Category Archives: Politics

GOV. TOM RIDGE ON AWARDING THE 2016 DEMOCRATIC NATIONAL CONVENTION TO PHILADELPHIA

// // in Company, Government, Politics

The Honorable Tom Ridge, Pennsylvania’s 43rd Governor, today issued the following statement on the decision by the DNC to award the 2016 Democratic National Convention to Philadelphia:

 

“When it comes to large-scale events, few do it better than Philadelphia. As my friend and former Governor Ed Rendell and I have been telling anyone who would listen, Philadelphia showcases the perfect blend of American history with cosmopolitan appeal. Philadelphia put on quite a show for the Republican Convention 15 years ago and will no doubt do the same when the Democrats come to town. Congratulations to Mayor Nutter and all those who worked tirelessly to prepare and submit the winning bid.”

Tom Ridge: On immigration, Obama oversteps and Republicans miss an opportunity

// // in Company, Politics

 

(The Patriot-News, Nov. 23) – Watching President Barack Obama’s immigration speech – invoking executive powers fitting of a leader from a bygone era – I thought for a moment he was channeling Cecil B. DeMille.

 

You remember that famous scene from The Ten Commandments? The one where Yul Brynner’s Egyptian pharaoh proclaims, “So let it be written. So let it be done?”

 

I thought we Americans decided to drop the ‘king thing’ a few centuries ago (and pharaohs just a few years before that).

 

Yet there was our President, quoting scripture reminiscent of a Hollywood blockbuster while once again ignoring the separation of powers – despite a résumé showing him to have been a constitutional lawyer.

 

As troubling as is our President’s disregard for the constitution, his actions on immigration underscore an even larger problem for my Republican Party. I am often asked whom I will be backing for president in 2016. My answer remains, we need to focus less on the messenger and more on the message.

 

And with immigration, Republicans have yet again missed a critical messaging opportunity by not leading on a comprehensive immigration-reform package. Most polls I’ve seen say Americans don’t like the use of broad executive orders. But it doesn’t mean they won’t accept a well-crafted immigration-reform package.

 

It was not at all surprising that President Obama traveled to a Las Vegas community with a large Hispanic population to sign his executive order.

 

Not long ago, the Republican Party was welcoming to Hispanics. That has largely changed in recent years because of missed opportunities such as this one.

 

Many pundits have credited our nation’s growing Hispanic population with helping the President to win re-election in 2012.

 

If Republicans cannot do better with the Hispanic vote in two years, winning back the White House will be that much more difficult.

 

By digging in their heels and refusing to negotiate a bi-partisan immigration package, Republicans in Congress have essentially told Hispanic voters this is not a priority and have now allowed the President to lead, albeit in a misguided direction.

 

The fact is the blanket condemnation of illegal immigrants and the failure to find a way to at least legitimize the status of those who have been law abiding since their arrival is wrong and a grave political mistake.

 

And it leaves me concerned about the Republican Party’s brand, our message and our future.

 

In order to govern, Republicans must win national elections. To do so the narcissists and ideologues within our party need to understand that Americans are looking for real not rhetorical solutions to problems such as immigration.

 

They are not attracted to a party that projects an unacceptable rigidity and self-righteousness on social issues, and spends more time and energy objecting to bad law rather than proposing alternatives.

 

If we are to win in 2016, we will win because we worked together. Right now, we seem more focused on the messenger – rather than the message. But if we look back at the icons of the Republican Party, each one had a vision.

 

Lincoln’s was emancipation. Teddy Roosevelt’s was an environment and economy preserved for future generations. Reagan’s was cut taxes and ‘tear down that wall’.

 

What will be our message of the 2016 election? And will that message appeal to a broad array of voters? Or will it be a message that seeks to prey on our differences and fears, rather than our shared goals?

 

Those are the questions that require my Party’s full attention and the lessons from this immigration debacle.

 

Tom Ridge, the first U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security and the 43rd Governor of Pennsylvania, is the CEO of Ridge Global in Washington, DC. 

 

Full article may be found HERE.

Former Gov. Tom Ridge looks “forward to being helpful” to Gov.-elect Tom Wolf

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The Patriot-News (November 4, 2014) – Former Gov. Tom Ridge has issued the following statement about Tuesday’s election results that resulted in a victory for Democrat Tom Wolf and the defeat of GOP incumbent Tom Corbett:

 

“My friend, Tom Corbett, arrived to work at the Capitol four years ago when Harrisburg was in historically difficult fiscal times. He kept his word, made some very tough, yet necessary, decisions and did a good job as Governor. Michele and I thank Tom and Susan for their years of public service and wish them nothing but the best.

 

“Tonight we must respect the voters’ decision to go in a different direction for Pennsylvania. I wish Tom Wolf and his team well as they embark on a new and exciting journey into office. Governor-elect Wolf deserves every opportunity to be successful and I look forward to being helpful in any way that I can.

 

Original article may be found here.

Tom Ridge Discusses President Obama’s Handling of ISIS Thus Far, Moving Forward

// // in Company, Foreign Policy, Government, Politics

Entire article can be read here: Tom Ridge likes Obama’s handling of Islamic State threat so far

 

Ahead of President Barack Obama’s speech to the nation on his plans for combating Islamic State militants in Iraq and Syria, former Gov. Tom Ridge praised the president’s steps so far in handling the foreign crisis.

 

“I think the president has gone about it the right way,” Ridge said.

 

When Obama speaks to the country later tonight, Ridge said, he expects him to say ISIS is a short-term and potential long-term threat to the United States, western Europe and the Middle East. “I look forward to him making a strong case for America’s re-engagement,” Ridge said.

 

Based on that multi-national threat, Ridge said, he also expects Obama to lay out a plan to build a coalition of forces of European and Middle Eastern countries that are willing and able to join in the fight, which must be taken inside Syria, he said. Ridge predicted the president will tell citizens that the military will use its strong air power to strike at ISIS and supply Iraqi and Kurdish forces.

 

“I don’t think we need to put boots on the ground,” Ridge said.

 

But, Ridge warned, citizens should not be naive enough not to understand that ground troops, at least in the form of special forces, could one day be needed to combat ISIS.

 

“We should not deny that possibility,” Ridge said.

Tom Ridge: 2016 presidential hopefuls need a vision for world leadership

// // in Company, Foreign Policy, Government, Politics

BY TOM RIDGE

Entire piece can be read here: http://www.unionleader.com/article/20140220/OPINION02/140229985

 

Although mid-term elections draw near, presidential hopefuls already have begun to make those critical pilgrimages to the Granite State. Those who aspire to move to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue in 2016 must share with us their view on America’s place in the world. They must convince us that their vision is best suited to grow our economy and enhance our national security.

 

Clearly, within the contemporary political environment, there is support for a fortress America with both economic and political isolationists withdrawing to focus on America first. I believe those views are flawed. Markets are global. Threats are global. To meet the opportunities and answer the challenges, we must be more engaged, not less. We cannot be an observer. We must be an active player using the various tools of influence that can affect outcomes in our best interests.

 

Passivity and inaction are rarely effective strategies. Although we are rightfully war weary today, we should never preclude the use of our military in the future when the circumstances require us to do so. If it is truly the final option, and it should be, we should not hesitate to use the tools of “soft power,” diplomacy and developmental assistance.

 

Our national security demands we use the tools to either prevent new conflicts or preserve military gains. Look no further than the counsel of General James Mattis, U.S. Central Command, who told Congress, “If you don’t fully fund the State Department, then I need to buy more ammunition.” The pervasive threat of terrorism lurks throughout the world. One of the most effective ways to preempt or at least mitigate the threat is through the targeted use of the U.S. international affair programs.

 

Spin the globe and you’ll discover countries and regions confronting horrific human conditions — hunger, disease, violence, natural disasters. Many of these become fertile regions for recruitment and the spread of anti-American, anti-Western favor. It’s in our best interests to address these humanitarian needs now with the possibility of avoiding military involvement in the future.

 

And, let’s not forget, America’s economic fate is tied directly to actions and markets around the world. While it is understandable that we focus on economic uncertainty here at home, we should never allow ourselves to think for a moment that our prosperity and our jobs aren’t connected to the economic pulse of a global market.

America cannot afford to ignore domestic growth opportunities connected with emerging overseas markets, particularly developing countries, which consume over half of our exports. Ninety-five percent of our potential consumers for “Buy America” live elsewhere.

 

New Hampshire exported more than $3.5 billion in goods and services to our foreign markets in 2012. More than one in five jobs is tied to trade. Twenty-five percent of all manufacturing workers in New Hampshire depend on exports for their jobs. Commercial diplomacy and developments build a foundation for U.S. business to enter these markets where citizens and governments seek American goods and services.

 

PA Senate confirms three statewide nominations

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By a vote of 42-8 the Senate voted to confirm Christopher Abruzzo as secretary of the Department of Environmental Protection. Abruzzo, Corbett’s former deputy chief of staff and a former prosecutor in the Attorney General’s Office, had served as acting DEP secretary since the departure of Michael Krancer in March.

The Senate also unanimously approved the nomination of Ellen Ferretti as secretary of the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources overseeing the state’s parks and forests. Ferretti has served as acting secretary since DCNR Secretary Richard Allan’s departure in June.

Jennifer Storm, former executive director of the Dauphin County Victim / Witness Assistance Program, was confirmed Tuesday as the state’s new victim advocate.

Senate Committee Positions DPW Name Change for Final Vote

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HARRISBURG – The drive to change the name of the Department of Public Welfare to the Department of Human Services took an important step forward today with the Senate Health and Welfare Committee’s approval of a House-passed name-change bill.

The committee voted 9 to 2 to send House Bill 993 to the Senate floor for final consideration. It is expected that the bill will receive a final vote the Senate when the General Assembly returns to voting sessions in January.

The committee, chaired by Sen. Pat Vance, a Cumberland County Republican, voted on the bill at the urging of Sen. Robert Mensch, R-Montgomery, who had earlier introduced an identical version in the Senate. Mensch indicated to Senate leaders he was willing to move the House bill so that the name change could be completed more quickly. The House bill was authored by Rep. Thomas Murt, R-Montgomery.

“We thank the committee for taking this important step to move the name change close to a final vote,” said Brian Schreiber, chair of the Greater Pittsburgh Nonprofit Partnership and a leader of the Campaign for What Works. “Changing the name of the department is long overdue. Pennsylvania is finally close to being in sync with the rest of the nation by removing the word “welfare” from it human services agency.”

About Campaign for What Works – Campaign for What Works is a statewide coalition initiated by United Way of Allegheny County, the Greater Pittsburgh Nonprofit Partnership, The Pittsburgh Foundation, and The Forbes Funds to ensure the future of our vital human service programs and, above all, the wellbeing of the people they serve. More than 70 organizations belong to the coalition.

Today on the Hill

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11:00am – House is in Session
1:00pm – Senate is in Session

Committee Meetings:

House Children and Youth – 9:00am
To consider: SB24, SB29, SB33

House Education – 9:00am
Public hearing on: HB1506

Joint Legislative Budget & Finance Committee – 9:30am
Meeting to release reports on (1) The Status of Special Education for Gifted Students in the Commonwealth; and (2) Philadelphia’s Use of Gaming Funds

Senate Democratic Policy Committee – 9:30am
Joint policy roundtable discussion with the Senate Republican Policy Committee on the issue of property tax relief for Pennsylvanians, to examine ways of reforming the current system for homeowners, business owners and senior citizens facing property tax increases

Senate Republican Policy Committee – 9:30am
Joint policy roundtable discussion with the Senate Democratic Policy Committee on the issue of property tax relief for Pennsylvanians, to examine ways of reforming the current system for homeowners, business owners and senior citizens facing property tax increases

House State Government – 10:00am
To consider: HB1271, HR414, HR71

House Judiciary – 10:00am
To consider: HB452, HB587, HB1863, SB689, SB1024

Senate Local Government – 10:00am
To consider: SB1185, SB1189, HB1529, HB1617

Senate Public Health and Welfare – 10:30am
To consider: SR61, SB384, HB993, HB1656

Senate Veterans and Emergency Preparedness – 11:00am
To consider: SB1146, HB807

Senate Judiciary – 12:00pm
To hold confirmation hearings on The Honorable Patricia H. Jenkins, Judge, Superior Court, Jennifer R. Storm, Victim Advocate and John P. Williams, Jr., M.D., MBA, Board of Pardons

House Appropriations – Off the Floor
Agenda TBA

House Human Services – Off the Floor
To consider: HB1298, HR544

PA Governor to sign historic transportation funding bill

// // in Government, Politics

Pennsylvania Governor, Tom Corbett will sign into law today a significant piece of legislation to address the Commonwealth’s transportation needs. After much debate, the $2.3 billion transportation bill was passed 113-86 in the GOP-controlled House. It passed the Senate on a 43-7 vote on Wednesday.

The funding breakdown is $1.65 billion per year for highways and bridges, $476-$497 million per year for mass transit, and $144 million per year to a new multimodal transportation fund. The funding for the bill is provided by an increase in the tax rate on wholesale gasoline purchases, an increase in vehicle registration fees, and an increase in driver’s license fees.