Warren Kampf

PA State Rep Warren Kampf (R-157) announces re-election bid for 4th term

In a morning press release, State Representative Warren Kampf (R-157) announced that he will seek a fourth term in the Pennsylvania State House. The 157th District includes Tredyffrin Township, Schuylkill Township and parts of Phoenixville Borough in Chester County, as well as Upper Providence Township in Montgomery County.

First elected in 2010, Kampf focused his re-election statement on issues of particular importance including his support for increased state funding for education, reasonable public pension reform, natural gas drilling severance tax and liquor privatization.  Kampf states, “I will continue to be an independent voice, opposing partisanship and working for common sense solutions to the challenges we face.”

Citing economic growth and job creation as hallmarks of his state representative tenure, Kampf used the passage of his “Innovate PA” program into law as an example of personal accomplishment in this area.  Innovate PA expands investment in Pennsylvania’s bio-tech and life science industries and fuels job creation.

In a move to encourage contributions to charitable organizations, Kampf authored new legislation that gives tax credits to businesses for their donations. In his re-election statement, Kampf explains that the new tax credit is intended to provide additional funding to basic needs service organizations that provide medical care, food, clothing, child care, adult care, shelter, or other assistance that is reasonably necessary to meet an individual’s immediate basic needs.

Now that Kampf has decided to seek re-election for the 157th seat in November, an announcement of a challenger will no doubt shortly follow.

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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 Rep Warren Kampf’s Town Hall Meeting — Budget, Pension and Property Tax Reform, Liquor Privatization & the Legalizing of Marijuana

I attended State Rep Warren Kampf’s Town Hall meeting last night in Phoenixville.  Kampf opened the meeting with a 15-20 min. update on the budget, pension reform and status of legislation, liquor privatization, and property tax reform.  Following his presentation, the evening continued with Q & A from the audience members, with about 30 questions on a variety of topics.

In his discussion of the recently passed 2014-15 PA Budget, Kampf offered the following highlights:

  • The budget passed on time for the fourth straight year, with no tax increases to the residents.
  • Although there was a modest increase in the 2014-15 budget from the previous year, the budget increase remains well below the rate of inflation.
  • Pennsylvania received a $340 million cut in Medicaid Funds from the Federal government.
  • The budget includes an additional $250 Million to implement Affordable Care Act provisions;
  • The budget includes an additional $600 Million in increase in pension costs
  • The budget includes an additional $600 Million for Medicaid increase

There has been much discussion about Corbett cutting education spending but according to Kampf, the 2014-15 budget has education spending at an all-time high, and that the recently passed budget includes an additional $520 Million in educational spending.  This topic was one of much interest from the audience members.  We have all seen the campaign rhetoric with one side claiming cuts to education and the other side saying it is untrue

Kampf further clarified that Corbett’s budget includes $10.5 Billion on Pre K – 12 line items, stating it is the most ever committed.  The budget includes an additional $20 Million for Special Education.  The Pre-K Counts Program, which increases access to quality pre-kindergarten to PA children and their families with a priority in at-risk communities, received a $10 Million increase in the budget.

To help offset the cost of postsecondary education, the budget includes a new $5 Million ‘Ready to Succeed Scholarship’ that provides up to $2,000 to eligible students whose families earn up to $110K.

Pension costs and the need for reform continued to be a significant discussion point.  Kampf offered the example that the PSERS line item on the 2014-15 PA Budget increased from $375 million to $1.4 Billion this year!  As taxpayers, we know firsthand the effect that the skyrocketing pension costs have had on our own tax bill.  The pension costs have impacted the school districts statewide, forcing school boards to make difficult decisions and painful cuts.

Clearly, pension reform is needed sooner rather than later.  Kampf’s hybrid pension reform bill, HB 1353, which includes a traditional 401k type plan, was presented as a possible solution.  It was interesting to note that there continues to be confusion among some of the residents – the suggested pension reform bill, HB 1353 is for new hires; not those workers currently in the system.  Kampf believes that his plan would create $11 – $20 Billion in savings.

I was glad for a discussion on liquor privatization but it does not look like House Bill 790 is going anywhere anytime soon.  The House approved the bill 105-90 in March 2013 but according to Kampf, the Senate has not agreed to move the bill forward.   We hear the argument that the 600 states stores generate money and therefore the government should keep things status quo.  Pennsylvania loses millions annual to neighboring states because of the inconvenience of buying at states stores. What is it going to take to bring Pennsylvania into the 21st century – 48 other states enjoy convenience and choice, why can’t we?  Other than Utah and Pennsylvania, states don’t want to be in the business of selling alcohol.

On property tax reform, there were updates but little ‘new’ news. PA House Bill 76, the ‘Property Tax Independence Act’, remains in the House Finance Committee and has not moved forward for a vote. This legislation would eliminate school property taxes across the Commonwealth and replace those taxes with funding from a single state source.

Kampf voted yes on House Bill 1189, which would amend the Local Tax Enabling Act to provide school districts with the option to eliminate property taxes.  Although Kampf supports HB 1189, he added that the Senate has not taken action on this legislation.

Because the Town Hall meeting was held in Phoenixville, several audience questions were local to that area.  One question related to Phoenixville Area School District’s decision to acquire the Meadowbrook Golf Club via eminent domain and where did Kampf stand on the topic.  Kampf supported the legal right of the school district to take the property [using eminent domain] but suggested it should only be used when all other alternatives were exhausted.

On allowing illegal immigrant children in the US, Kampf deferred to the Federal government, stating that as a State Representative he was not in a position to cast a vote.

A couple of people asked Kampf for his personal opinion on legalizing marijuana in Pennsylvania.  Although he was not aware of any currently proposed legislation in the House on the subject, he said he could support the legalizing of medical marijuana. He was not going to commit himself beyond the use of marijuana for medical usage, preferring to take one step at a time.

On June 27, the Senate Law and Justice Committee unanimously voted in support of the bipartisan Senate Bill 1182, known as the Compassionate Use of Medical Cannabis Act, to ease the suffering of people with epilepsy or other ailments. Twenty-three states and the District of Columbia have approved medical cannabis programs, could Pennsylvania be next?

I give credit to any elected official who holds a Town Hall Meeting with no pre-screening of questions.  Last night numbers were distributed and the questions asked in numerical order; everyone with a question was given an opportunity to ask it. Nothing was off limits – only requesting that questions be asked by residents of Kampf’s legislative district.  As a registered Independent,  I am pleased to report that the evening contained no political party bashing by audience members or by Kampf.  Would love to see a similar forum in Tredyffrin Township.  Or how about a PA-157 State Representative debate between incumbent Warren Kampf and his challenger Marian Moskowitz?

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PennDOT patching potholes on state roads tomorrow!

potholesWith rising temperatures in the forecast, I just received a notice from PennDOT that they have scheduled pothole patching on state roads in the 5-county Philadelphia area for tomorrow! (See PennDOT press release below).

This week I was driving to King of Prussia on Rt. 202 North and could not believe the damage  the winter weather has caused on the highway.  I was in the right lane of Rt. 202 by the Rt. 422 exit, and there were large gaping holes in the roadway. I don’t know what type of filler they use in the seams but that materials was missing and it was very dangerous — you run the risk of hitting other cars in an attempt to avoid the holes.  And then the damage to your car if you do hit the pothole!

It is almost impossible to drive along Lancaster Avenue and avoid the potholes, they are everywhere!  Weaving in and of lanes to avoid the potholes, I think to myself — will the police understand my explanation if I get pulled over.  I know that someone commented on CM, that although Rt. 30 is a state road, the repair work is done by the local municipal workers rather than PennDOT.   We live on a state road and the repairs to the road have always been done by PennDOT so not certain why Lancaster Avenue would be treated any differently.

State Rep Warren Kampf has created a ‘Pothole Hotline’ for residents to report potholes on state roads.  Residents in Kampf’s District are asked to call 610.251.2876 and report any potholes that are believed to be dangerous.  Kampf has promised to pass the information on to PennDOT and to follow-up to make certain that the repair is done.

03/7/2014 – King of Prussia, PA.

With no snow in the forecast, the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation will once again take advantage of seasonable temperatures on Saturday (March 8) to repair potholes on state highways in the five-county Philadelphia region.

“We will have 27 crews working tomorrow to fill potholes with hot asphalt as we continue our aggressive plan to improve state roads that have been damaged during this relentless winter season,” PennDOT District Executive Lester C. Toaso said.

“PennDOT crews have been focused on filling potholes throughout the winter, except when snow duty called,” Toaso added. “The difference now is that hot asphalt is more readily available in the Philadelphia region and the use of this material enables us to make more permanent repairs.”

PennDOT crews work weekdays to repair potholes, but they also patched state roadways in the Philadelphia region on the weekend of Feb. 22-23, using nearly 600 tons of asphalt to fill holes in the pavement.

This year’s severe and early outbreak of potholes resulted from snow and ice seeping into pavements and temperature swings above and below the freezing mark.

A pothole develops when water penetrates into a roadway through pavement cracks and then freezes and expands, knocking loose small pieces of pavement. As cars and trucks ride over the area, cracks enlarge, more water enters and the cycle repeats itself to the point where the pavement fails.

Citizens can report potholes on state highways by calling 1-800-FIX-ROAD (1-800-349-7623).

Motorists can check conditions on major roadways by visiting www.511PA.com. 511PA, which is free and available 24 hours a day, provides traffic delay warnings, weather forecasts, traffic speed information and access to more than 680 traffic cameras. 511PA is also available by calling 5-1-1, and regional Twitter alerts are available on the 511PA website.

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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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State Rep Warren Kampf takes on TTDEMS Chair Dariel Jamieson for lying about him … again!

Below is an excerpt from an op-ed written by State Rep Warren Kampf (R-157).  In the article, Kampf is calling for an end to uncivil discourse.  He uses a couple of examples in his editorial of uncivil speech, including Dariel Jamieson’s recent letters to the editors.  It is not Jamieson’s right to voice her opinion concerning Kampf’s vote on the transportation bill that is the issue but rather her lying about a political pledge she states that Kampf took.  As I said in my last post, Jamieson compounded the difficult situation by writing a second letter to the editor and not taking responsibility for her incorrect accusations contained in her first letter. Civil discourse means to engage in conversation intended to enhance understanding – personal attacks and lies are wrong and diminish the value of the argument.

In his latest op-ed, Kampf does not say Jamieson’s actions were politically motivated.  However, when you write an editorial attacking a Republican elected official and sign the letter as chair of the local Democratic Committee (as Jamieson did), it is not a stretch to come to that conclusion.  For those keeping score – Dariel Jamieson has now written two editorials attacking Warren Kampf in the last couple of weeks and Kampf’s op-ed marks his second response back to her.  Here’s hoping that Jamieson does not feel compelled to write a third letter to the editor on the same topic!

Beyond the uncivil discourse created by Jamieson’s letters, I remain troubled that her actions as the political party chair are putting Murph Wysocki and Mark Freed, the newly elected Democratic Tredyffrin Township supervisors, in an awkward position less than a month before they take office.  Wysocki and Freed will join five Republican supervisors on the Board and this ‘war of words’ from Jamieson going on in the background cannot be helpful to them.  I will not believe that Jamieson sought counsel with either Wysocki or Freed before engaging in this discourse against Kampf – if she had, it is extremely doubtful that they would have approved either of these letters.

When you accept the role of president or chair of an organization, and act publically in that capacity, you need to ensure that your voice is representative of those that you are elected to serve – are Jamieson’s letters to the editor representative of TTDEMS members opinions?  I hope not.

In closing, I echo Kampf’s words,” … every citizen and every elected official – would be better served saying what we must in a way that achieves civil discourse …”   Below is the excerpt from Kampf’s Op-Ed, to read the entire article, click here.

It’s Time to End Uncivil Discourse

As State Representative, I am accustomed to hearing from constituents as they present their views and positions on issues being addressed in Harrisburg and here at home.  Some agree with me.  Some do not.  But, mostly, all make their points in a manner that is respectful and fair.   I work hard to do the same in answering their concerns.  It’s called civil discourse, and it is one of the foundations of our representative democracy.

Unfortunately over the past few months – as we have seen arguments over government shutdowns in Washington, D.C., differences surrounding the recently enacted Transportation Funding package in Harrisburg, and now the passionate feelings over eminent domain issues in Phoenixville – it has become clear that too many have abandoned civil discourse in favor of uncivil speech and actions.

This speech and these actions do us no good.  It forces people, who are otherwise normally reasonable, to abandon the idea of achieving pragmatic progress.  It forces gridlock.  It stops us from addressing truly important issues.

During the debate over the Transportation Funding package, I was accused in a Letter to the Editor of choosing my position based on a political pledge to a Washington, DC special interest group.  The problem?  I had never taken any such pledge (something that was easily verifiable with a simple internet search) and I had made it known publicly that my position came from surveying the people I represent.  My attacker, however, had no problem simply submitting a lie to the newspaper.  That’s uncivil discourse.

I give my attacker respect for her position on the issue and her passion over it.  I believe, however, her point could have been made in a way that was more respectful to both the public and me.  Had she made her point this way, I believe it may also have been more effective for those she wished to persuade. . . .

Let me be clear: I am in no way suggesting that citizens abandon making their voice heard, be it in favor or opposition to an issue.  As the saying goes, “I may disagree with what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.”

I am just suggesting that all of us – every citizen and every elected official – would be better served saying what we must in a way that achieves civil discourse again.   In this way, we can find our way to truly addressing issues rather than just fighting about them.  That is a simple goal we should all strive to achieve if we truly care about making our community stronger.”

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