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Moving Pennsylvania Forward: looking towards future PA elections.

Marc Steir writes an interesting post about the need to beat PA Governor Tom Corbett in the  next gubernatorial election and proposes we elect Congresswoman Allyson Swartz as Pennsylvania’s next governor. It is an interesting read on its own, and especially considering that the PA Progressive Summit is coming up at the beginning of March. Steir’s premise is not so much to campaign for her but rather to generate a grass roots effort to ask her to run. He lays out reasoned comments about the importance of electing a Democrat governor, and the post is a good read, with or without the Swartz idea.

I’d like to see dialogue, in addition to talk of the governor’s spot, of the importance of taking back the PA House, or at the very least unseating a few important members who hold key committee seats in the PA House, such as Daryl Metcalfe. Metcalfe stands in the way of many important legislative efforts moving forward towards the full House, and this stymies Pennsylvania’s ability to grow ad prosper as a state. Special to me is House Bill 300, a nondiscrimination bill to protect those perceived of being gay, lesbian, bi or trans in employment, housing and public accommodations, but this isn’t the only bill that would make PA a better place to live and work.

Progressives across the state and the PA Democratic Party ought to be extremely busy, doing more than ever before to set up a large enough change in coming elections to turn Pennsylvania in a new direction. Here is what I think needs to happen:

  • Progressives need to see their role within the larger (and more conservative) Democratic Party in the state. WE failed to elect Dan Onorato party because progressives failed to support him  and branded him as not progressive enough. The goal needs to be winning over the Republican party rather than setting some litmus test for progressiveness.
  • At every level of government, Democrats must field candidates. No race should go unopposed by a democrat candidate. This effort in and of itself will not quickly change Pennsylvania’s direction, but it sets the stage to raise and grow capable candidates for all levels of  governing.
  • Democrats must select and target specific races, such as beating Daryl Metcalfe, that help move the House and the Senate towards a more neutral base.
  • Progressives must seek real and meaningful ways to work across the whole of Pennsylvania, rather than in the strongholds of Philadelphia and Pittsburgh. Too often progressives look out at the other areas of the state with some distain or superiority, and this must stop. The goal must be clear: replace the Republicans and not defeat ourselves.