Marian Moskowitz

Votes counted and Tom Wolf (D), Ryan Costello (R) & Warren Kampf (R) win

Don’t know if it was efforts of the political parties and their volunteers, the candidates themselves, the issues or the perfect voting weather of 70-plus degrees but it appeared there was record attendance at many of the polls.  I don’t think I’ve ever seen so many voters come out in a non-presidential election!

Looks like the dust has begun to settle from Election Day 2014.  After one term in office, Republican Governor Tom Corbett will be replaced by challenger Democrat Tom Wolf.  The debate boiled down to what many believe was massive cuts to education by Corbett versus the speculation of increased taxes to the middle class by Wolf. In the end, preservation of Pennsylvania’s education system outweighed the fear some have of a higher tax bill.

Locally, the battle for the PA State House 157 seat between incumbent Warren Kampf (R) and his Democratic opponent Marian Moskowitz  raged right up until the polls closed at 8 PM. In the end, Kampf prevailed and will serve a third third in Harrisburg. Kampf received 11,689 votes (55.09 percent) with Moskowitz receiving 9,530 votes or 44.91 percent of the votes.

Chester County Commissioner Ryan Costello (R) won the 6th Congressional District seat vacated by retiring Jim Gerlach (R-PA), beating challenger Manan Trivedi (R).  Costello received 118.450 votes which represented 56.23 percent to Trivedi’s 92,193 votes which represented 43.77 percent of the votes.

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Look past the negative campaigning and vote tomorrow!

Republicans-vs-DemocratsElection Day 2014 is tomorrow and it cannot come soon enough.  The barrage of negative campaign ads and political mailers has come at a furious pace this year.

The constant drumbeat of blame-game messages has reached an overwhelming proportion with last-minute attempts to scare and/or persuade voters.  Instances of negative campaigning among candidates are so widespread that to single out any in particular would serve no useful purpose. This general attack-style politics has infected our local campaigns.

Rather than articulating positive platforms, too many of the campaign messages are instead warnings about the evils of the opposition. We’ve all seen the campaign lawn signs and received the daily doses of campaign mailers and phone calls, many containing aggressive, offensive messages against their opponent.  The negative campaigning polarizes people around their reaction to the negativity rather than around the important issues.  I know that we should not expect a campaign season of only polite, hands-off discourse from candidates seeking to send each other to defeat.  However, knocking the opposition, though, has become the easy, fast-lane method of campaigning – a thinly veiled scare tactic to earn credit by discrediting the other side.

Opposition research is a natural part of any political campaign, which is only compounded by people constantly giving us the “inside scoop” on an opponent. There is pressure on all sides to let voters know “the truth” about their opponent, especially if that person has already gone negative in the campaign. Call me naïve and foolish, but for every minute a candidate spends attacking his/her opponent, that’s one less minute that can be spent talking about legitimate differences on policy issues that actually affect us, the voters.

After enduring a heavy season of negative campaign advertising, the need for us to participate in Election Day has never been greater.  The politicians have not been very good at policing themselves, so it’s up to us, the voters, to do it for them.  Your vote does matter; but only if you use it.  I’d encourage everyone to do their own homework about the candidates and the issues.  Look past the negative campaigning and the party politics – make an informed decision when you vote tomorrow.

Personally, I’m looking forward to post-Election Day  … no more campaign mailers or invasive robo calls at dinner time and the removal of yard signs littering the local landscape (at least for the remainder of 2014!)

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Election Day is November 4 – Who will be the next Pennsylvania Governor, 6th District Congressman and State House 157 Representative?

The countdown is on.  Like everyone else in this country, the residents of Tredyffrin are looking for solutions. In three short weeks, on Tuesday, November 4, is midterm Election Day.

There are obvious signs throughout the township that its campaign season … political lawn signs seemingly reproduce nightly, candidate mailers arrive daily at our doors and in our mailboxes, along with invitations to political fundraisers.  For those of us in the ‘Independent’ registration category, our mailbox runneth over, as does the land of campaign ‘robocalls’.  The Republican and Democratic candidates both lay claim to the independents; with each side believing that their views on issues more representative of these voters.

On the Governor’s race, most polls have Democratic challenger Tom Wolf poised to unseat Republican incumbent Tom Corbett.  A virtual unknown at the beginning of the year, businessman Tom Wolf early on used a boy next-door charm in his commercials while underwriting most of his political campaign with his own personal wealth.  Some of Wolf’s gaining in the polls may be explained by voters’ dissatisfaction with Governor Corbett.  Wolf campaign ads state that Corbett cut state education funding by $1 billion whereas Corbett counters the argument stating he has increased funding for our public schools by $1 billion since taking office. Although Corbett and his supporters argue that he has restored school funding lost to the end of the federal stimulus money, widespread public perception is that he has cut educational spending. Corbett’s opposition to a severance tax on shale gas drillers has also hampered his reelection bid.

From a local election standpoint, I am of the opinion that the November 4 election is going to see people splitting votes at the polls.  Sure, there will always be the straight party voters, whether it is the Republicans or the Democrats.  However, for those voters that go the polls, educated on the issues and the candidates, this election may see a greater number crossing party lines to vote for the candidate that best represent their own personal views.

For Tredyffrin residents, in addition to choosing a governor, Election Day 2014 also offers us the opportunity to select a new Congressional 6th District member.  The unexpected retirement of Rep. Jim Gerlach (R) after 12 years has given way to a battleground between Democratic House candidate Manan Trivedi and Republican Ryan Costello for the 6th Congressional District seat.  An Iraq War veteran and Berks County physician, the upcoming election marks Trivedi’s third Congressional attempt. Attorney and chair of the Chester County Board of Commissioners, Costello at age 37, would be the youngest member of Pennsylvania’s Congressional delegation should he win.

Will Corbett’s gubernatorial race be problematic for Costello, as Wolf gains in the polls? As a County Commissioner, Costello has built his own fan base – will those loyal supporters be enough to counter any anti-Corbett voting or conversely, will the get-out-to-vote efforts of Wolf’s campaign help Trivedi pull off a win? The 6th District covers a large part of Chester County, and portions of Berks, Montgomery and Lebanon counties.

The other election that local voters will decide on November 4 is the PA State House 157 race. Newcomer to the political campaign world,  first time political candidate, Great Valley resident and businesswoman, Democrat Marian Moskowitz is challenging incumbent Warren Kampf (R) in his re-election bid for a third term in Harrisburg. With the exception of Paul Drucker (D) who served as 157th State House District Representative in 2009 and 2010, a Republican has held the seat for forty some years. As the war of words wages daily in campaign literature and press releases between the Moskowitz and Kampf camps, an unfortunate and recently discovered issue has complicated the race for these two candidates.

The 157th District includes all of Tredyffrin Township, all of Schuylkill Township, part of Upper Providence and most of Phoenixville. As part of last year’s statewide redistricting, a section of the 157th District, West 1, in the Phoenixville Borough was moved to the 155th District.  However, using an old map, Chester County Voter Services incorrectly left this section in the 157th District for the May primary.  People in this section of Phoenixville Borough cast votes for Kampf and Moskowitz in the primary election when they should have been voting for candidates in the 155th District. Troubling that the West 1 mapping error was only discovered last week and the candidates then notified. Obviously, this last minute correction on the election ballot is causing voter confusion – a group of people who voted for Kampf and Moskowitz as their State Representative in the 157th District in the primary election will not have that same option on November 4.

Warren Kampf has focused much of his first two terms on public pension reform.  Kampf believes that the current state pension system is not sustainable, and that escalating pension obligations will mean rising taxes or significant cuts to service. Other initiatives he supports include privatization of the state liquor store system and property tax relief, specifically switching property tax system to a gross receipts tax.

The Democratic challenger for District 157, Marian Moskowitz has made her business background a hallmark of her campaign, pointing to Franklin Commons, a successful redevelopment project with her husband in Phoenixville, as an example.  An advocate for women and small businesses, Moskowitz is interested in using her entrepreneurial and business background in Harrisburg. Moskowitz supports transportation and infrastructure improvements – according to her campaign website, one of her “primary reasons for running was her opponent’s no vote on Act 89, which brings funding to our aging infrastructure.” Kampf received his share of criticism for his vote not to support the state’s transportation bill.  However, he maintains his support for infrastructure improvements, including the Paoli Transportation Center, and that his vote was against the high impact of the gas tax increase included in the transportation bill.

Will there be a trickle-down effect from the Pennsylvania gubernatorial race on the PA State District 157 race?  Unlike the open seat in the 6th Congressional District, the State House 157 race has Democratic challenger Marian Moskowitz up against two-term State Representative Warren Kampf (R).

As the political campaigns of Wolf vs Corbett, Costello vs Trivedi and Moskowitz vs Kampf wind down over the next three weeks, take the time to understand the important issues and know the candidates. On November 4th, your vote will matter – make it count.

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PA State House 157 Democratic Candidate Jed Grobstein withdraws, Marian Moskowitz (D) to challenge incumbent Warren Kampf (R) in November

The Chester County Democratic Nominating Committee held their convention this past Saturday.  Prior to the election, Democrat Jed Grobstein withdrew his name from the PA State House 157 race and Democrat candidate Marian Moskowitz was endorsed by acclamation. Grobstein provided the following press release explaining his withdrawal from the race:

Jed Grobstein stepped back in the interests of party unity today to throw his support behind long-time Tredyffrin Township resident and Phoenixville developer Marian Moskowitz in the race for the Pennsylvania State House, 157th district. In a statement posted on his campaign facebook page and website, Jed said,

“I regret to announce that I am withdrawing my name from contention for the State House in the PA 157th. Over the last several weeks it has become clear that the Democratic Party has rallied around the campaign of Marian Moskowitz. With her endorsement at the County Convention she deserves all of our support. I believe that Marian’s achievements as an entrepreneur and as a prime architect in Phoenixville’s redevelopment make her exactly the sort of leader we need in Harrisburg.”

Further, he urged his supporters to focus on November, saying, “I look forward to supporting [Marian] as we all focus on defeating Warren Kampf, Tom Corbett and their ‘governance by crisis’ in November.”

 Chester County Commissioner Ryan Costello (R)  is seeking the vacated seat of Republican Congressman Jim Gerlach in Pennsylvania’s sixth district.  The Chester County Republican Committee endorsed Costello at their nominating convention last week.  The Chester County Democratic Committee endorsed candidate Manan Trivedi on Saturday at their convention  This marks Trivedi’s third run for Congress and is hopeful that Gerlach’s retirement will provide him the opening he needs.  However, it is my understanding that Democrat Mike Parrish, a successful businessman from Malvern, plans to stay in the race, making for a contested May primary.

The Chester County Republican Committee endorsed current State Rep Warren Kampf (R-157) for another term and with the withdrawal of Grobstein, he will face challenger Marian Moskowitz (D) in November.

I was very surprised to see that former T/E School Board member Anne Crowley has quickly stepped back into politics.  Not seeking a second term on the school board when her term ended in 2013,  Crowley is the endorsed Democratic candidate for the PA State House 167 seat, currently held by Dwayne Milne (R). By a very narrow margin of votes, Milne defeated Crowley for the 167th District seat in 2006.  As a personal note, Crowley’s presence is missed on the T/E School Board!

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It’s Official — Democrat Marian Moskowitz to challenge incumbent Warren Kampf for the PA State House 157!

marian moskowitz

UPDATE:  At today’s Chester County Democratic Nominating Convention Jed Grobstein withdrew and Marian Moskowitz was endorsed by acclamation.

A two term incumbent, State Rep Warren Kampf (R-157)  has announced his decision to seek a third term for the office.  However, it is now official — there is another challenger for the job.

I received a press release today from Democratic candidate Marian Moskowitz officially declaring her candidacy for the PA State House 157 race. (See press release below). A successful local businesswoman, Moskowitz joins previously declared Democrat candidate, teacher and  campaign organizer  Jed Grobstein.

Moskowitz has an impressive list of accomplishments in the business community, including multiple real estate projects such as the award-winning Franklin Commons, created from an abandoned factory building in Phoenixville.   Economic redevelopment and job creation combined with her successful business and real estate background makes Moskowitz a formidable candidate for the PA State House 157 race.

Democratic committeepersons will vote at  the Chester County Democratic Nominating Convention on the candidate to support.  The purpose of the Nominating Convention is to select the 2014 U.S. Congressional and PA Statewide candidates to be endorsed by the Chester County Democratic Committee. Only one Democratic candidate can receive the party’s endorsement in each race, including the 157.

TREDYFFRIN BUSINESSWOMAN TO CHALLENGE FOR PA. HOUSE SEAT

Marian Moskowitz, a 30-year resident of Tredyffrin, today announced her candidacy for the 157th Legislative District seat currently held by Warren Kampf.  A successful businesswoman, community leader and a Democrat who calls herself a “consensus builder,” Moskowitz seeks to bring a fresh voice to Harrisburg. “It is critical that we have people in office who know how to create jobs, understand the importance of education funding and are sensitive to the issues that women face every day,” Moskowitz said.

Moskowitz, 58, has two children who attended Tredyffrin-Easttown schools, three stepchildren and five grandchildren. She has been married to Malvern attorney David Moskowitz for 29 years.

A former paralegal, Moskowitz has been a principal in multiple real estate projects and many small businesses.  Her most notable real estate development work has been the adaptive re-use of an abandoned Phoenixville factory into Franklin Commons.  Started in 2006, it is now a vibrant educational and mixed use complex and was named “Best Mixed-Use Project of 2011” by the Philadelphia Business Journal.

Moskowitz said her business ventures have created numerous jobs. She has been directly involved in day-to-day management and administration in both for-profit and non-profit sectors with leading roles in budgeting, finance, sales and human resources. She was named “Outstanding Citizen of the Year” by the Phoenixville Chamber of Commerce in 2011 and has been honored by the Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission.

A member of the board of directors of the Chester County Economic Development Council for five years, Moskowitz was appointed to the Board of Trustees of West Chester University by Gov. Rendell in 2006 and re-appointed by Gov. Corbett in 2013. She also serves on the board of trustees of Neumann University and the board of directors of the Colonial Theatre and is the co-chair of the fundraising committee for its expansion.

“I have worked very hard over the years to help foster economic development in this community and in Chester County,” Moskowitz said. “I know I could do so much more in the state legislature to encourage growth in this District.”

She scoffed at the increase in school funding in Governor Corbett’s recently released budget. “He has not even given us back what he took from us in the first year of his administration,” she said. “As a trustee of West Chester University, I see firsthand how these cuts have affected our students. We must do everything possible to make our educational institutions our first priority.”

Moskowitz also believes women need better representation in Harrisburg. “Of 253 members of the Pa. House and Senate, only 45 are women. Yet there are so many issues up for vote that are important to women. ” she said. “We need to give women more support in business. I have owned and run numerous companies and know firsthand the problems women encounter in business.”

Moskowitz was born and raised in Philadelphia and, unable to afford college, became a switchboard operator at age 17.  She took community college classes when she could pay for them and at age 34, became an adult college student at Neumann University. She earned a bachelor’s degree with a concentration in real estate in 1991, taking classes at night so that she could continue to work and raise her family.  Moskowitz believes Franklin Commons is a testament to her belief in the value of education. “I’ve very proud of Franklin Commons,” she said. “It’s the only building I know of where you can begin your educational career at 3 months old and continue to get an Associate’s and, in some instances, a four-year degree.”

The 157th Legislative District includes Tredyffrin and Schuylkill townships, parts of Phoenixville in Chester County and parts of Upper Providence township in Montgomery County.

This is Moskowitz’s first foray into politics. “I look forward to the challenge,” she said. “I have a wide network of colleagues from both parties. I like to think of myself as someone who brings people together and gets things done.”

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Incumbent State Rep Warren Kampf (R) has Democrat challenger(s) for PA 157 race!

Democrat Jed Grobstein of Paoli released the following press release today officially throwing his hat in the ring in the PA State House 157 race. Conestoga High School grad and former high school teacher in South Bronx, NY, Grobstein believes that he can make a difference in Harrisburg.  According to the press release, Grobstein will focus his campaign on Gov. Corbett’s educational budget cuts and State Rep Warren Kampf’s voting record on the transportation bill.

Things may get interesting for the PA State House 157 race because Grobstein may not be the only Democrat looking to unseat the Republican incumbent. I have also been told by several people in the last couple of days that Democrat Marian Moskowitz, a real estate attorney from Malvern has also decided to enter the 157 race.  This could be an interesting local campaign season!

PRESS RELEASE: Teacher Announces Campaign for PA 157th with $51,000 on Hand, Takes Kampf to Task for $1 billion in Cuts to Education

Jed Grobstein today announced his bid for the Democratic nomination to the State House in the Pennsylvania 157th, saying “Warren Kampf has taken our residents for granted for far too long. Pennsylvania needs smart, proactive leadership in Harrisburg, and not just a gaggle of Corbett yes-men. As a teacher in the South Bronx, I learned how to listen, how to be a problem-solver, and how to bring people together, and I think we need more of that in Harrisburg.”

Grobstein’s campaign, Jed for PA House, filed its 2013 annual report showing that it had raised more than $40,000 in just eight weeks. The campaign also reported having more than $51,000 on hand.

Grobstein noted that Warren Kampf “has worked with Gov. Corbett to cut $1 billion from education, and to make it more difficult for mothers to receive the health care they need. He unconditionally refused to support a bipartisan transportation bill and attempted to deny funding to critical transportation infrastructure, bridges, highways and our own Paoli Transportation Center.”

Grobstein served as a math teacher and a Democratic organizer, and he is proud to be running for office less than a mile from his childhood home. While teaching math in the South Bronx, Grobstein worked as the chairman of his department and founded the advocacy organization ‘Keep Our Schools Alive’ to encourage parents, students and teachers to participate in their school’s governance.

A graduate of Conestoga High School in Berwyn and Pomona College in Los Angeles, Grobstein received his Masters in Education from City College in New York. Teaching in the South Bronx, Grobstein served as chair of his Math Department and worked to develop new curriculum for the classroom while integrating assessment and instruction.

When New York City began closing high schools in 2009, Grobstein organized and founded ‘Keep Our Schools Alive’ (KOSA) to encourage stakeholders, parents, students and teachers, to participate in the city’s decision-making process. KOSA argued that the school closings were arbitrary and that the city had failed to engage essential stakeholders. The State Supreme Court agreed, and in 2010 it reversed the city’s decision, saying that the Department of Education had failed to gather sufficient community input.

Grobstein returned to Pennsylvania at the end of 2010 to pursue a career in the United States Marine Corps. When a shoulder injury prevented him from enlisting, Jed accepted a staff position with Organizing for America on President Obama’s re-election campaign. Following that election Jed served as campaign manager for Delaware County’s Democratic slate and produced historic gains in a county long known for its Republican dominance.

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