BROOKVILLE — The Northwest V Weekend Democrat Caravan made a stop in Brookville Friday afternoon at the Kerith Strano Taylor Law Firm on Main Street.
The caravan had 10 candidates traversing nine counties in four days, having begun Thursday and ending today. Stops across the region included State College, Duncansville, Brookville, Clearfield, Clarion, Warren, Ridgway, Erie, Sharon and Centre Hall.
While the caravan allowed residents to meet those seeking office, it also provided opportunities for the candidates to gather the needed signatures to appear on the spring Primary ballot.
Among those in attendance at the Brookville stop were five candidates for lieutenant governor, two for U.S. Representative for the 5th District and one for state Representative for the 66th district. Two of the eight are Brookville residents. Kerith Strano Taylor is looking to unseat incumbent U.S. Rep. Glenn ‘GT’ Thompson, of Howard. This is the third time for Strano Taylor to seek to represent the 5th Congressional District. Wade Jordun, also part of the caravan, would like to do the same.
Also from Brookville is Bob Dull. He is seeking to take on incumbent state Rep. Cris Dush, another Brookville resident.
Those seeking to be on the General Election ballot in November for the lieutenant governor’s race included: Aryanna Berringer, John Fetterman, Kathi Cozzone, Craig Lehman and Madeleine Dean.
Each were given a few moments to introduce themselves and while each offered some differences as to why they are the best candidate for the positions they are seeking, the general consensus was that the Democrats had to win.
Lehman, of Lancaster County, noted that his record of accomplishments tell people what he stands for. He mentioned the current public discourse and offered some rules for lawmakers to follow. They included: 1. don’t make it about yourself but about the issues; 2. prepare, do your homework; and 3. set an example – tone matters.
Cozzone, a Chester County commissioner, noted some of the issues that she believes are important to Pennsylvanians, including: workforce development, and the fact that jails seem to be becoming de facto places to send people with mental illness.
Berringer noted that she was the youngest of 10 children and if it wasn’t for free lunches in school and food stamps, her family would have gone hungry. She served in the U.S. Army in Iraq in 2003 and said she knows what an AR15 with grenade launcher is, as that was her weapon while serving. She said there needs to be a strict assault weapons ban.
“We have got to be better,” she said and called on current lawmakers to “be brave, have courage” and take on the gun violence issue.
Dean is a state lawmaker, representing Montgomery County.
She noted some of the issues that are important to her, joking that they all seem to begin with the letter ‘e’: education, economy, ethics and the epidemic of gun violence. She also said that more needs to be done on the opioid epidemic, while noting there’s been a good start.
Fetterman, who has been mayor of Braddock, Pa., noted that all of the candidates were “good Democrats.” He noted that he saw the most important job of the lieutenant governor’s role is to get Gov. Tom Wolf re-elected. He said he could bring those Democrats who left in 2016 back to ensure Wolf is re-elected.
Dull noted that running for a state office is a daunting task as he is not a politician. A lifelong Pennsylvania resident and a Vietnam War veteran, he said he’d do his best for the 66th state district. Noting that he is retired, he said he could devote all his time and energy to the job. Issues of importance to him included mental health, green spaces and protecting the district’s water and lands.
Strano Taylor and Jordun were unable to collect signatures this weekend because of the Congressional District map issue that has been before the state Supreme Court. With Wolf’s recent rejection, they must wait until the new map is drawn. They will be looking to gather signatures during the second window of Feb. 27.