I've written several posts about the recent legislative pay raise and the unvouchered expense fund used to collect the increase before it actually takes place. To make matters worse, Bill DeWeese, House Minority Leader, replaced Democratic sub-committee chairs who voted against the increase with other Democrats who had voted for it.
In today's Inquirer, Larry Kane (whom I'm not normally a big fan of) writes an editorial on this. One paragraph in particular jumped out at me:
Two young Democratic represntatives from Montgomery County, Josh Shapiro and Michael Gerber, voted against the pay raise and refused to take them early. DeWeese can't take away their committee chairman posts, because they don't have any. But these are two freshmen who won upset victories against Republican opponents. They are already going to have a hard time retaining their seats. If they lost constituent service funds, they will be weakened politically by their own party leader. Figure that!
He goes on to point out that it is hard enough to find people willing to run for office, without having to worry about being stabbed in the back by their own party. I've looked at Shapiro's work for an earlier posting on some legislation he (and others) introduced on creating a statewide articulation agreement among state funded colleges and universities, allowing students to transfer from one school to another more easily. He has also made child safety, especially reducing the number of children who die in household accidents, a priority. He's a young man with a long political future in front of him. He took a stand for his beliefs. We need to encourage more like him to run, not toss him to the curb.
I've also written about Greg Vitali, who has not only lost the chairmanship of an energy sub-committee (he's been involved in energy-related issues for years), but also seen some cuts in constituent services money. Vitali is a good guy.
Come on, people, can't we do better than this? There's another year before election season on the state house heats up. We have to keep talking about this, keep it fresh in the minds of all voters. It's important.
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