We open this week with the positively fantastic news that our own Governor Tom Wolf has whipped cancer’s butt. Way to go, Governor!
President Donald Trump spent the week passing out Executive Orders like an over-caffeinated barista at a Manhattan Starbucks. Among them, we took particular notice of his plan to move forward on the Keystone XL and Dakota pipeline projects, a decision that lit up the hearts of our friends in the building trades. They are very happy when things are being built, and the government otherwise leaves them alone to ply their respective trades.
Trump also signed an Executive Order on immigration the day before he came to address a Congressional retreat in Philadelphia. For those who have been living under a large rock, The City of Brotherly Love is one of the sanctuary cities that Trump does not find the least bit amusing. The battle lines are drawn on this one, right down Broad Street.
Our own Tony May shared his thoughts this week on Trump’s immigration stance, and how it may have an effect on workforce development. You can check out Tony’s always-insightful musings here.
The President also made a rather – ahem -- audacious claim this week, contending he lost the popular vote to Hillary Clinton because of millions of illegal ballots being cast. While there isn’t a whole lot of (read: no) evidence to support this particular claim, Trump said he will order a full investigation of the country’s voting procedures. Hopefully that investigation will focus on why, in 2017, there are still five-hour-long lines to get into a polling place.
Trump also made good on his promise to withdraw from the Trans Pacific Partnership Trade deal, a positon he used in the election to unite the far left and far right elements of each
party. We are pretty sure Bernie Sanders sent him flowers after this one was announced.
We were also shocked to learn this week that White House spokesman Sean Spicer has had a five-year-long Twitter battle with Dippin’ Dots, which you can find at Hersheypark this summer. No, seriously; he did. The man hates Dippin’ Dots with the fire of a thousand suns.
Realizing that Spicer is now one of the most powerful mouthpieces on the planet, Dippin’ Dots immediately asked Spicer for a truce. No, seriously. THIS ALL HAPPENED! While you were all obsessing about whether or not Spicer was telling the truth about the inaugural, he was engaging in a Twitter war with a confectionary product.
Before we leave Spicer Island, we will point out the White House Spokesman has invited other reporters from far-flung places to use Skype to ask questions during his briefings. This is a very shrewd move by a White House that isn’t exactly enthralled with Washington’s scribes.
Back here in comparatively serene Pennsylvania, Governor Wolf invited U.S. House Speaker Paul Ryan to join him in touring an opioid addiction treatment center, as Ryan’s Congress readies a repeal of Obamacare. Wolf pointed out how many Pennsylvanians are receiving addiction treatment thanks to Medicaid expansion.
The governor also announced on Thursday that the state will shutter SCI-Pittsburgh, which will save the Commonwealth roughly $80 million in the upcoming year. As the prison population continues to decline, excess capacity means excess spending, and we all know what excess spending does to budgets. For those who did not believe that Governor Wolf was serious about cost-savings, we have news: this is just the beginning.
A new year in Harrisburg has brought a new round of proposed legislation to levy a severance tax on natural gas drillers, but this time, at least three of those bills are being introduced by Republicans. This must give some level of solace to Team Wolf, who has sought such a levy to no avail since day one of his administration.
Employers in Philadelphia will no longer be able to ask job applicants for their prior salary history under a new ordinance signed by Mayor Jim Kenney. Given the brewing kerfuffles that Kenney faces with the Trump Administration and a potentially hostile legislature (see: paid sick leave ordinances, sanctuary city penalties, Sterling Act changes, etc.) this may be the easiest thing Kenny gets to do this year.
U.S. Senate Democrats appear poised to step up and help President Trump fulfill at least one of his campaign promises by proposing a $1 trillion infrastructure plan, which will cover the next ten years of needs for highways, bridges, rail lines, airports, and everything under the blessed sun. Now is the time that the rubber hits the road, and the wheels hit the tracks. And the planes, you know, fly somewhere.
Our Shameless Client Plug this week goes out to our good friends at Pocono Raceway. As many folks talk the talk about helping first responders, Pocono actually walks the walk by giving these great Americans discounted tickets to their races. Click here to learn more!
In our We Can’t Make This Up section this week, we take you to the Steel City, where a man bit off the ear of another man during an argument over President Trump. Paging Evander Holyfield and Mike Tyson…
That’s what passes for news around these parts as we watch the 2017 legislative session lurch into 2nd gear. Make sure to tune in next week so that we don’t feel lonely. 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