Pennsylvania Perspective for Monday, March 13, 2023

March 13, 2023


How State House Democrats Have Handled Sexual Harassment Allegations Facing Representative Zabel

Last week, State Representative Mike Zabel of Delaware County announced that he would be resigning his position — after first announcing that he would only be stepping down from his committee seats — in light of recent public accusations of sexual harassment dating back to 2019. The Philadelphia Inquirer has a detailed accounting of how House Democrats have responded in the intervening years and what ultimately led to this point.

Governor Shapiro Commits to Uncovering Root Causes of Maternal Mortality During Last Week’s Budget Address

Governor Josh Shapiro’s budget address revealed much about what his administration will be focused on in the coming years. Among these critical issues is Pennsylvania’s maternal mortality crisis, especially the disparity that exists for Black women. While precise causes of the relatively high rates of maternal mortality are unknown, Governor Shapiro committed to allocating “real resources” to study the root causes of the phenomenon. The Pennsylvania Capital-Star has more.



Former Councilmember Parker Becomes Third Mayoral Candidate to Air TV Campaign Ads

For months now, former Councilmember At-Large Allan Domb and local businessman Jeff Brown — notably the races two self-funders — have been the only mayoral candidates to air campaign ads on television. This changed last week, when Former District 9 Councilmember Cherelle Parker began airing the first television ads of her campaign, which highlight her Philadelphia roots as well as her public safety bonafides. The Philadelphia Inquirer has more.

Philadelphia City Council Threatens to Withhold School District Funding Over Alleged Lack of Plan to Deal With Asbestos

During a Monday afternoon press conference, members of City Council stated that they would be withholding funding from the Philadelphia School District unless the school district would present a solution to its “environmental hazards and massive capital needs.” The move comes in the wake of several public school building closures due to the presence of asbestos. The Philadelphia Inquirer has more.

Opinion: Former Mayors Rendell, Street Say Decision on Sixers Arena Should Be Left Up to Next Mayor

In a jointly written opinion piece published in the Philadelphia Inquirer last week, former Governor of Pennsylvania and Mayor of Philadelphia Ed Rendell and his successor former Mayor John Street called for a temporary pause on the discussion surrounding the proposed Center City 76ers arena until the city elects its 100th mayor. The two former mayors harken back to a similar debate that occurred during the transitionary period between their two administrations regarding proposed new stadiums for the Phillies and Eagles. Read more here.

Saint Joseph’s University Elects First Female President

Last Friday, Saint Joseph’s University announced the election of Interim President Cheryl A. McConnell, PhD, as the higher education institution’s 29th president — making her the first woman to be elected to the role in the University’s 172-year history. The Philly Voice has more.



How Candidates for Allegheny County Executive Would Address Pittsburgh’s Poor Air Quality

Over the weekend, candidates for Allegheny County Executive spoke with the Pittsburgh Union Progress about their approach to addressing Pittsburgh’s poor air quality, from implementing additional emissions regulations to creating a Department of Environmental Enforcement to guarantee existing regulations are being met. Read more here.

Candidates for Allegheny County Executive Consider Whether or Not to Conduct Countywide Property Tax Reassessment

One of the decisions facing the next Allegheny County Executive is whether or not to order a countywide property tax reassessment, which has not been completed since 2012. Most of the eight candidates would consider a reassessment, which current term-limited County Executive Rich Fitzgerald has been opposed to a reassessment for the duration of his 12 years in office. WESA has more.



Beltway Briefing: How Strong is Trump’s Grip on the GOP?

With less than two years to go until the 2024 presidential election, reports are swirling about which public figures may throw their hats in the ring for what is already shaping up to be one of the most heated political races in American history. Public Strategies’ Howard Schweitzer, Mark Alderman, Rodney Davis, Towner French, and Kaitlyn Martin debate whether Trump still remains a power center within the Republican electorate or if his influence may be on the decline. They also discuss how the White House is trying to navigate the politically charged issue of crime, including President Biden’s decision not to use his veto power to block a GOP-led effort to repeal changes to the District of Columbia criminal code. Listen to the latest episode here.

David McCormick, Allies Seed Ground for Potential 2024 U.S. Senate Campaign

In recent weeks, Pennsylvania businessman and former Republican candidate for U.S. Senate David McCormick has taken many of the typical prerequisite steps toward formally announcing another Senate run. He has hired key campaign staff, spoken at the National Republican Senatorial Committee winter meeting, and this week, will be putting out a book to outline his vision for America. Perhaps more importantly, Republican Party officials and strategists are reportedly planning on coalescing around McCormick should he choose to run in 2024. The Washington Post has more.


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