The primary election is one week away. I was going to do today's Diary entry on all the various candidates for Congress in District 13, and what they say about the issues plus the other things I've found out about them, but with 2 GOPs and 4 Democrats running, a blog like that would be way too long. Plus, it's taking me more time than I thought to read through their websites. So tomorrow I'll summarize the issues. Today, I'll start with the most important question I put to the candidates: "If elected, what would you do for Norristown?"
This started at the last Norristown Business Association meeting, when Val Arkoosh showed up and gave a little spiel about her candidacy. I had a chance to talk to her, so I asked her the above question. She pointed out that she was the only candidate with a field office in Norristown (turns out, when I looked it up, that it's in what used to be Ronca's Bar, once owned by my cousins, on E. Main near Walnut). She kind of made it sound like her whole campaign operated out of that office, but her actual headquarters is in Glenside. However, her campaign DID have a table at the Arts Hill Fest, the only candidate I saw represented there (though I didn't get all the way up the hill). I should mention that she's been an anesthesiologist and healthcare activist, but has no experience in public office.
Anyway, to my question, she stated that she would seek funding to help bring economic development to Norristown. No details, but at least she recognized the need for development in Norristown.
A couple nights later, I went to a Daylin Leach appearance at Ray's Diner, one of those deals where I got a robo-call inviting me and promising a free dinner. I don't turn down free dinners. He gave a short speech outlining the issues, then took questions, so I identified myself (he knew of the Norristown Diary!--his office had kept up on it when I did my blogs on the mural on Lafayette). I asked the same question I asked Arkoosh. As our state senator, Leach has probably spent more time in Norristown than the other candidates. He sponsored a Kids' Fair for Mercy Suburban at our zoo last year. He was instrumental in the implementation of our mural project. He stated that he believes that Norristown is on its way up, but that economic development can't happen unless we improve the infrastructure. He specifically mentioned wanting to make sure that funding is in place for the slip ramp off the turnpike, so we can get people into Norristown and develop the riverfront and downtown.
I emailed or went through the contact page on their websites to ask the other candidates the question.
Brendan Boyle is State Representative for District 170, which is between the turnpike and Northeast Philadelphia. His campaign contact page didn't work, so I messaged his Facebook page. He answered fairly quickly. He claims he's held "4 community meetings in Norristown since the winter; the only candidate to do so." I was only able to find where he was here twice--once for a morning breakfast appearance at the Norristown Diner, that wasn't generally advertized, at least not in town. The other time was a noontime press conference at the courthouse. No one in N-town considers PR at the courthouse to be a "community meeting." You're there for the media and county politicos, most of whom don't live here in town. He went on to say "I would love to play an active role in securing federal funding for improvements needed in Norristown, especially the Main St and High St corridors," pretty much proving that he hasn't spent enough time in town to know that High St isn't a main corridor, but a small residential street in the East End. Confusing us with some other town, no doubt. The end of his statement: ",,,older cities and Burroughs will have real infrastructure issues over the next two decades." I think he meant "boroughs." Possibly an auto-correct issue, but if I were running for a major office, I'd want to present myself as an educated human being, so I'd check what I typed before hitting send. He does claim that he'd like to put a congressional constituent service office in Norristown.
Marjorie Margolies was a former US Congresswoman, though for only one term (1993-95). She never answered my message.
There are 2 candidates on the GOP ticket, Bev Plosa-Bowser, an ex-Air Force colonel, and Carson Dee Adcock, a businessman. I wasn't able to contact either one. Frankly, they give me the impression that they're only running to give the Dems a name to run against and aren't very serious candidates. Adcock was the candidate that Allyson Schwartz defeated last time.
Oh, and I should mention--I've run into some people who are under the impression that if Allyson Schwartz loses the governor's race, she'd remain our US Rep. Her term is up at the end of this year, and she decided not to run in the race for Congress so she could run for governor. So, no, the only candidates for PA 13 are the ones above.
Tomorrow, the issues.