Margaret Gibbons of The Intelligencer writes:
State lawmakers Monday returned to Harrisburg to take up a full agenda that includes the adoption of a new state budget.
But Democrat Madeleine Dean, elected last week to represent the 153rd State House District, is still in the starting gate.
Dean, 52, of Abington, will not be sworn into office until May 8. She is filling the unexpired term of Josh Shapiro, the former state representative who stepped down in January prior to being sworn in as county commissioner.
“I can’t wait to get started,” said Dean, who defeated Republican lawyer Nick Mattiacci in a special election April 24. The district includes parts of Abington and Upper Dublin.
The results of that election, in which Dean beat Mattiacci, 5,206 votes (56.49 percent) to 4,009 votes (43.51 percent), must be officially certified before Dean can take her seat.
Dean is not sitting on the sidelines while waiting for the swearing in.
She’s in touch with the district office to make sure constituents are being served during the transition.
From The Intelligencer editorial board:
“Josh Shapiro’s victory in last November’s Montgomery County commissioners race left an opening in the state Legislature, and now two novice candidates are vying to fill the vacant seat in the 153rd District (most of Abington and about half of Upper Dublin).
What makes the April 24 contest between Democrat Madeleine Dean and Republican Nick Mattiacci different is that, regardless of who wins the special election to finish out the final eight months of Shapiro’s term, Dean and Mattiacci — as the unopposed nominees of their respective parties — will face each other again in November when they compete for a full term. The advantages of winning next week are the victor will claim “incumbent” status in the fall and, more importantly, will have gained a little experience in the workings of state government.
Mattiacci believes that, overall, the recently enacted voter ID legislation is a good law (we don’t), and that defined benefit pensions for state employees should not be eliminated (we think they must be eliminated).
What really floored us, however, were his comments about Act 13, the controversial law governing the gas drilling industry. Mattiacci expressed confidence that the safety regulations passed by Republican lawmakers are sufficient, and that the Legislature would never pass a bill that endangered Pennsylvania citizens. Such naivete can hardly be reassuring to voters.
By Madeleine Dean, Posted Sunday, March 25, 2012 in The Intelligencer:
Gov. Tom Corbett has some striking advice for Pennsylvania women: “You just have to close your eyes.”
When asked by a reporter about House Bill 1077 — the measure that would mandate a Pennsylvania woman seeking an abortion for any reason to undergo an ultrasound, including a transvaginal probe — Corbett said of such a state-mandated procedure: “… you just have to close your eyes.”
An answer so dismissive and disconnected that it seems the governor thinks of women as children. (I picture a parent trying to briefly shield her child from the fear and pain of a necessary childhood inoculation.) But we are not children — not chattel — and this government-mandated invasive procedure is not necessary. It is coercive and dehumanizing. It is a scary government intrusion by a party that claims to hate government intrusion.
If you read the bill, it is alarming the kind of state-mandated documentation required by both the doctor and the woman. The record-keeping requirements are frightening.
You just have to close your eyes.
In addition to working on and promoting the state-mandated ultrasound bill, the Pennsylvania General Assembly recently passed House Bill 934, the voter identification bill, mandating that anyone attempting to vote present photo identification before being allowed to exercise his or her right. It is well known that many of the elderly, young and minorities simply do not have such identification.
If you look at the numbers, research shows that in the last decade, there were fewer than 10 documented cases of voter impersonation. Yet, we expect the voter photo identification bill will disenfranchise tens of thousands of citizens, and cost millions of dollars to implement.
I suppose the governor’s advice here would be the same: Hey, Pennsylvanians, you just have to close your eyes as thousands of citizens — mostly the young, the old and minorities — lose their fundamental right to vote.
And prepare yourself: This April 24 Primary Day may be the day the government begins a dry run of the voter suppression measure — just a warm-up to the chilling events of the fall.
You just have to close your eyes.