therefore, became a catalyst for unfriendly and (at times) unruly banter between attendees and candidates. It amounted to candidates and their respective camps arguing with one another.

That was the case until shortly after my arrival. A few minutes after I got to the event, Dr. Martha Moore’s car entered the parking lot. Dr. Moore, who also attended the primary event, made the trip to the secondary event. As she pulled into the parking lot the criticisms had already begun. As she approached the pavilion, candidate Ed Franz chose to throw some fuel on the fire by “joking” that they should now conclude the event (before Dr. Moore reached the shelter). Upon entry, Dr. Moore was offered the opportunity to speak and her arrival was met with booos and yelling.

I yelled from the back of the pavilion “come on now . . . give her a chance to speak”, but my words were ignored (as I was sort of considered the enemy at this point too). None of the original three candidates (Grabb, Franz, or Huber) stepped forward to stop the nonsense. They let it go.

The line of questioning to Dr. Moore was regarding her decision to attend the first event. They questioned her about the “fake Tea Party” and the “fake Tea Partiers”. At one point (out of frustration), Dr. Moore said “why don’t you ask Roberta . . . she was there”. I felt so bad for the beating that she was taking. It was unfair, but it was not MY place to step in to help her. The individuals who should have helped her stood silent.

At about 4:45, it was announced that time was almost up. It was suggested that the forum again break down into a mix and mingle session so that those in attendance could have the opportunity to talk with Dr. Moore. Again the crowd erupted and an attendee stood up and yelled “if she wanted to talk to us she could have been here before . . .but instead she went to the other event”. More yelling ensued.

I’ve been to a number of political events in the past two years. I can only compare the behavior in this event to ONE. It was a DEMOCRAT event in March of 2009 where a crowd of angry Democrats attempted to shout down a conservative candidate (who also happened to be a Democrat). I wrote briefly about that experience HERE. However, that event didn’t come any where near the hostility that could be felt in the Odd Fellows Gazebo on Sunday afternoon.

I’m sure there will be people that attended the event at Alameda Park that will complain about these comments and they’ll try to say how wonderful the event was. I suppose that if you are on the side that is “throwing stones”, you have a different perspective. I, on the other hand, have NEVER supported beating up on the little guy. It sickens me to see an innocent individual and candidate (like Dr. Martha Moore) verbally attacked while a group of three men (who are also candidates) stood by with their hands in their pockets and watched.

I challenge ANYONE to refute the fact that one of those men/candidates shouldn’t have stepped forward to say “please treat Dr. Moore with respect as she has taken the time to join us today, and we thank her for being here”. They did not, and I lost respect for each and every one of them at that moment. The truth is, they were all still “angry” with Dr. Moore and saw her as the enemy. Why? . . . Because she dared to attend a TEA PARTY.

The Butler Fiasco was caused by one problem compounding another

There were lots of fingers to be pointed if you want to “blame” someone for the problems that occurred on Sunday. The Freedom Patriots did not fully understand the political toes that were being stepped on, and Mike Kelly didn’t make a point of explaining that the choice to use his car lot might appear biased. Mike Kelly took advantage of the situation, and it was a brilliant move on his part. He was able to show that he was charitable and he managed to get his name tied to a potentially high-profile event. If Clayton Grabb, Paul Huber, or Ed Franz could have held an event for 400+ people in their back yards, they would have also jumped at the opportunity (and don’t EVEN try to tell me otherwise).

It was the responsibility of the Tea Party organizers to refuse Kelly’s offer, but they were not politically savvy enough to realize the mistake that they had made. They didn’t see the event as a “forum for the 3rd Congressional Candidates”. They were concerned with holding a Tea Party and they didn’t understand the complicated political undertones that were involved.

Unfortunately, the other candidates (Huber, Moore, and Franz led by Grabb) began a campaign against the TEA PARTY organizers. Rather than doing their homework and taking the time to discuss the problem with the Freedom Patriots, they took it upon themselves to be the judge and jury. They made a VERY BOLD MOVE and took a stand to boycott the Tea Party. Their biggest mistake, however, was in hastily drafting an “official notice” without first crossing their T’s and dotting their I’s. They authored a “we the undersigned” letter without realizing that that type of document is intended to be drafted as a group. Instead, the letter was drafted by a few without getting the sign off of the other candidates for which they were speaking. That is a HUGE error. PERIOD. They “signed” the names of candidates, but did so without their full and explicit written authorization. It was a bold move, but it was a mistake.

Lastly, intelligent people learn from history. So, I’d like to offer a reference to the Nixon years and Watergate . . . “It’s not the crime, it’s the cover up”.

If you make a mistake, just stand up and say “crap, I made a huge mistake”. Don’t compound the original mistake by explaining . . . blaming other people . . . pointing fingers . . . and throwing more people under the bus. Just say “I made a mistake and I apologize for it”.

Winners and Losers?

In the end, there were winners. The biggest winners were the Freedom Patriots who pulled off an excellent Tea Party and I congratulate them. The other winners were Mike Kelly, Steve Fisher, and Dr. Martha Moore, who managed to demonstrate that the people are more important than the candidates. The Tea Party event was not about any of them, and they were happy to take a back seat to the “real” event.

The losers? You know what I’m going to say, and I won’t apologize for it.

The losers were Clayton Grabb, Ed Franz, and Paul Huber. They made the Tea Party event about politics rather than about people gathering to celebrate freedom. They tried to put their own candidacies above the ideals of the Tea Party movement. Most importantly, they made this about anger and fighting. When given the opportunity to stand up and try to calm the waters (by defending Dr. Moore, for instance) they chose to take a back seat and watch.

This was just one event, and it was simply one more opportunity for concerned citizens to compare the candidates that are competing for the Republican nomination for the 3rd Congressional Seat. There is still time for these individuals to stand up to right the wrongs, and there is still time for others to crash and burn. This one day (Sunday, May 2nd) will not decide the election, but it is just another opportunity to see how these candidates work under stress.

The Highlight? Paul Huber’s Boots!

Lastly, I’d like to make reference to my subtitle of this blog post. The header photo is a picture of Paul Huber’s cowboy boots. I’ve always seen Paul dressed like a business man, and I LOVED seeing him dress down a bit for an event. I laughed when I saw it because it was so darn “cool”, and I told him that it would be the headline. There were many witnesses to my promise, and I always keep my promises.

As always, just my opinion.
~Mercer County Conservatives

HEADLINE: No one was arrested at the Mercer PA GOP Meet and Greet

Written by Roberta Biros

All was calm and friendly at Hempfield Station One on Thursday night for the Meet and Greet of Republican Candidates that was sponsored by the Mercer County GOP. Fair warning from this “blogmaster” prevented confrontation and kept “greedy incumbents’ out of the limelight. These were all good things. I attended the affair with “backup” and bailout cash, but it was unnecessary as everyone was on their best behavior. No arrests!

Some ‘not-so-local’ attendees may have thought that the crowd was small, but as a Mercer Countian I was impressed with the turn out. Those that attended were genuinely interested in hearing the candidates (and their representatives speak), and they listened intently to the presentations from nine speakers. I’ve written exhaustively about each of the candidates in the past, so I’ll focus my comments today on some summary thoughts from the evening, a few ‘highlights’, a couple of ‘head scratch moments’, and a photo montage with comments.

Summary

Representing the candidates for Governor, we had Mercer County Commissioner John Lechner speaking on behalf of the Corbett campaign and Ed Henderson was on hand to speak on behalf of the campaign for Sam Rohrer. Once again, Ed Henderson did a stand up job in representing Rohrer’s campaign. He accidentally coined a phrase last night when he stated “Sam’s the Man”. It was an inadvertent slogan, but (in my opinion) it should be adopted campaign wide. In John Lechner’s presentation for Corbett’s campaign he took time to touch on the BonusGate scandal (a topic that is close to my heart). He pointed out that the investigations were not politically driven . . . which I accept, but I would have liked the opportunity to ask one question. “If the investigations weren’t politically driven, why hasn’t the Attorney Generals office gotten actively involved in the Jane Orie investigation with the same intensity?” This was just a question that I had at the top of my head, but, unfortunately, NO QUESTIONS were accepted from the audience. Bummer.

Who was on hand to represent the candidates for Lt. Governor? No one. Not a single individual showed up to discuss the candidacies of nine different Republicans that are competing for the nomination in the Primary. Hmmm. Was it disinterest on the part of the campaigns or was it lack of effort on the part of the event planners to notify the candidates of the opportunity? The Mercer GOP has a history of only inviting the candidates that they actually want to attend the event, so this may not have been a simple clerical error. Either way, it was a missed opportunity for the candidates and it was a missed opportunity for concerned citizens to be educated about their choices.

Were Senatorial candidates represented? I suppose you could say “sort of”. Committee Chairman Dave King told everyone that they should vote for Pat Toomey, but he failed to mention that Toomey has a Republican opponent in the race in Peg Luksik. Rather than providing an informative presentation of ALL of the names on the ballot, Dr. King choose to focus his attention on the GOP’s personal horse in the race. Again, this is the norm for the Mercer GOP, but as a matter of fairness I found the move despicable. The obvious attempt to insult Ms. Luksik was mentioned to me MORE THAN ONCE by concerned attendees. Shame on Dr. King and the Mercer County GOP for lacking open-door and even-handed political policies . . . but are we really surprised?

The big race in the area is for the 3rd Congressional District and all six candidates were personally on hand for this gathering. Dr. Martha Moore, Mike Kelly, Ed Franz, Paul Huber, Steve Fisher, and Clayton Grabb were all provided an opportunity to speak. Having listened to these candidates present their platforms more times than I can count, I’ll admit that there was very little ‘new material’ for me to report from last night, but I’ll try.

Dr. Martha Moore has managed to re-invented herself. She has embraced herself for exactly what she is and she makes no attempt to morph into something that she is not. She is a straight-shootin’, no-bologna-talkin’, firecracker of a concerned citizen. She spoke from the heart with levity and quirkiness that has gained her a bit of a “Betty White following”. She has become the highlight of events and I have become a real fan. God Bless Dr. Martha Moore.

Mike Kelly drew the short straw when he was selected to speak AFTER Dr. Moore. She is tough act to follow. His points were basically the same. He made one comment that I thought was worth repeating. When describing his role as a business owner he said “You can get through the good times with a smile on your face, and you get the through not-so-good times with a bigger smile on your face”. I found the comment humorous as one of the main complaints that I’ve had with Mr. Kelly is his inability to ‘put a smile’ on his face in an effort to hide his anger. I thought the irony was funny.

Ed Franz’ message was pretty much the same as usual. I would like to point out to Mr. Franz that he really shouldn’t continue to repeat (time and time again) about how he supported “conservative candidates like Phil English”. As a conservative, Mr. Franz, your choice of friends doesn’t impress me, and your desire to repeat it to the crowd at each and event makes me laugh. I’d admit that Ed did switch it up just a bit last night when he mentioned that (aside from supporting Phil English) he has also worked for the campaigns of Michele Brooks and Bob Robbins. Hmmmm. Good to know, and thanks for the info. As a “conservative”, it is good to see his choice of friends. In a musical reference that is loosely tied to the great “Meatloaf” I say “One Out of Three Ain’t Bad”.

Paul Huber was himself. He has a polished delivery and a packaged message that hasn’t changed much. His jokes and delivery are good, but they don’t change from one presentation to the next. There was nothing about last night that stood out to me, although he did get into some deep discussions with attendees when the meeting broke out into individual conversations. He worked the crowd well.

The most memorable part of Steve Fisher’s evening was Chairman King’s introduction of Mr. Fisher as “Mike Fisher” rather than “Steve Fisher”. Steve politely and light-heartedly corrected Dr. King’s error (which made Steve look great), but in the end Dr. King made himself look like a dufus (which was not a long trip). As with my earlier note that the Mercer GOP failed to fairly represent ALL of the Republican candidates, Dr. King highlights how out-of-touch the County Committee is by failing to know the candidates names. I know each and every one of the 3rd Congressional Candidates on sight (and, in return, they all know me . . . it is referred to as mutual respect). Dr. King should have done his homework. It was, perhaps, a Freudian slip, but I don’t forgive him for it either way. It was unprofessional to say the least. Steve Fisher wasn’t phased and he managed to present himself with the same positive and upbeat message that he offers at each event. It is worth noting that Steve Fisher and his campaign showed their commitment to the people of Mercer County with a forma information booth at the event (the only candidate that took time and effort to do so), and he seemed to have a large team on hand to handle questions and engage the attendees. Steve Fisher showed a commitment and seriousness that was not matched at this particular gathering.

Clayton Grabb did not disappoint. Surprisingly Dr. King “allowed” Mr. Grabb to speak, which was a relief (knowing that Dr. King has not been shy about his dislike for “Tea Party Candidates” like Clayton). Mr. Grabb did not hold back and again used his quote “My Republican Party has left us down before”, which was met with nods across the crowd (and an unapproving look from Dr. King). Mr. Grabb’s big quote of the night also made it in The Herald when he stated “I’m not going to work with Obama, I will be going there to cut him off at the knees, to make sure he doesn’t do anymore damage to this country of ours”. Clayton’s message doesn’t change from one venue to the next, but it is always spot-on and connects with those in attendance.

In Closing . . .

It was the Mercer County GOP’s night to shine . . . and they did not. The Committee leadership did what they always do . . . they attempted to hijack an event with the eventual goal of hijacking an election.

If you’d like another angle on the night’s events, I suggest that you read a post by my fellow Mercer County blogger, Rich Talbert HERE.

In the words of Rich Talbert, “(Chairman) King MUST Resign”.

Photo Montage with Comments:

The Steve Fisher campaign was well represented with a full promotional booth and numerous representatives (below).

Ed Henderson of Stoneboro (below) was on hand to represent Sam Rohrer, candidate for Governor.

Before the formal presentations began, I was able to catch some shots of candidates mixing with the attendees. Here is Paul Huber (below) discussing issues with constituents.

Mike Kelly (below) is having a serious discussion with attendees.

Clayton Grabb (below) is sharing his thoughts with some interested locals.

Ed Franz (below) chatting it up with friends and concerned citizens.

Dr. King (below) presented the opening announcements and closing statements. He managed to promote the candidates that he supports and attempted to stumble over those he does not. His preferences were clear. [As a side note, the duct tape on the decorative photo of Lincoln was a nice touch. The tape has a strikingly familiar look which is similar to a Mercer GOP yard sign mis-hap from last year. Perhaps Dr. King and his crew need to realize that transparent tape was invented YEARS ago. I’ll be glad o provide them with an 89 cent roll next time I see them.]


Dr. Martha Moore (below) was the first to speak. She admitted later that she was unprepared, but that is generally when she is at her best.

Steve Fisher (below) addressed the crowd. He and his staff were on hand to answer questions and to discuss issues.

As always, just my opinion.

~Mercer County Conservatives

3rd Congressional District: BUTLER EVENT URGENT NOTICE

PA-3rd Congressional District Republican Candidate Forum
Proposed for Sunday – May 2, 2010
Location: Odd Fellows Gazebo-Alameda Park Butler, PA
Time: 2 PM to 5 PM

4/30/2010

We the undersigned candidates for the May 18 Republican Primary for US Congress PA-3rd District have elected to rescind our invitations to the Tea Party proposed by Freedom Patriots to be held at 252 Pittsburgh Road Butler, PA on Sunday, May 2nd.

After much deliberation and mutual agreement, we feel that the location of the venue offered as courtesy by Candidate Mike Kelly to the Tea Party organizers presents a non-neutral setting for the other candidates to present themselves and their positions in an open forum.

The property for the venue is part of Mr. Kelly’s business we have come to understand, and in light of this fact we have mutually proposed an alternate setting for an open candidate forum.

The event will be held from 2 PM to 5 PM on the same day at a location convenient to attendees from the original event and others to come hear the candidates speak. The location also provides under cover shelter should the forecast for rain that day hold. This will be a no frills event strictly to inform voters, and Mr. Kelly is more than welcome to join this event and speak with his fellow candidates at a neutral setting.

We extend our sincerest apologies to Freedom Patriots for any inconvenience, and hope that they recognize the need for fair and open debate in all aspects of this very critical election cycle for voters.

The location of the PA-3rd Congressional District Republican Candidate Forum will be at:

Odd Fellows Gazebo
Alameda Park
Butler County Parks and Recreation
184 Alameda Road
Butler, PA 16001

With Kind Regards,
(in alphabetical order)

Steven Fisher
Ed Franz
Clayton Grabb
Paul Huber
Martha Moore

ANNOUNCEMENT UPDATE–PLEASE READ:

After this announcement was received and published, we were notified by the Steve Fisher campaign that this announcement was sent out without his prior approval. Steve Fisher’s response to this announcement is published HERE.

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NOT AS SHEEP by Dr. Steven Porter

Summary provided by Roberta Biros

Please read these comments from Dr. Steven Porter. Dr. Porter and I have discussed the topic of independent candidates personally, and I valued his input and comments. He is “spot on” with his post on the topic [READ HERE]!

Dr. Porter is very closely tied to our area. He ran for Congress in 2004 and 2006. Most recently he ran for Congress in the 3rd District as an unaffiliated independent in 2008 against Republican Phil English and Democrat Kathy Dahlkemper. After gathering FAR MORE signatures that were necessary on his nomination papers, Dr. Porter’s petitions were challenged by political insiders in an effort to keep him OUT of the election. The political insiders won their legal challenge. They may have prevented Dr. Porter’s name from being included on the ballot, but they did not “defeat him”.

Dr. Porter remains a political activist and he is confident that good government directed by “the People” is still within our reach. Read his comments HERE, and you’ll understand what I’m talking about.

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Mercer County GOP Meet and Greet: Supporting Conservative Candidates or Selfish Self Promotion of Incumbents and Endorsed Candidates?

Written by Roberta Biros

It is with mixed emotions that I post this event announcement today. The event is sponsored by the Mercer County GOP and the details are provided below:

EVENT ANNOUNCEMENT

Meet and Greet of Republican Candidates
Thursday, April 29, 2010
Hempfield Station One
6th Avenue
Greenville, PA
7PM – 9PM

First, the event is a wonderful opportunity for the candidates that are facing challengers in the Primary (only three weeks away) to meet, mix, and mingle with the people of Mercer County. I am completely supportive of that concept, and I have attended more than my share of similar events in the past six weeks. I will be attending this event (as I have all of the others in the area) to document who is there and what they have to say. I do this to provide information to the voters of the area so that they are well informed when they go to the polls on May 18th. I also spend the time and effort in covering these events because NO ONE ELSE IN THE PRESS WILL. I write about all of the political activities in the area because we need to STIMILATE INTEREST in this election in order to generate REAL CHANGE in November.

Unfortunately, there are some that believe that this particular Meet and Greet may be hijacked by incumbent politicians in an effort to promote themselves (rather than the candidates that are struggling to win their respective Primaries). The two-hour event should be focused candidates for Governor, Lt. Governor, and Congress (3rd and 4th Districts). IT SHOULD NOT be spent on incumbents that have no opponents in the Primary or (in some cases) no opponents in the General Election.

If Senator Bob Robbins, Representative Michele Brooks, and Representative Dick Stevenson show up with the intention of upstaging the Primary candidates, they should be booted off the stage. (even better, they should be booted OUT OF OFFICE, but I digress)

I urge all of you to attend the event tomorrow night in order to educate yourself about the candidates that are competing in the Primary. I also urge you to watch carefully at “who” is politicking and “who” is there to simply support the conservative candidates that are seeking a place on the ballot in the fall.

I am committed to informing the people of Mercer County, the voters of northwest Pennsyvania, and the taxpayers of Pennsylvania of ALL political activities . . . good and bad. I present information in this forum in an effort to educate and stimulate. You are free to form your own opinion, but I think it is important that you have access to ALL of the details.

A Side Note:

I have a funny feeling that some attempt will be made to prevent me from attending this event. I intend on walking in and documenting the activities just as I have done since mid-March. I “dare them” to attempt to stop me.

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3rd Congressional Candidates Debate the Issues Again: Who will be the one to send Congresswoman Kathy Dahlkemper packing?

Written by Roberta Biros

Last night I attended another formal debate of the 3rd Congressional District Republican Candidates. The event was sponsored by Allegheny College and was held at Quigley Hall on the Allegheny College Campus. It was another standing-room-only event as it was a rare opportunity for the people of the 3rd Congressional District to determine which candidate can best represent them when we send Kathy Dahlkemper home in November.

All six candidates were in attendance. In order on the stage from left to right were Steve Fisher, Ed Franz, Clayton Grabb, Paul Huber, Mike Kelly, and Martha Moore.

The last formal debate was held a month ago on March 25th in Grove City (read about it HERE). It may have only been 4 weeks ago, but it seems like a lifetime. The last four weeks have been packed with events, get-togethers, meet-n-greets, fundraisers, and tea parties for all six of the Republican candidates . . . and the bloggers that follow them. The grueling schedule is beginning to take its toll on everyone involved, but it hasn’t dampened our determination to push through to November.

At the debate that was held a month ago, we met six candidates that were fresh, unpolished, and unique. Four weeks later, the six candidates are beginning to meld into one and other. The have all had an opportunity to tweak their presentations, and some are actually stealing each others quotes (i.e, I believe it was Ed Franz that stole Martha Moore’s “enough is enough” quote last night and it made me laugh).

I documented the entire evening, but you all know that I’m not one to simply provide a laundry list of the evening’s events. No, I’d prefer to paint you an abstract portrait of the highlights and lowlights of the night.

Highlights?

Anyone that attended last night’s event would agree hands down that the “star” of the evening was Dr. Martha Moore. At the debate in Grove City, Dr. Moore was noticeably nervous and she struggled at times to find the words to properly describe her stand on issues. That was simply not the case last night as Dr. Moore has found a comfortable place in just shooting straight from the hip. “Like what?”, you ask. Allow me to provide a few sound bites:

When discussing why she was running for office, Dr. Moore stated “Because I don’t want to be nauseated every time that I hear the President of the United States speak.”

She made a reference to a patient that recently visited her office who has over $90K in outstanding medical bills. She stated “Call Kathy Dahlkemper (and ask her to pay your bill)”.

When referring to the recent health care reform bill she stated “that stupid bill they passed . . . just stupid”.

The most precious references that Dr. Moore made were during her closing statements where she literally brought down the house. For instance . . . “When I go to Washington, I’m going to say NO a lot. They are going to say that I’m from the party of no’, but I’m the party of ‘STOP THIS’”.

I applaud Martha Moore for offering us “Martha Moore Unplugged” last night. She brought a level of straight talk and humor to an otherwise serious and sometimes lifeless event. I’ve said it before and I’ll take this opportunity to say it again. I really respect Dr. Moore for standing up as a concerned citizen and becoming involved in this race. I still don’t believe that she is necessarily the best choice to become our next Congresswoman, but I appreciate the perspective that she brings to the table. She says the things that many of us are thinking . . . but we’ve never actually said out loud, and because she is a candidate she is able to inject those thoughts directly into the formal debate conversation.

Her participation in last night’s event was “priceless”.

Interesting Notes on Each Candidate

I’d like to point out some interesting statements from each of the candidates presented in the order of the seating arrangement on the stage from left to right.


Steve Fisher

Steve Fisher continues to illustrate that he is the perfect mix of grassroots candidate and qualified representative. He presents himself as a “Statesman” and not a politician. He is polished in all the right places, but he remains human (and appropriately ‘unpolished’) in the way that he connects with the people of this area. He is sincere, honest, and approachable but also projects an unmatched level of confidence and professionalism.

On issues of the budget, Mr. Fisher pointed out that we need to make decisions that are “good for us”. He pointed out that too much attention goes to how our budgetary decisions will affect China and Japan and that we need to concentrate on how those decisions will affect us first.” He suggested that we reestablish an impartial review of the federal government and possible inefficiencies through an investigation similar to the Grace Commission (that was established during the Reagan administration).

In response to issues of our military and his willingness to respond to a strike against the United States, Mr. Fisher first stated that he is concerned “about how thin our military is stretched” and whether they are receiving the support that they need. He also pointed out that we need to “forget political correctness”.

In his closing comments, Mr. Fisher made a great statement worth noting. He said “I am not a politician. I plan on serving a maximum of three terms and coming back to the area to work in the insurance industry . . . if there is an insurance industry to come back to”.

Ed Franz

Ed Franz positions himself as the man who can “represent the average taxpayer in Washington DC”. He pointed out that “inside the beltway politicians have concentrated on healthcare legislation and not the health of this nation”.

Mr. Franz made reference to the “800 lb gorilla in the back of the room”. Some may have thought he was referring to one blogger that was seated in the last row of the auditorium, but he was referring to “the national debt”. Mr. Franz wants to be the voice in the debate that represents the average taxpayer.

Regarding budget deficits, Mr. Franz made his stand clear when he stated “We need to get out of deficit spending. We need to get out of financing bills and legislation that we cannot afford.” It was a short statement, but it hit at the heart of the problem.

In a humorus moment of the evening, Mr. Franz was discussing his thoughts on the strength of the military and his stand on responding to a strike on the US. To quote “If we are attacked we should hunt them down.” He then went on to discuss a reference to a movie . . . “Patton”, and he stated “Wasn’t that the way a war should be fought.” The reference sent chuckles across the crowd.

Clayton Grabb

Clayton Grabb continues to prove that he is the anti-politician. His concerns are not for “the Party” but for “the People”. He started by explaining why he decided to run for office. He stated “I believe our constitution is under attack”. He then went on to explain “I got tired of holding my nose to go and vote in the past. My Republican Party has left us down before. We need someone that will go to DC and stand up for the people and tell it like it is.” It is statements like these that explain why Mr. Grabb is not embraced by the Republican Party, but is, instead, embraced by people who have experienced the same frustrations . . . which are many.

He continued to separate him self from politicians by saying “(we need to elect people to) do the people’s work and then go home . . . we need a citizen legislator that does not want to be there.” (emphasizing that once they get there they get too comfortable)

When it comes to budgetary issues, Mr. Grabb offers common sense solutions to that too. He stated “How about we cut all government hiring. The government is the only sector of our economy that is growing right now. . . . we cannot continue to grow our government . . . the more (people) that depend on government the harder it will be for people like us to get in there and stop it.”

Regarding issues of the military, Mr. Grabb stated “We need to pull the politicians out (of the decision making process) and let the military do what it needs to do. We need to do what is necessary to be the biggest baddest dog on the block.”

Paul Huber

Paul Huber remains firm on his position as the businessman with the experience needed to represent us in Washington DC. In his opening statement his first words were “I’m a life long social and fiscal conservative”. I mention this because it raised a few eyebrows in the crowd as some people have questioned the fact that Mr. Huber only became a Republican last year.

Mr. Huber did, however, manage to present a very conservative stand on fiscal issues including his statement on budgetary issues as “I’m proposing that we go to 2009 levels of spending and that includes legislative salaries as well. It is a step in the right direction that sends the right message to the financial markets and the American people that we are serious about this.” Mr. Huber’s ideas for tackling economic problems are aggressive and bold and I like that.

Regarding job creation in our area, Mr. Huber offered a great explanation of the problem as “government doesn’t create jobs . . . they create an environment where jobs are destroyed or they can create an environment where free enterprise can create jobs”. Mr. Huber continues to offer the prospective of a business person, and he is quite clear on his vision of how that prospective is desperately needed in Washington DC.

Mike Kelly

Mike Kelly also offers the business owner angle, and he is quite direct in his approach. Unlike Huber (who is polished and refined), Mike Kelly offers similar ideas but with an extra “edge”. When explaining “why” he was running he simply stated “because none of us ran before.” He further explained that “We were all responsible people sitting back and didn’t have time to get involved . . . We forfeited our future . . . it is time to get people like ‘us’ into office.”

Regarding the issue of term limits, Mr. Kelly made his stand clear when he stated “people are sitting too long in the same spot and they aren’t held accountable.”

In response to a question regarding budget deficits and the President’s plan to freeze discretionary spending, Mr. Kelly boldly stated “I have a problem listening to anything that Obama says and taking it seriously.” Again in referencing the President he said “We’ve got a 3 yr old running the highest powered locomotive on earth.”

Mr. Kelly’s most important point of the evening was his repeated reference to “it’s the spending, stupid”. He continues to press the common-sense idea that spending needs to be addressed before this nation can move forward on anything. I agree.

Mr. Kelly did attempt to address recent comments that he “comes across as angry”. He explained that people might get that impression because “he is angry”. He explained that he is angry about the problems that we are facing in this country and he is serious about fixing them.

As a side note . . . After the debate I did ask Mr. Kelly that the next time he wants to quote me directly I only ask that he give me a public shout out. This is, of course, a reference to the fact that my written statements regarding Mr. Kelly were the catalyst to the conversations about his “anger”. Mike and I laughed about it and I reassured him that “I think he is just a big teddy bear”.

Martha Moore

Aside from the comments that I’ve already made regarding Dr. Moore, there were other points that did not go unnoticed. Regarding finding solutions to fiscal issues, she stated “don’t look to the Government to fix problems that the Government created”. It isn’t just a great quote . . . it is the truth.

Regarding budgetary issues and a proposed freeze on discretionary spending, Dr. Moore stated “a miniscule part of the budget is what he is freezing . . . then he passes a bill that will cost 2.4 trillion dollars . . . they said 1.4 trillion but they lied.” She then went on to explain “We are going to have to tackle the big items.” As a possible solution, she suggested that “we need to audit the federal government”, and I completely agree.

One key difference between the candidates?

After almost two months of following these candidates from event to event I was surprised last night when an issue surfaced which drew a very definitive line of distinction between them. That issue was regarding campaign financing and specifically the Supreme Court ruling on “Citizens United v. FEC”.

The issue has multiple facets that generated great conversation. The first is an issue regarding the First Amendment and free speech, and the second issue is that of campaign financing and the idea of “deep pockets buying elections”.

All of the candidates were in agreement on the issue of free speech (no shock there), but there were additional comments made by some that highlighted a serious problem regarding political campaigns in general.

Mike Kelly felt that the ruling helped to “even the playing field”. He explained that “corporations shouldn’t be pouring this much money into elections, but when you look at how the Democrats raise money you need to level the playing field.”

In drastic contrast, Steve Fisher was clearly against the concept of corporations funding elections. He stated “We spend far too much on elections already. I don’t think that corporations should be allowed to spend money to buy votes and buy elections.” He further explained “there is big difference between dollars between many candidates, but to take corporate money and throw it in there is unfair”. As a grassroots candidate, Fisher has experienced first had how deep pockets and large bank accounts can make the election process a particularly uneven playing field.

Ed Franz agreed with the Supreme Court ruling but emphasized that “we need to watch what special interests are financing which candidates . . . the voters need to keep an eye (on the process)”.

Clayton Grabb also agreed with the Supreme Court ruling and supported his comments by saying that “corporations ARE you and I”. However, as another grassroots candidate, he was quick to point out that “Campaigns should not cost what they cost!” [I say “Amen” to that.] He further went on to explain exactly how “big money comes in and they buy the Primary”. In closing he reminded everyone that the “grassroots people are the ones that need to be represented”.

Paul Huber agreed with the Supreme Court ruling, and he seemed to have no problem with the concept of corporations funding elections.

This specific debate drew very clear lines for me. 2010 is an election year that offers very stark contrasts. It is a year that pits “deep pockets” against “grassroots Average Joe’s” (as in the race for the 3rd Congressional District). It is a year that battles “endorsed candidates” against “unendorsed candidates” (read an example HERE). It is a year that will put unaffiliated Independents up against 20-year entrenched incumbents (read an example HERE).

In summary, 2010 is the year of David vs. Goliath.

In the race for the 3rd Congressional District, David is represented by Steve Fisher, Ed Franz, Clayton Grabb, and Martha Moore. Goliath is represented by Paul Huber and Mike Kelly. The Primary on May 18th will settle the debate and the battle once and for all.

As always, just my opinion.
~Mercer County Conservatives

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Sam Rohrer Candidate for Governor to be in Mercer on April 24th

EVENT ANNOUNCEMENTS

Come Hear SAM ROHRER and ask questions. A Grass Roots, Tea Party Conservative, And a True Constitutional Republican.

WHEN
APRIL 24TH 4:00 – 5:00 P.M.
(After the Tea Party in Mercer)

WHERE
BRANDY SPRINGS PARK (get a map HERE)
COMMUNITY CENTER, MERCER

the SAM ROHRER
FREEDOM AGENDA

Private Property Rights – Repeal the school property tax
2nd Amendment – Constitutionally protected gun rights
4th Amendment – Personal privacy rights
10th Amendment – Protection against the Federal Govt

the SAM ROHRER
FAMILY AGENDA

Pro Life & Pro Family
1st Amendment protection of religious expression
Parental rights and educational choices

MercerCountyForSam@yahoo.com

NOTICE:
This event announcement was submitted by the Candidate or by a Candidate representative. The event announcement is being published here as a community service in an effort to give concerned citizens an opportunity to meet the candidates. Candidates and committees are invited to submit announcements to this blog by email to roberta.in.mercer@gmail.com.

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