The LuLac Edition #618, Oct. 28th, 2008
PHOTO INDEX: FRANK ANDREWS SHIMKUS AND KEVIN MURPHY.
Going to the candidate's debate.
THE DEBATE: 113TH
Frank Andrews Shimkus and Kevin Murphy debated tonight and it was quite an interesting event. Shimkus focused on his many accomplishments and financial contributions to the district while Murphy cried, “reform, reform” and “change, change”. If you only heard the debate, Shimkus won it hands down. He was amped up and point by point accentuated his record. Murphy at the outset sounded stilted and a bit unsure but once he got his footing came on strong. Visually, Shimkus looked uncharacteristically “hot”, not cool like he appeared on TV. His shirt and tie appeared to be to the left of his neck and that was a distraction. This was a surprise given Shimkus’ years as an anchor. Murphy looked well groomed and well put together.
Appearances aside, here’s some key points on the issues:
Came down hard on the issue saying the Democratic caucus has a 100 million dollar slush fund. Murphy said the state could do wonders with that money and called out Shimkus for his per diem spending saying Shimkus went to Harrisburg in 2006 as symbol of the broken Harrisburg he (Shimkus) was supposed to fix.
Defended the miles he put on his car saying that traveling back and forth to Harrisburg was beneficial to his constituents. Shimkus says he is working for the taxpayers, countered that he never owned a Ford Explorer, said it was easier to lease a car than charge taxpayers mileage saying that “taking mileage money would give a traveler a fortune”. Shimkus discounted some of Murphy’s charges as dirty politics and stories that appear on what he termed “silly blogs”.
Said that more money needs to be funneled into the district for education. Once more made his point that with the extra monies spent on legislators perks, money could be used to help educate our children.
Defended his education record saying he brought in 8 million dollars to the Abingtons and said that education spending in the 113th should be the same as educating a child in Philadelphia. Shimkus made the point that every child’s education in Pennsylvania should have the same value.
Criticized Shimkus for his coming out late for the non support of the Turnpike. Murphy said Shimkus came out against it when it was a done deal. Murphy also said that taxes should not be raised but more money should be obtained for bring jobs to the 113th. Again, Murphy appeared to be running against the Democrats in the Legislature pointing out that the money used for “Bonusgate” could be used to keep the financials in line.
Outlined a list of projects he brought to the area using tax dollars. Said he thought the turnpike was a bad idea and told the audience that in his 2 years in Harrisburg there was no tax hike.
Touted the names of national Democrats he would partner with in helping Pennsylvania develop alternate sources of energy. Brought in Biden’s Hillary Clinton’s and Bob Casey’s connection to the 113th and said that he would want their ideas in helping with energy issues.
The incumbent scored big on this topic saying it was wrong to sell off Pennsylvania assets. He brought up the emergence of natural gas as a source of energy that might be prime for a rate hike. He also talked about his fight with Energy Chair Bud George to cap PPL rates hikes coming in a few years saying that in this economy they would be disaster economically.
Talked about his fight with the Marjol Battery problem in Throop. Shimkus said he wanted 80 million dollars to haul the waste away or burn it on site. He criticized the EPA, saying he was their Public Enemy #1 saying that the capping of the site would be an eyesore and bone of dubious contention for years to come.
Lauded Shimkus for his fight on the Marjol issue. Then he said that the environment goes hand in hand with clean energy alternatives. Murphy then veered off into the issue of Public transportation and car pooling.
Light blue shirt, red tie, navy blue suit.
White shirt, royal blue tie, navy blue suit.
Looking into the camera, Shimkus said to the audience, “you know me, I was in your living room for years”. He talked about his problems that he confronted publicly and thanked everyone for their support and kindness through the years. He also talked about this 113th race being the nastiest, negative campaign in the state citing it as one of insult and innuendo. He spoke of his 400 pieces of legislation introduced, the 5 satellite offices and his desire to serve another term.
In a forceful closing argument, Murphy first began with Shimkus’ absence for the Open Records vote while trying to get his nominating petitions in on time. He criticized Shimkus for not voting for the property tax elimination for seniors. He said the election was about change. Murphy talked about voting for a new Democratic leadership, dealing with issues like the economy and health care and once more went back to the 100 million dollar slush fund of the Dems saying it was likely the GOP had one too. He asked voters to vote for him as the change candidate in the election.
Here’s our take. Murphy was impressive and sincere and although looking unsteady at times, got through his presentation as a guy you’d meet on the street trying to explain an obscure issue. Shimkus as we said earlier was psyched. One after another, he rattled off his accomplishments, to the dollar pointed out his donations to the district and had a command of the issues. This “silly blog” has to give it to Murphy on style points but Shimkus on command of the issues and knowledge of the district.