The LuLac Edition #68, October 6th, 2006
PICTURE INDEX: Democrat Mike Carroll on backyard swings with his family, Maureen Tatu his GOP foe for the 118th legislative seat.
DEBATE 2006 118 LEGISLATIVE RACE
Going to the candidate's debate.
Laugh about it, shout about it
When you've got to choose
Every way you look at this you lose.
Pittston Area High School was the setting for a debate Thursday night between Democrat Michael Carroll and Republican standard bearer Maureen Tatu. Both candidates exchanged ideas and proposals on what they would do if elected to the position.
Both candidates came to this race after fighting primary battles in the spring. Carroll bested two Pittston Area School directors Terry Best and James Red Obrien in the Democratic race. Tatu won by a squeaker against Pittston resident and Deputy Sheriff Arthur Bobbouine in an up and down race which was separated by only a few votes.
Initial impressions looking at the candidates close up are these: Carroll sounds like the smartest guy in the room. His command of the facts and experience gave him the edge in the debate. At times he seemed as if he wanted to prove to everyone how much he knew but he softened that problem a bit by being gracious toward his opponent giving her respect for her work as a Supervisor in the Poconos.
Tatu came across as less knowledgeable, and many of her answers were what you’d expect from a standard GOP playbook. But she was passionate in making her points and was not afraid to agree with Carroll on a few issues but also take the gloves off to engage him during the debate.
Here’s a rundown of the issues and what each candidate said:
CARROLL: The Democrat said that no child in the state of Pennsylvania should go without health care. While he praised the CHIP program, he said it should be expanded and that there should be more citizen participation in health care issues. Calling Health care one of the highest priorities, Carroll said that as a legislator he would work with other representatives to reduce the cost of health care.
TATU: Pointing to her experience as a Registered Nurse for 30 years, Tatu made the point that if she were elected, she’d bring vast knowledge to this issue. Saying she’d be the only health care provider in the Legislature, Tatu also took the opportunity to advance her idea of Tort reform, saying that too many big settlements were driving doctors out of the state. She criticized the Governor for not signing the Fair Share Act and said she’d be for establishment of Community Primary Care Centers for the poor and indigent.
CARROLL: The Democrat said Tort Reform and the doctor’s shortage was a trumped up issue and one that has gotten play in both Pennsylvania and surrounding states. Carroll quoted State Senator Pro Tem Robert Jubilier as saying “The physicians shortage doesn’t exist in Pennsylvania anymore”.
TATU: The GOP candidate jumped on that statement opining that there’s many reason why Jubilier lost his bid for re-election after 32 years to the State Senate iu the primary. Stating that Jubilier lost touch with “ground level” issues, Tatu reiterated her claim that doctors are leaving the state and that she wanted to make Pennsylvania a hospitable place for health care. When she said that, a few audience members were seen rolling their eyes.
CARROLL: Said there was no reason to hike the pay given the cost of living adjustments. He said there would be no reason to cast a vote like that and said he’d have no desire to increase state pensions.
TATU: Also said she’d not vote for increase. Said the Pennsylvania legislature was bloated compared to other states pointing to New Hampshire’s lawmakers as just making $100.00 a year.
CARROLL: Said he’d be for a creative atmosphere for job creation, reducing the corporate net income tax and following the lead of the Rendell administration.
TATU: Came up with an innovative answer saying that since the district is 55 to 60% over 55 demographics, then jobs should be created that match the populace and then exported for profit. She pointed to hearing aids and medical supplies.
CARROLL: Scored big audience points when he said he had no desire to re-create the job standards of Malaysia when Tatu referred to globalization as the cost of doing business in the world economy. Carroll said that an even playing field needed to exist but made the point that the federal government makes trade policy and the states need to watch out for their own interests.
TATU: Said that economies needed to supply needs and services but felt that wages for workers should not be out of line with a company making a profit.
CARROLL: Saying “Thank God” for the increase, Carroll said it was long overdue. When asked if he’d vote for another wage increase, Carroll said he’d have to see the specific bill.
TATU: Was for the minimum wage increase but cautioned that it was a “starter” salary and said that future increases would have to be monitored to ensure that small businesses don’t get hurt trying to control wage costs. Carroll questioned Tatu on a former position which she held that the $6.50 increase was quite enough. Tatu responded that the new increase of $7.30 was not that much more and therefore agreed with it.
CARROLL: Saying it was a done deal, Carroll said slots would bring in new jobs, give the state an opportunity to use the proceeds for property tax reform, and noted that licenses already are being awarded.
TATU: Said she was against gambling, recognized it was here but stated that she would not favor expanded gambling. She also said it would increase social ills like poverty, gambling addition, bankruptcy, and quality of neighborhoods. In an almost surreal statement, she said “we’ll see if it (gambling) stays!” In retort to her concern about social ills, Carroll said that the Legislation passed has built in safe guards to provide programs for those anticipated troubles.
During this exchange the candidates got into a difference of opinion on police protection for small towns. Tatu favored state police protection on a county wide force while Carroll retorted that a local police officer can readily respond in times of crisis in his own town. Tatu remarked that Avoca where Carroll is from only has one police officer and Carroll responded that he’d take his one policeman department over a state policeman anytime because of the knowledge the local police have and the response time they could provide over the state police.
During this segment, the debate took an interesting turn when Tatu said Carroll’s family supported the Adult Rehab facility for cocaine abusers. (Personally, I thought it was for alcoholics but no matter!) Carroll responded that he was against the clinic and went to various meetings to express his opposition to the clinic.
CARROLL: Said that no one is against a clean environment. Lauded the work of past officials to clean up the culm banks. Said he’s continue that growth and effort.
TATU: Was for open space preservation, new fuel sources and agricultural preservation. On this matter she took a strange detour saying that if another 911 happened, the Pennsylvania farmers would feed the victims. ??????
CARROLL: Said every community was affected. Indicated that drug and alcohol education must begin in home. Said he was not for uniform sentences on drugs because every case of usage is different.
TATU: Agreed with Carroll about home education, pointed to the success of the DARE programs, said she’d favor longer sentences and even stiffer fines for first time offenses like “$5,000 fines for first time offenders as a deterrent to drug abuse and use.
CARROLL: Touted his because he could. Pointed to AFLCIO, Teachers, and Realtors.
TATU: Her supporters who make the phone calls for her, the PA Right to Work organization, the state Republican committee and the Good Government PAC.
FINAL THOUGHTS AND STATEMENTS:
CARROLL: Pointed to his experience with Congressman Kanjorski, Governor Casey and current Representative John Yudichak. Touting his record, Carroll made the case that he was no political lackey on a government payroll. He told the crowd that every day he went to work, he had no idea what he was going to expect that day but knew whatever it was, it was something he had seen and experienced before. He recounted his ability to get things done and told of his involvement in the 2006 flood saying he spent many hours in the Hanover Area Auditorium with evacuated residents. Carroll said the priorities and promise of the office are unlimited and that his experience of more than twenty years has made him ready to meet the needs and desires of the district. He thanked the League for the debate and asked for the vote of the more than 75 people attending the debate.
TATU: Pointed to her nursing degree, called Carroll’s experience part of the old guard who was in fact tied to the problems in Harrisburg. Tatu recounted her years as a health provider and township official saying that she constantly went to the mat for people, whether it be for health care insurance concerns or government issues. She called herself a new face of hope for Pennsylvania, indicated she was a creative person, and was hoping the voters picked the new blood over the old guard.
DEBATE NOTES…….Debate time temperature was 56 degrees over clear moonlit skies in Greater Pittston……Pittston Area Auditorium facility was roomy, clean, both candidates were on a raised stage with no microphones……….Carroll wore a blue suit, white shirt with what appeared to be a lighter blue metallic tie……..Tatu wore a red blazer, black pants and open toed black flats……………WNEP TV’s Brandy Meng covered the debate. WNEP covers much of this district and with one candidate being from the Poconos and one from Luzerne County, the news and viewer interest was evident…..Current representative Tom Tigue who chose not to run again after 26 years was in attendance. Tigue supported Carroll in the spring primary and many say his support was critical to Carroll’s success. Tigue greeted old friends and supporters as he exited the debate…….Former Mayor James McNulty of Scranton attended. McNulty said he thought Carroll did well in the debate displaying a record of competence. McNulty, in the interest of full disclosure said he did consulting work for Carroll’s candidacy helping with media and signage. The former Mayor is an advertising genius when it comes to political campaigns cutting his teeth on that memorable 1971 Lackawanna County Commissioner’s race that brought the Luger and Pettenato team to power. McNulty still has his Sunday Live Show on a few cable systems in the area…..The League of Women voters sponsored the event.
SHERWOOD CARNEY SQUARE OFF
In a 90-minute debate at Bucknell University the Congressional candidates – with a race known for hard-hitting television ads – debated topics, from Iraq to free trade, to education, Sherwood, the incumbent Republican, and Carney, the Democratic challenger, laid out different visions about where the country is and where it ought to be going.
Before a crowd of 800 Sherwood, said “sensible spending policies” and tax cuts aimed at taming the “big beast” in Washington.
Carney began with a reference to “values” – language his campaign has used repeatedly in reference to Sherwood’s admitted extramarital affair with a 30-year-old Maryland woman.
The affair and Sherwood’s out-of-court settlement of the suit have played a large role in producing a tight race in the heavily Republican 10th Congressional District, once considered so safe for the GOP that no Democrat challenged Sherwood in 2002 and 2004 after close races in 1998 and 2000 against Attorney Patrick Casey.
Two independent polls have put Carney ahead by 7 and 8.5 percent. Both candidate's supporters claimed their side won and had the advantage going into the November election.
RENDELL AND SWANN DEBATE
Property taxes, crime, Pennsylvania's economy and education - and, predictably, the question over who was to blame for last year's politically unpopular legislative pay raise - dominated the first of two debates Wednesday between Gov. Rendell and Republican opponent Lynn Swann.
For just under an hour, the two men sparred over everything from how best to fund mass transit to whether governmental experience is a requirement for the job of running state government, often taking shots at each other, professing that the other's facts were wrong, and quoting studies and statistics at a dizzying speed. Again in this debate, Swann showed he could hold his own with Ed Rendell. Rendell, testy and arguementative at times, defended his record with vigor while Swann seemed to take great pleasure in trying to goad the Governor into a gaff. Looking at the debate was entertaining for all political junkies of every stripe.