Pattye Benson

Community Matters

PA State House Representative 157 Race . . . Candidate Questions & Responses

Back in August, I approached the two State House 157 candidates, Paul Drucker and Warren Kampf in regards to a ‘Candidate Question & Response’ forum. Recognizing that Community Matters has a regular following of interested concerned residents, I sent a joint email to both candidates asking to meet with them [together] to explain my idea. Below is an excerpt from that email of August 23, 2010:

“Warren & Paul –

As candidates in the PA State House race, I would like to meet with you to discuss an opportunity that would benefit you both. . .

I have come up with a list of six questions that I feel are important issues to our community. You will be given the questions at our meeting and are asked to return your responses to all six questions to me by September 17. That will give you 3+ weeks to answer the questions and the word count is to be limited to 300 words per response. Each Monday, starting September 20, I will post one of the questions with each of your responses. The questions will be posted for 6 week, ending on Monday, October 25. I will not edit your responses nor will they be shared with anyone prior to posting on Community Matters each week. You will not know the order that the questions will be posted, and to be fair, I will change whose response is first each week.

My proposal offers an opportunity for voters to better understand your views on important campaign issues. Your participation in this process will guarantee a larger audience hears your views. Because I am doing this for the community, I will remain neutral; the questions and your responses will be posted each week and the readers will be encouraged to comment. I will serve as moderator and will not weigh in personally. . .”

Neither candidate would see the questions before deciding if they would participate. I did not want their willingness to participate to be predicated on the specific questions. Drucker responded, stating that he would participate. I asked him if he was willing to answers the questions, even if Kampf declined, and his response remained yes. On behalf of Warren Kampf, his campaign coordinator Michael D’Amicantonio replied via email, declining to participate. Here’s an excerpt from the email –

” . . . We have accepted an invitation from the Phoenixville Chamber of Commerce to participate in their candidate forum, and we have already reached out to the League of Women Voters to take part in their traditional and well-respected debate. . . ”

For the record, I can confirm no evidence of a Phoenixville Chamber of Commerce candidate forum and no evidence of a scheduled League of Women Voters debate.

The upcoming November election is important to all of us. We do not always understand candidate’s views on specific issues; it was my intent to provide the candidates a greater audience through Community Matters. I believe that my candidate questions are reflective of the resident’s interests. Unfortunately, as I stated Warren Kampf will not be participating but I did receive Paul Drucker’s responses on Friday, September 17 as requested. Shortly, I will post the first question and his written response. As detailed in my email to the candidates, this process will continue for the next 6 weeks, ending the week before the election.

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  1. Pattye, I am not sure the voters of our community should be up in arms that warren kampf has not accepted an invitation by you to answer your questions, on this blog. I will wait to see if he ultimately participates in other forums. Have we had debates or this type of questioning in local elections past?

    Maybe Mr kampf doesn’t deem your blog as important as you or others do. No insult, just the way it may be.

    1. Perhaps you should be up in arms with the fact that the Kampf campaign lied about its supposed invitation from the Phoenixville Chamber of Commerce to participate in debates. I agree that Mr. Kampf does not deem this blog as something of importance. That would not necessarily be an insult. However, because they lied, it’s not only an insult to Pattye, it’s an insult to the entire community. And to think Kampf is asking us to vote for him to represent us in Harrisburg. Granted, he is a liar and would fit right in with a corrupt establishment. I think our community has higher standards than that, which is why I believe Paul will be re-elected to the State House.

      1. New name….same old tired rant. And it was just yesterday that Kate (the same K.E. Keohane? in today’s Suburban) told us that Mr. Drucker has built alliances with that corrupt establishment….

        Make it as personal as you want Mr. Petersen, but you can sling mud all day long and at the end of the day, it’s about whether you want someone to go to Harrisburg and vote for more of the same (budgets that have no revenue to support them – pension systems that send the bill forever to the taxpayer) or send someone who might just try (and perhaps even succeed) at changing the mentality of less is wrong, and more is better. Your beliefs are worth exactly what mine are — one vote each.

  2. Thank you Mr. Drucker for taking the time to respond to questions. It is unfortunately that Mr. Kampf was not compelled to respond similarly. I look forward to each question and its response. If there is not going to be a canddiate forum in Phoenixville nor a candiate debate — where is the public supposed to find out Kampf’s vews on issues.

  3. Pattye —

    Why don’t you publish Kampf’s entire response not just excerpts so we can all see it.

    Also, from what you did publish, his response says they have reached out to the LWV, not that anything is yet scheduled. I think you might be over-reaching with your comment on that one.

    1. From the west,

      There is an old saying: don’t ask a question you don’t know the answer to.

      I checked with the Phoenixville Chamber. They have not asked any candidate to participate in any debate. It would appear that Mr. Kampf was caught in a lie here. Not surprising really. As if St. Davids, Fire Funding, and the politicization of library donations was not enough, Kampf uses the Medal of Honor Grove Cleanup as a platform to advance his campaign. He had supporters wear campaign stickers. That action couldn’t be any more disrespectful.

  4. To check the facts, I called also. Their reply this afternoon:

    1. Kampf had agreed to participate in the forum
    2. Drucker had NOT agreed to participate in the forum
    3. They have not been able to find a sponsor for the event and are now cancelling it.

    Again, all Kampf said was he “accepted an invitation to participate in their forum.” They confirmed this today.

    Sorry, but it doesn’t appear he lied.

  5. Michael D’Amicantonio replied via email: ” . . . We have accepted an invitation from the Phoenixville Chamber of Commerce to participate in their candidate forum…”

    I too checked with the Chamber and they never extended an invitation to either candidate.

    The Chamber wasn’t able to secure a sponsor for the event. The venue and needed advertising required $600 to enable the event to happen.

    Seems to me the candidates could spend $300 each to donate to the Chamber so a candidate forum could take place.

    1. So in other words, they attempted to get sponsors for an event without finding out if the candidates would participate??? A distinction without much difference? I think not. Clearly the political machine running Mr. Kampf’s campaign ….one guy …. is not parsing his words. We all know it matters what the definition of “invitation” is….. “would you participate” is hypothetical….”would you come to our event sponsored by….” is an invitation. Whoops.

      1. Andrea, I am sorry but Mr. Buckwalter, I and others checked with the Chamber of Commerce. In this case, it is not semantics, . . . neither Drucker nor Kampf was invited to a candidate forum at Phoenixville Chamber of Commerce because there was no such event.

        It is highly possible should there have been a public candidate forum or a Drucker-Kampf debate, I would not have bothered taking my time to approach the candidates, write questions and then post responses, etc. It would have been a duplicate of efforts.

        It’s OK for people to say ‘no’ to me or to make the decision not to participate. In fact, Kampf’s campaign could have simply ignored my request; that would have been OK too. I was testing the waters and the choice was the candidates to make. Like I said, if he doesn’t want to participate on Community Matters, that’s fine. As some of you have said, it is afterall just a blog.

        1. Pattye — I don’t think it’s semantics, and I haven’t talked to the candidate. HOW could they seek sponsorship for a debate without approaching the candidates to see if they would participate and if there was a time to schedule it? I truly believe the semantics are only in interpretation — that the Kampf campaign said they would participate and then for some reason the event isn’t happening. That’s a distinction with a difference. Perhaps someone closer to the situation (and not trying to make a point to the contrary) can illuminate the situation. If I am wrong, so be it — but I don’t think (given my own limited experience in politics as a candidate 3 times) that any group would “fail to find a sponsor” without being able to ensure participation of the candidates first….
          Thanks for your patience….I just see this as a “gotcha moment” that may be without merit. There are plenty of issues to talk about for these candidates — they are very different — but I don’t think Kampf”ducked” anything.

  6. Lies, Lies, Lies…. If anyone would like to actually check their fact they can… and they would find that the Phoenixville Chamber of Commerce did plan a debate, they had scheduling problems (NOT Sponsorship) and they did speak with Warren’s campaign who was eager to debate and said they would clear the necessary time and Drucker’s campaign and were in limbo. If anyone would like to call 610-933-3070 is their number, I spoke with Trish and confirmed that they DID reach out to the candidates and were pursuing that when they hit the obstacle of scheduling… Ken I am surprised you got that wrong, you being part of the Phoenxiville community and anyone who said they called and checked – tisk-tisk… you have to ask deeper more probing questions… “Is there a debate?” is not the question… SO AGAIN THE FACTS – THERE WAS SUPPOSED TO BE A DEBATE, WARREN AGREED TO PARTICIPATE AND SCHEDULING ON SOMEONES PART KILLED THE DEBATE… Do not call anyone a liar NYBW until you check the facts.

    1. Sean,

      I am not going to debate this with you but since you have called my information and character into question, I am responding.

      I spoke with Kim Cooley, the Executive Director at Phoenixville Regional Chamber of Commerce directly and she told me IT WAS the sponsorship issue that caused scheduling of any forum (it was never to be a DEBATE) not to happen.

      The cost of a sponsorship to provide a venue – Colonial Theater – and the needed advertising, was $600.

      Since you are a part of Warren’s campaign, and a forum would allow the candidates to discuss the issues of the 157th in front of the public, why not have your campaign committee commit to $300 and ask the Drucker campaign to do the same?

      It would be a win-win and provide the needed funding to enable a candidate forum. Time is critical if this is of interest to you. I would be willing to to contact the Chamber and ask them if they would still be willing do a forum even though it might be short notice.

      If you don’t want to respond to this post call me at: 484-393-1411


    2. Warren’s campaign was eager to debate? I see nothing on Warren’s website that puts forth a challenge. Warren couldn’t be bothered to answer questions here. I would think that task would be much easier than a debate. I would also think that Warren would be concerned with the exposure of his ethical problems. If he were called on to defend the St. David’s decision, I don’t see how he could effectively address that question. So far, Warren has been controlled his message. In a debate, that becomes much more difficult to control. Warren did not do well in front of the Valley Forge Tea Party.

      If Warren really wanted a debate, there would be one. Normally, challengers to an incumbent are aggressive with debate challenges. So far, Warren has not made any public statements. Sounds like Warren is better at making excuses than defending his positions.

  7. I would put up the $300 personally, but it would not matter… All this blather is funny as anyone with a memory will note that Paul Drucker did not show up to the debate in 2008 vs. Guy… So all this misdirection is nice but it misses the mark. Ken I will call you, thanks for the number. The fact that Paul did not show in 2008 tells me that he is just not a debater – stick up for him all you want, but Warren will win in November. I am on record saying as much.

    1. I remember the debate, and despite that miscue Drucker still beat Guy in the election… fast forward to today – it seems to me that Guy was a much stronger candidate than Kampf is …

      As it has been pointed out by many folks on this blog months ago, the best opportunity to defeat Drucker and put an R into the 157 again was with Buckwalter… TTRC has blown it again. Same disconnected decisions that lost them the seat in the first place by not endorsing Judy.

      Warren’s only hope to prevail is that there are a lot of straight ticket R’s… which may happen.

      1. In 2008 Drucker won by 607 votes out of 29,275 cast. Even with the whole “Hope and Change” slick marketing rhetoric, he barley squeaked by.
        Seems to me that the tides have turned, and Drucker’s incumbency is going to work against him in this next election cycle. Just take a look at the polling from around the country in the congressional, senatorial and governorship races.
        Ironically, the same “throw the bums out” mentality that got him elected in 2008 will likely be the cause of his defeat in 2010.

        1. Your logic works against you. In other words, what you are saying is that Obama didn’t have huge coat tails for Paul. Couldn’t one say the same thing about Warren? The seat was open 2 years ago. This year., Paul is an incumbent, with no negatives to speak of. Warren has a laundry list of negatives that resonate locally. There has always been a bit of a “Throw the bums out” mentality out there. And yet, incumbents win most of the time. Warren simply has not made the case. In fact, Warren is a weaker candidate than Guy. Given all of those factors, I’m not sure where your unbridled exuberance comes from.

        2. What I am saying, John, is that Drucker did in fact ride Obama’s coat tails to squeak out a victory. And now he will ride those same coat tails out of Harrisburg by the people who will be coming out to vote against the status quo in November.
          I wouldn’t call it ‘unbridled exuberance’… more like the reality of the situation at large.

    2. Sean,

      I won’t rely on my memory so I will share the links to the news stories. There were three scheduled forum/debates during the 2008 157th campaign.

      The first one, September 24, 2008, according to the Phoenix was headlined “Ciarrocchi, Drucker debate. Both candidates were in attendance.

      The second meeting, a forum on October 7, 2008, was headlined “Candidates, issues showcased.” Drucker was not in attendance at that one.

      The third meeting of the candidates, a forum on or about October 21, 2008 was headlined “Candidates share middle ground in 157th race.” Both candidates were in attendance.


  8. Wants some facts? Me gives…
    Here is what REALLY happened…
    The Chamber asked Warren if he would participate. It is a fact. He immediately said yes. There was no set date at that time. They couldn’t get Drucker to answer one way or the other AND AT THE SAME TIME they couldn’t find a sponsor, so they cancelled – If Paul had committed, they could have asked the camps to help defry the cost. Drucker not committing killed it ultimately.

    Ken if you care so deeply, you may have an extra $600 in your campaign coffers, want to split it? I will pay Warren’s share and you can pay Paul’s – I will ensure Warren will be there, you have to ensure the same for Paul.

  9. Sean

    “Ken if you care so deeply, you may have an extra $600 in your campaign coffers, want to split it? I will pay Warren’s share and you can pay Paul’s….”

    Sean, take a deep breath. Relax.

    Now, why would I want to fund Paul’s candidacy? You, as a Schuylkill Committeeman should know better than to even suggest such a move to a fellow Committeeman, even in jest.


    1. I couldn’t understand what all this venom from Sean D. was about — but now I get it. Sean D is a Republican committeeman from Schuylkill Twp. It’s embarrasing that he is is taking on a fellow committeeman (and a previous candidate). Just to support Warren Kampf! A Rep committeeman from Phoenixville with independent views and a Rep committeeman from Schuylkill that just follows the party. Maybe Kampf isn’t getting all the R votes.

      1. No doubt about it, Kampf will very likely not get all of the R votes in this election. I bet at least 10% of the registered R’s don’t support him – maybe worse. Losing at least 10% of his party is exactly what happened in his 07 bid for reelection to TTBOS (he and Bob both), and i would expect his leadership and performance since has cost him a bit more R support…

        1. And you, for some reason, believe that Drucker will get 100% of the Dems? Almost every candidate loses 10% of their own party’s registered voters.

          I may be missing your point, or you may not be making a good one. Either way, what you are saying isn’t shocking, it happens in every, single race.

          Heck, even people who run unopposed don’t get 100%.

        1. From the West – I agree with you that each candidate will likely not win all of the votes cast by those in their party – makes sense. I do not claim to know what an average loss of own party is, your 10% number sounds high to me, but even if that is accurate Warren’s historic numbers reflect worse than the average you claim.

          Given that we do not know how the D’s, R’s, and I’s vote individually in an election we have to look at the overall data and generalize – which is why i said Kampf lost AT LEAST 10% of his party in 2007. The data shows that he won 10% less votes than the number of R’s that voted that day. If the lost R’s was limited to 10% in that race that would require that the D candidates won EVERY one of the D votes cast, and also EVERY single I and Other vote too. If the D candidates did not sweep each the D’s, I’s and O’s (which you claim they wouldn’t) then Kampf lost even more than 10% of the R voters…

          Point is that Warren is/was/continues to be a poor candidate choice for anything. Even a mediocre R candidate in Tredyffrin should have been able to put up better numbers in the 2007 general – and as the incumbent it reflects even more poorly.

          There is a good chance he loses 157, and if he does it will largely be because of how poorly he has represented on the TTBOS and the R votes he has lost as result. He was the wrong R candidate to challenge for the 157.

        2. From the West,

          They are called undervotes. The rate runs about 10%. There are many who vote for Gov and nothing else. The state legislature is toward the bottom of the ticket. The one big fact that is beyond dispute is the fact that an R is much more likely to vote for Paul than a D voting for Warren. I guarantee you that the D base is much more solidified than the R base. And the I’s? They are also much more likely to vote D than R.

  10. Wow — I have avoided this forum until now, but I keep reading all these responses — many from John P under varying monikers — about a hypothetical outcome to an election yet to be held.

    The issue was Pattye’s forum — right. Mr. Kampf did not participate and then we were told it was because he lied about doing something else. (The something else was not real?) Now we know that he did say he would do something else, and it was never put together…so with the lie about it off the table, we are onto — let me guess — St. Davids. John P loves to analyze past election data to predict future performance — statistically moot as far as I’m concerned, because we are facing the Grapes of Wrath…
    Then the other candidate that lost the primary to Mr. Kampf weighs in with what a bad guy from Mr. Kampf’s campaign said or didn’t say — perhaps another person with no dog into today’s fight — and we are not fighting about who should pay for the debate….or forum or whatever, when in fact Mr. Drucker would not commit to it.
    Puhleease folks. Lindsay Lohan is in jail for another failed drug test — don’t we have more important thigns to talk about?

    How about getting your neighbors to vote? Let’s let more than 25% of our community pick the next representative. Mr. Kampf might be (in Mr. Petersen’s view” the wrong R to challenge, but he BEAT the other R, so he is clearly the “majority R” running….

    I would hope no one would keep 100% of his/her party…because that means no one is thinking about their choices….
    I started out undecided, but Mr. Drucker’s response to Pattye’s question about the pension problems sort of hardened my views — he doesn’t offer any fresh thinking. I don’t know if Mr. Kampf will do at the state level what Andrea speculates (and Kate decries), but I do know that lots of people with pet projects and programs are mad at him for cutting costs — which means he is willing to incur backlash to pursue a reduction in spending. Even his St. David’s screw up (I think he would agree) was about stopping the further spending of money on sidewalks he doesn’t believe the budget will support….poorly executed but the goal was pretty clear. It saved St. Davids money, but it also pre-empted the need for the township to spend a bunch.

    1. Sarah – I am not John Petersen. Ok?

      With respect to your comments re Kampf being the “majority R running”. True, but it misses the point. Kampf is tainted badly within his own party – even within the TTRC. This is clearly demonstrated in the “past election data” as well as the failure of TTRC to endorse Warren for the primary.

      While Kampf may have won the primary 2672 – 1420, it is pretty likely that MANY of the votes for Ken will go to Drucker in the general. If the Nov party turnout is similar to May – and Kampf cannot secure nearly all of the former Ken supporters (or win a lot of D’s and I’s) he will be defeated… Ken did not have this problem, he would have had an easy time securing the primary supporters of Kampf in the general.

      1. I will continue to respond to the comment, not the messenger then….Sorry.

        If you are telling me that the people that voted for Buckwalter will likely vote for Drucker, then you are telling me that Buckwalter supporters have no ideology…just preferences. The primary differences, after all, were about two men with similar political history. The differences between the two candidates in the general,regardless of statistical analysis, is not personal choice as in the primary, where you were picking between two Rs.This is between a D (another D vote in Harrisburg — the party that seems to endorse debt and spending and calls it “no tax increases” to avoid any negatives) and an R (who seems to have some negatives that clearly come hand in hand with his determination for cutting spending). So why would someone who voted in the R primary now presumably vote for Drucker unless we truly have lost our electoral compass where we vote for people who have no negatives (regardless of whether they have any positives).

        1. I wouldn’t be sorry, Sarah – you never said that Someone with a memory was John P. John DOES love to analyze past electoral data (and he sometimes raises some interesting points.). And everyone knows that JP has posted under several monikers.

          Someone with a memory has arrived here in the last couple of days and seems to have a clear anti-Kampf agenda – could be John P, (despite the denial), could be someone affiliated with the Drucker campaign or TTDems, could be an unaffiliated citizen with an opinion – we don’t know.

          1. ‘Someone with a Memory’ is not John Peterson.

            I understand that it is tempting to speculate on who people are that post on Community Matters but I do not think it is useful or that it serves a purpose to the commentary. I am really hoping that we can all try not to personalize to those that comment. There have been people that have left Community Matters for this very reason (I know because I have received emails on the subject). Can I ask that people try to look at the issues and where the candidates stand on the specific issues. It is clear from the many comments posted on this thread that there are campaign people for both sides registering their opinions and I guess that this is something I have to accept.

            It was my intention that the Q&A forum would discuss issues . . . is this possible?

        2. Mike, Sarah,

          I am just a citizen, registered R.

          I am not John P., not TTDEMs, not affiliated with Drucker – not even a Drucker supporter… Frankly I dislike both candidates – hence my disappointment with the TTRC nominee.

    2. I should mention that those primary numbers in my previous post were for Chester County only, the entire 157th breakdown is proportionally similar.

  11. Sarah – welcome aboard. It’s good to have another clear thinking person here.

    John P is trying to lay low, presumably because he has a matter before the Stormwater Commission, but he can’t help himself.

    I completely agree with your last point. I’m looking for a candidate that will look at a somebody’s pet project and say – “That’s a mediocre idea and clearly not a ‘need to have’ ” – like the sidewalks. Or, more importantly “That’s a pretty good idea, but right now, we can’t afford it. We’d have raise taxes or borrow the money to make it happen, and now’s a bad time to do that.” The record would indicate that Mr Kampf is much more that type of person than Mr. Drucker.

    1. Seriously Mike? You are looking for a candidate who is willing to dismiss a contract because it is or isn’t politically beneficial at the moment??? That is clear thinking for sure….

      The sidewalk fiasco subverted contract law and created bad precedent. Regardless of whether or not you agree or disagree with the requirements imposed by the TTPC on SDGC, it was done, and AGREED by SDGC, that ship had long ago sailed… Those BOS that subverted that agreement should have been tossed. There should have been no second chances, bad politics, bad politicians.

  12. Not sure I understand the Phillies Phan analysis…that Democrats don’t evaluate candidates but Republicans do? Republicans are not party loyalists?

    Regardless, this is about philosophy of fiscal policy….Drucker v. Kampf….. and if you are telling me that Democrats don’t care about Mr. Drucker’s votes for bills the state cannot afford, and Independents are more likely to support someone who has no fresh approach to spending money — than for the guy that JP continually berates for unrelated issues (and I do believe they are unrelated to this campaign)….then so be it. Isn’t it still our job as citizens to be informed about the candidates — from character to policy to potential — and to vote after assessing all that? Whatever one’s conclusions are, that’s the decision to make….and to simply paint Ds and Rs by their “tendencies” kind of denies the purpose of a true Republic and a true Democracy. Majority rules — but only a minority vote, so the majority of the minority rules….who do you want making your decisions?

    Get out and vote!!??

  13. Phillies Phan —

    You say “They are called undervotes” and try to correct me or teach me.

    Actually, they aren’t. Undervotes are exactly what you describe — the difference between # of votes from top of the ballot to lower offices below them on the ballot.

    What I said — and meant — is that almost all candidates traditionally lose about 10% of their own party’s voters at the poll. Not “lose from top of ballot to bottom” but lose as in “they don’t vote for them.”

  14. Check this website to see Warren Kampf use the Medal of Honor Grove in Valley Forge for an interview and photo opportunity. Instead of just going to clean up the grove as an American, he had a republican committeeman, Sean Dempsey call The Phoenix, then as a Republican candidate, had a photo opp….really low and he did this with the approval of the Freedoms Foundation – a conservative non profit organization.

  15. Disgusted – what is your concern about someone running for public office using public opportunities to get press attention? Mr. Kampf isn’t the incumbent — so he cannot call a press converence and share a photo op with Rep. Evans. Please stop trying to distract us from the issues. I read this blog to learn things that will make a policy difference in Harrisburg. What can I learn about either candidate by learning that a newspaper was alerted to the participation of a candidate and took a picture? Wasn’t he still “cleaning up the grove as an American?” Perhaps we should make the headling “Drucker Fails to Support Medal of Honor Grove Clean-up.” That would be about as informative as learning that Kampf did clean up and took pictures.

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