Chesco Congressmen React

Jan 27, 2018
Reading Eagle
GOP grapples with fallout over U.S. Rep. Pat Meehan

A day after U.S. Rep. Pat Meehan announced he will not seek re-election, party leaders were working on a plan-B to help them hold on to the suddenly vulnerable seat in the 7th Congressional District.A Delaware County Republican who represents part of Berks County, Meehan dropped out of the race amidst the outcry over reports that he used taxpayer money to settle a sexual harassment complaint lodged by a former aide. He abandoned his campaign three days after the state Supreme Court ordered state lawmakers to draw new boundaries for Pennsylvania’s congressional districts in time for the 2018 primary.

“The timing is terrible,” said U.S. Rep. Charlie Dent, an Allentown Republican representing part of Berks County.

“The redistricting will complicate matters because of the uncertainty that has been injected into the situation,” Dent said. “If they draw a new map, people will have very little time to make up their mind if they are going to run.”

Val Digiorgio, chairman of the Pennsylvania Republican Party, called it an unprecedented challenge for Republicans, brought on by a hyper-partisan judiciary.
“You have a compressed amount of time to see if there is someone interested and vetted enough to be endorsed – someone with a good resume and ties to the community. With the right candidate, we have a good chance of holding on to the seat.” Digiorgio said.

The state GOP will file an appeal in the U.S. Supreme Court next week asking it to issue a stay in redistricting until after the 2018 election, Digiorgio said.

‘It’s just disappointing’

A former federal prosecutor, Meehan had planned to run for a fifth term. But last week, Meehan lost his seat on the House Ethics Committee after The New York Times reported on the settlement of a sexual harassment claim. The committee has launched an investigation of Meehan and House Speaker Paul Ryan said Meehan should repay any taxpayer money used in the settlement.

Initially, Meehan said he was still going to run despite the controversy and some calls for his resignation.

But in an interview with The Philadelphia Inquirer, Meehan described the former aide as his “soul mate” and acknowledged he had strong feelings for her. He said he never pursued her romantically and denied ever harassing her. Nonetheless, political analysts said the interview and a letter he released describing his fondness for his former aide derailed his chances of weathering the storm.

“Before the interview maybe he could have survived,” said G. Terry Madonna, director of the Center for Politics and Public Affairs at Franklin & Marshall College. The “soul mate” comment made it appear he was smitten with her, Madonna said.

Meehan, 62, a married father of three, announced Thursday night he would not seek re-election.

“That is a personal choice. He knows the details behind the decision better than anyone else,” said state Sen. Bob Mensch, a Montgomery County Republican. “It is not necessarily a sign of guilt.”

Dent said it is appropriate for the Ethics Committee to investigate Meehan and he would let that process take its course. Dent is retiring and not seeking re-election, leaving his long-held Republican seat in the 15th District also without an incumbent. Now, two of the four congressional districts in Berks County won’t have incumbents on the ticket in November.

“I’ve been a friend of (Meehan’s) for 30-years. He has been a friend on many issues,” said Dent. “The situation is what it is. He has been a guy I’ve grown to respect and admire. We have worked together on a number of matters.”

U.S. Rep. Lloyd Smucker, a Lancaster County Republican who represents part of Berks County, said in an email statement that Meehan made the right decision to not seek another term.

“It was disturbing to learn of Congressman Meehan’s behavior, and frankly it’s just disappointing. Everyone needs to be treated with respect at all times, and members of Congress should be setting that example,” Smucker wrote.

Joe Rudderow, chairman of the Berks County Republican Committee, had a similar message in an email statement.

“The Berks County Republican Committee believes that our elected officials need to always preserve the public trust and be good financial stewards of the offices that they hold. Without exception, their actions and deeds need to always be honorable and forthright. Congressman Meehan’s decision not to seek re-election is the right decision for himself, his family and the voters of the 7th Congressional district,” Rudderow write.

U.S. Rep. Ryan Costello, a Chester County Republican who represents part of Berks County, said he does not want to pile on to the situation, but it should be investigated by the Ethics Committee.

“Obviously the situation is a serious issue,” Costello said. “I do think that when you look at his 30 years of public service, he did a lot of good as district attorney of Delaware County, as U.S. attorney in the Eastern District, and he has been an effective legislator.”

The 7th Congressional race is unpredictable not only because there is a short time to find a candidate, Costello said, but the state Supreme Court decision to invalidate the map also causes additional confusion about what the district might ultimately look like.

Across the state, candidates may have invested time and money into running and could find, after a new map is drawn, that they live in a different district and face a new incumbent.

The 7th district is now a prime target to be reshaped, Madonna said, because Republicans have no incumbent to protect.

“Given the state Supreme Court’s order that to redistrict you can’t create all these funny fingers (on the map), there is a good likelihood that the district will have more Democrats,” Madonna said.

In the spring, Joseph Billie of Aston Township in Delaware County filed as a Republican primary challenger to Meehan. He didn’t get too much attention but suddenly his phone is ringing off the hook.

“People are reaching out to me,” said Billie, 45, a machine operator working in paper manufacturing. “I’ve been running for months and I’ve had people come to me quietly. Now people from the party had been meeting with me. I had been getting a little bit of support but nothing like now.”

Billie was at an event for U.S. Rep. Lou Barletta, a Hazelton Republican, Thursday night when he learned that Meehan is out of the race.

“I kind of expected it, but not now,” Billie said. “I thought it would happen later. My whole game plan is changed now. I’m still in the process of waiting to see who will come in. We will deal with that in May.”

Sean Gale, a Plymouth Township attorney, is exploring a run for the Republican nomination. Gale is the brother of Montgomery County Commissioner Joe Gale.

“I’m very happy Pat Meehan has decided not to run,” Gale said.

“If Pat was going to run, I was going to run. I always thought he was a fraud. He runs like a Republican and votes like a Democrat,” Gale, 26, said.

Gale is going to wait to see how redistricting goes and to see if there is a candidate he can get behind.

Digiorgio said the party will sit down with interested candidates and pick the best one to endorse.

There are five Democratic candidates vying for the party’s nomination: attorney Dan Muroff of Springfield Township, Montgomery County; Molly Sheehan, 31, a biochemistry researcher from Delaware County; Elizabeth Moro, a Chester County real estate agent; Drew McGinty of Jenkintown, who works in Information Technology; and state Rep. Daylin Leach of Upper Merion Township.

Leach was recently accused of sexual harassment and said he was stepping back from his campaign but he has not dropped out of the race.  Source


Jan 26, 2018
Ryan Costello’s Website

No Press Release at this time on Congressman Meehan
Go to website here

Jan 26, 2018
Lloyd Smucker Website
Press Release

Washington, D.C. — U.S. Rep. Lloyd Smucker (PA-16) today issued the following statement:

“It was disturbing to learn of Congressman Meehan’s behavior, and frankly it’s just disappointing. Everyone needs to be treated with respect at all times, and members of Congress should be setting that example. I believe he has made the right decision to not seek another term.”   Source


Jan 12, 2018
The Guardian
Trump’s ‘shithole’ remark makes global headlines – but it doesn’t quite translate

Some countries struggled to find an appropriate translation for the president’s offensive comments– and others chose to employ the censor’s pencil

Donald Trump’s description of Haiti, El Salvador and unspecified African countries as “shitholes” in an Oval Office meeting with US senators to discuss immigration on Thursday quickly shot around the world.

But by the time the story arrived on screens and front pages in some countries the offensive language had been somewhat lost in translation, while in the more conservative corners of America – Utah, network TV – it was hidden by euphemism.

Taiwan’s central news agency led the confusion in Asia by translating “shithole countries” as, in phonetics, “niao bu sheng dan de guo jia”, which means, mysteriously, “countries where birds don’t lay eggs”.

In China, the People’s Daily decided it meant “countries that suck”, while Vietnam’s Youth newspaper in Ho Chi Minh City went for “rubbish states”. In Europe, Greece’s daily Ta Nea settled on “thieving countries”.

France’s venerable Le Monde did not quite get there with “pays de merde” – shit countries. But a sister French news site, Courrier International, went straight for the jugular with “trou a merde”, or hole of shit.  Read more

How Chesco Congressmen reacted – through press releases on their websites
Courageous or Cowards? You Decide

Jan 12, 2018
Ryan Costello Website
Press Release

January 12, 2018 Press Release
Washington, D.C. — Rep. Ryan Costello (PA-06) today issued the following statement on reported remarks made by President Trump:

For decades, my wife and her family have done missionary work in Haiti. I’ve always been impressed and inspired by the stories they have shared with me about their experience of service, grounded in faith, and the commonalties we all share as human beings. As Americans, we have a proud history of advancing economic, educational, and personal opportunity for millions of people around the globe, and as a country we should recognize the countless contributions and positive impact immigrants have made on our country.

Our country is a nation of immigrants, and we should appreciate and value what each person brings to this country. We should take pride in the fact that most of us have passed down the stories of our families traveling from somewhere else in pursuit of the American Dream. I’m proud to be the descendant of Irish, Italian, and German immigrants who sought a better life in the United States. I believe it is inappropriate, unfortunate, and offensive that the President of the United States reportedly said what he did. I hope he clarifies what was said, apologizes, and focuses on addressing the immigration-related issues for which many of us are seeking bipartisan solutions.  Source

Jan 12, 2018
Congressman Patrick Meehan 
Press Release

Meehan Statement on Reported Comments by President Trump
Jan 12, 2018 Press Release
Springfield, Pa. — Congressman Patrick Meehan (R-Pa.) issued the following statement following reported comments by President Trump yesterday:

“If accurate as reported, the President’s words were offensive, divisive, unproductive and unbecoming of the office. They come at a time when important negotiations on immigration issues are at a critical point. It’s possible to fight for principles without resorting to hurtful rhetoric.”   Source

Jan 12, 2018
Lloyd Smucker Website
Press Release

January 12, 2018 Press Release
Washington, D.C. – U.S. Rep. Lloyd Smucker (PA-16) issued the following statement in response to President Trump’s reported comments on immigration:

“If true, the president’s comments are inaccurate and unhelpful. I am part of many ongoing and productive discussions to fix our broken immigration system. We cannot let this distraction impede the progress being made in Congress. Furthermore, this sort of rhetoric does not reflect the decency of our community.”   Source

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