Saturday, February 18, 2012

Bacon, Eggs & Politics: The League of Women Voter’s Annual Legislative Breakfast

In attendance were State Reps. Gerald Mullery, D-Newport Township; Karen Boback, R-Harveys Lake; Eddie Day Pashinski, D-Wilkes-Barre; Mike Carroll, D-Avoca; Tarah Toohil, R-Butler Township; Phyllis Mundy, D-Kingston; and state Sen. John Yudichak, D-Plymouth Township.

The questions began with a moderator chosen question on the recent ruling from the State Supreme Court, marking the recent redistricting of state legislative districts as unconstitutional.

It was not so much an opportunity to discuss state legislative policy or agendas, but more of an occasion for offering mere opinions on the redistricting process. Opinions ranged from soft disagreement to the ruling, and encouragement for more public support, all the way to condemning the commission and labeling Governor Corbett as a “school yard bully”, as Pashinski stated.

Other topics ranged from Education, to Marcellus Shale, to Voter ID. Out of all the participants, I would have to say Pashinski was by far the most partisan and offensive in his tone. He spoke a great deal about discourse between the aisles, and cited Republicans as part of the problem with the redistricting. Most of the others in attendance were friendlier with their opposition remarks, some of the advocating or offering antidotes to reach across the aisle.

All participants agreed on the need for environmental regulation in the drilling of Marcellus Shale, and a tax intended to fix and support infrastructure affected by the industry.

Towards the end of the breakfast, opinions differed on the need for Voter ID, and if requiring it shown at the polls on election day would decrease voter fraud, or disenfranchise voters. Carroll made the claim that not everyone has a photo ID.

The Democratic delegation was all in agreement against Voter ID, with one going so far as to say that being struck by lightning is more likely than Voter Fraud. Toohil responded by stating that a member of the general assembly has found that someone else voted for them when they showed up on Election Day. As it stands, photo ID is already required in most federal buildings to receive service. The Voter ID bill passed the general assembly and is on its way to the Senate.

The breakfast was a great opportunity to ask questions and meet the local state lawmakers. The League of Women Voter’s is a nonprofit nonpartisan group that gives the public educational opportunities on policy and lawmaker agendas.

Ian Foley
Political Science/Communication Studies
Wilkes 2014

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