Donald Trump’s victory lap came though Hershey Thursday night, causing thousands of brave souls to stand in line in sub-zero temperatures to catch a glimpse of the PEOTUS. The Sweetest Place on Earth seems to be a favorite of Team Trump.
Our own U.S. Senator Pat Toomey may find himself in the hot seat when it comes to the confirmation of Trump’s pick to lead the Department of State, Rex Tillerson. With several of his GOP Senate colleagues already very skeptical of Tillerson, Toomey may find himself in the unenviable (or enviable, depending on your point of view) of casting the vote that decides Tillerson’s fate.
Trump also raised more than a few eyebrows this week when he nominated former Texas Governor Rick Perry to head of the Department of Energy. Judging from the reaction on social media, he may have been better off nominating Tyler Perry.
Back here in frozen Pennsylvania, the clock is ticking loudly on the future of 520 state employees who man unemployment call centers across the state. Monday is the furlough date for these folks, and if some Christmas magic does not materialize, their jobs will have fallen victim to a rather preventable circumstance. Not exactly a ton of Yuletide spirit in this story, we are sad to say.
Staring down the barrel of yet another yawning state budget deficit (around $600 million, according to the governor’s office), one House GOP leader is proposing that the state begin the process of dramatically retooling the way the it delivers services. In an age of driverless vehicles, state government is pretty much still a 1956 Oldsmobile, lumbering around and spewing emissions everywhere.
December 30th will be the last day that Penn DOT will issue registration stickers for vehicles, part of a plan to save $3 million annually, as well as save us the headache of being pulled over because we forgot to order our damned sticker. Not that we have ever done that. Three times.
When 2017 dawns, drivers will also be hit with an extra eight cents per gallon gas tax, the last piece of the transportation funding plan passed in the waning days of the Corbett Administration. We are quite sure this news will set off a new round of howling about paying taxes, while those same folks simultaneously complain about road construction. Much like love and marriage, you can’t have one without the other, people. Roads don’t fix themselves, and you can’t pay for them with pixie dust.
If you are yearning for a new career in 2017, you may want to check in with the Pennsylvania State Police. The PSP is gearing up to hire five hundred more troopers in the coming year, so do some pushups, get a haircut, and apply. Laying on your parents’ couch and playing Xbox is not a career.
Thanks to a change implemented by the Department of Human Services last year, 18,000 children were added to the rolls of the state’s CHIP program. Kudos to those fine people at DHS for taking care of the wee ones.
The courts are expected to soon render a decision on the legality of Philadelphia’s sugary drink tax, the signature achievement of Mayor Jim Kenney’s first year in office. While taxes are generally loathed by everyone who pays them, they are also not illegal in most cases, so expect this one to stand. We are pretty sure the city is already spending that new revenue too, not to complicate matters at all.
In other Brotherly Love news, City Council President Darrell Clarke has launched a massive new green jobs program called the Philadelphia Energy Campaign. Clarke’s team estimates the initiative will create up to 10,000 good-paying jobs in the city over the next decade. Heady stuff by the Council President, for sure.
The state this week also announced that the launch of the long-awaited Community Health Choices program will once again be delayed, this time until 2018. Apparently, the eleven appeals from the companies who were not chosen to run the program are mucking up the works and forcing the delays. This one may get off the ground right about the time Governor Wolf is running for re-election.
Out in Pittsburgh, Mayor Bill Peduto launched his re-election bid with hundreds of his closest friends and supporters this week. While opposition is expected on the Primary side of the ledger, the General Election path looks like an EZ Pass lane at the moment, with no GOP candidate anywhere to be seen.
In our Shameless Client Plug this week, we bring you our friends at the Susquehanna Valley Nursing & Rehabilitation Center, whose senior residents this week made Christmas ornaments to decorate the tree in the Pennsylvania Capital. If you read this story and don’t smile, then your heart is three sizes too small. And you are probably a seasick crocodile.
In another shameless staff plug, we once again bring you our own Brittany Crampsie, who was named to the “40 under 40” team by City and State Magazine this week. Brittany is cornering the market on accolades and making the rest of us question our self-worth, but we are proud of her! Also receiving recognition is former Triad employee and good friend Diamond Dave Kralle!
Over on the Triadvocate this week, we delve into the shoddy state of Pennsylvania’s public water systems, and how now is the time to make critical updates. Check it out before we make you boil your water.
And finally, if you have ever wondered how it would feel to be a Triad intern (many of whom have gone off to fortune, fame, and notoriety) you should check out this link.
In our We Can’t Make This Up section this week, we bring you the magic of YouTube, where you can now download the traditional Yule Dumpster Fire video to replace the Yule Log version. We figured that 2016 wasn’t a great year for a some of our readers, so it may be a more appropriate addition to the living room.
That’s what passes for news around here as we inch ever closer to seeing Jolly Old Saint Nick! No, really, we are going to Macy’s this week to sit on his lap. From all your friends at Triad, have a great weekend!
The Triadvocate is a publication of Triad Strategies, LLC, a bipartisan lobbying, public affairs, strategic communications, grassroots advocacy, issue management consulting firm located in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, with offices in Philadelphia and Pittsburgh